Tuesday, May 17, 2016

O Is For Oreos

Oh, Oreos. Whereas once you stood for Childhood Simplicity itself, now you are nothing more than a blowzy, tawdry tart looking to go home with anyone who will give you a ride. Why, Oreos, why? Instead of being True To Yourself, you try to be Everything To Everyone.

What a Shame.

When I was a kid, we rarely got Oreos. My father disliked them, probably due to their intense sweetness, deep dark color, and more practically, their price. He was the sole breadwinner of a family of six, and our cookies were usually generic and whatever he liked since he did the grocery shopping on Saturdays. I recall mostly Maurice Lenell pinwheel cookies (which I loved), and huge boxes of almond crescents covered in powdered sugar, which I disliked. Occasionally, Fig Bars appeared, I think, and I liked those, too. But St. Patsy baked something every weekend, so we did just fine with her pies and cakes and strudels. My father was not a chocolate baked good fan, so Oreos were not ever On His List. Once in a while, some vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies appeared, called Duplex Cremes or something like that.

But back to Oreos.

My friends across the street, who were often my source for All Saturday Morning TV Ad Foods, always had Oreos. And Spaghettios and PopTarts and Lucky Charms and all that stuff. Lisa would often bounce out of the house with a whole package of Oreos, sit on the curb, and twist them open, licking the creme out, only to discard at least half the chocolate cookie. It was easy for her mom to catch her since the evidence was all over her mouth. Oreos leave your teeth black if you don't have that milk to wash them down. And if Lisa's teeth didn't give her away, her sister Laura was only too happy to since it would get her out of trouble.

These days, however, Oreos can be eaten in relative Safety, thanks to all of the New! Exciting!(and Not Blackening) Flavours. Now that I'm old enough to buy and enjoy my own Oreos any old time I want to, they've decided to chase the marketing demographic segment who are so fickle and distracted that they have to have something New! and Exciting! every time they go into the grocery store (or go online to order groceries or ask Siri what groceries are or something).

Excuse me while I go yell at some kids to get off my lawn.

Anyway, I digress.

My point--and I do have one--is this: Oreos just plain Overdid It. Rather than remain pure and trade on their Legacy as America's Favourite Cookie (retail), they went plain batshit crazy. They cheapened their History. They took their brand and turned it into one of those sad knock-off characters who roam around Times Square offering to take a picture with you for a few bucks. I mean, just look at this partial list of Oreo flavours:

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Oreo
Chocolate Oreo
Strawberry Milkshake Oreo
Golden Oreo
Double Stuf Golden Oreo
Oreo Heads or Tails
Creamsicle Oreo
Oreo DQ Blizzard Creme
Double Delight Oreo
Cool Mint Creme Oreo
Peanut Butter Oreo
Pure Milk Chocolate Covered Mint Oreo
Banana Split Creme Oreo
Brownie Batter Oreo
Sugar Free Oreo
Reduced Fat Oreo
Halloween Oreo
Red Creme Oreo
Birthday Cake Oreo
Candy Cane Oreo
Candy Corn Oreo
Gingerbread Oreo
Lemon Twist Oreo
Neapolitan Oreo
Berry Cream Oreo
Ice Cream Rainbow Sure, Bert! Oreo
Banana Split Oreo
Limeade Oreo
SpongeBob Oreo
Fruit Punch Oreo
Cookie Dough Oreo
Caramel Apple Oreo
Pumpkin Spice Oreo
Red Velvet Oreo
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreo
Cotton Candy Oreo
S'Mores Oreo
Root Beer Float Oreo
Key Lime Pie Oreo
Marshmallow Crispy Oreo
Cookies 'n Creme Oreo
Toasted Coconut Oreo
Cinnamon Bun Oreo

And these are just some of the ones sold in the United States. Internationally, Oreos are cheapening themselves, too, with such iterations as Green Tea Oreo (Japan), Blueberry Ice Cream Oreo (Singapore), Coconut Delight Oreo (Indonesia), and Chocolate and Dulche de Leche Double Delights Oreo (Chile), among others.

And! Let's not forget that Oreos, in their neverending quest to Be All Sweets To All People, also come in:

Double Stuf Oreo
Football Oreo
Big Stuf Oreo
Mini Oreo
Triple Double Oreo
100 Calorie Pack Oreo
Mega Stuf Oreo
Oreo Thins
Fudge Covered Oreo
Oreo Cakesters
Oreo HandiSnax
Oreo WaferStix

to name but a few.

Oh, Oreos. Your sad Fall From Grace reminds me of a little piece in Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence. In this scene, the hero Newland Archer is talking to the Countess, an outsider, after a huge high society party given in her honour. He explains to her what a Big Deal the event was, especially since it was given by the most prestigious and influential family in New York.

"The van der Luydens," said Archer, feeling himself pompous as he spoke, "are the most powerful influence in New York society. Unfortunately--owing to her health--they receive very seldom."
She unclasped her hands from behind her head, and looked at him meditatively.  "Isn't that perhaps the reason?" 
" The reason--?"
"For their great influence; that they make themselves so rare."

There is a great lesson in there for you, Oreos.



  1. Oreos and Edith Wharton in one post! nance, you've outdone yourself. I had no idea there were so many Oreo flavors available now. I've seen the orange-colored ones at Halloween, but that's it. Like you, I enjoy a basic Oreo because, like you, they were never in my house growing up, and now, like you, I can eat 'em when I want to. But those other flavors... yuck. Why mess with perfection?

    1. Ally Bean--Oh, thanks. But, isn't it apt? And now I want to re-read that book. I'm hopeful I can do it, too. I am still having Reading Issues, and it is making me terribly sad. Have you ever seen the movie? Gorgeous.

      Now that I can eat Oreos any old time, I find I don't want them that often. What I really, really want are good, homemade chocolate chip cookies, which are a huge pain to make. And after I eat one or two, I'm over them.

      I think I'll try and start AoI tonight. Wish me luck.

  2. I can kind of get behind double stuff Oreos, but the rest are just crazy. Blech. And yes, kudos for somehow bringing Edith Wharton together with Oreos. Also, what the hell is a Spongebob Oreo? What would those taste like? Sponge? Salt water? Likely it's just his face on the cookie, but it's kind of funny to try to imagine what it would taste like...

    1. J@jj--Oh, I hear you on the Double Stuff, but I am more than willing to forego those in any Effort To Purify Oreos. We can--and perhaps should--be a bit more restrained and even Monk-Like in our dessert/snacking. Do we really NEED Double the Stuff? The reports of America's obesity would state otherwise.

      Hereis a picture of some Spongebob Oreos. Never let it be said that I do not go the Extra Nautical Mile for my readers.

    2. Oh those are disgusting looking. :) As to double stuff, I say yes, we need them, but only if we eat half as many. If you want more cookies, then go regular.

  3. These are my sentiments exactly! Regular Oreos and a glass of milk are the right choice. If you want something fancier, buy something else.

    I fear that M&Ms are heading down the same road. WHY?????

    1. Bridget--Great point about dear, sweet M&Ms, a confection I wrote an entire post about in the first year of this blog. And a foodstuff I survived on almost entirely for about a month when I was quite ill and without appetite.

      M&Ms are perfect in their two iterations: Plain and Peanut. Period. It was bad enough when they tossed out the Tan One and introduced that horrific blue M&M. Ugh. Then they went Off The Deep End and made crispy, pretzel, dark, almond...all kinds of stupid M&Ms. STOP IT, EVERYONE. LEAVE GOOD THINGS GOOD.

      Bridget, you and I are One in this.

    2. Hey, Bridget--Because you made such a salient point here about M&Ms, I am awarding you 200 points on the Commenter Leaderboard. Your analogy was Spot On. Good Work!

  4. Oreos will forever make me think of the time that I was in the kitchen with you and opened up the Snack Cupboard. The unopened package of Oreos came cascading out of the cabinet in what felt like slow motion. I was powerless to stop it. When they hit the deck, you yelled out, "Oh man! That is the worst thing ever. All the ones on the bottom get TOTALLY CRUSHED!"

    That had to have been 15-20 years ago, and I can't look at an Oreo, or anything falling, and not think of that moment. As I'm typing this, I'm having a good, hearty, genuine belly laugh about it. Just the best.

    1. Jared--Hey. PRIORITIES. The ramifications of broken Oreos are tragic and profound and wide-ranging. Can you twist the top off a broken Oreo? Can you properly dunk a broken Oreo? Is there a real use for a third of a cup of Oreo dust? Not to mention the sheer agony of knowing that every single time anyone reaches for the package or a single Unbroken Oreo, that damn Oreo Dust will be set loose upon whatever floor or piece of furniture the package comes into contact with. And if I transferred the Good Oreos into a Ziploc, those Oreos have suddenly become a Less-Desirable Snack for some reason, and get shoved to the back of the Snack Cupboard, where they lie in state, get stale, and become squirrel or bird food. Or, worse, raccoon or skunk bait.

      Sigh. Oh, sure. Funny for YOU.

      Actually, for me too. I still remember that outburst. How goofy we are. ;->

    2. The ramifications of broken Oreos at our house were simple. Fantastic cookie crust for an ice cream pie. I suspect my children often dropped them for no reason other than to have an ice cream pie. It happened so often I started putting the Oreos directly into a cookie jar the minute we got home from the grocery.

    3. NCmountainwoman--That takes a lot of broken Oreos. Oh, you can store them in the freezer until you get enough, like I do overripe bananas for cake and bread or all sorts of breads for bread pudding or stuffing, I suppose.

      Not a fan of ice cream pie, though. You can have my share.

  5. I know the Oreo manufacturers are rich, but all of that dizzying cookie variation must cost a truckload of money to constantly have all of them available. I would hate to be in charge of Inventory at the Oreo Factory. So, yes, this has to be one of the best examples ever of overkill. I can’t decide when there are 5 flavors of anything, much less 500.

    And for the record:
    Like your neighbor, I used to open the cookies and “chew off” the filling, too, when I was a kid. (Not that I ever had access to an entire package of them.) I left the chocolate outside pieces because they tasted like cardboard to me. Our dog had the same opinion. Just read an article about this in which they state that the cream filling contained lard until 1997. (But let’s not get started on all the crap that’s in processed foods.)

    1. Ortizzle--In Oreos' defense, not all of the flavours are available all of the time, and some are no longer available, but were a brief Limited Edition variety only. Still, my point is more than valid, I feel.

      I know of a Certain Dog who is on a steady diet of Golden Oreo Double Stufs. That is all I will say. And yes, I was aware of the Lard Situation from my in-depth Oreo Study; the replacement is likely not much better in the way of calories, etc. But not many people eat eleventy Oreos (I hope) a day. I HOPE.

    2. Haha. Maybe I should try the Golden Oreos to see if the outside wafers taste better! ---Or not. I really do not need another addiction to junk food! It's already difficult enough to resist the urge to eat a whole bag of kettle chips every day. And we won't even go into my penchant for Häagen-Dazs dulce de leche, which my current lack of a gall bladder does not tolerate at all.

    3. Ortizzle--I have been trying to cut way down on sweets, including the amount of sugar in my morning coffee, and it is leading me to crave sweets at night. Which I am fighting. Rick grabs handfuls of cookies and packages of Little Debbies at will, and I sit, ascetic and the model of deprivation. If it EVER warms up here (we had snow on 15 May!!), my ice cream craving will kick in, and things will become dire.

      As far as the salties, I will never cheat on Lay's Originals. I think I would die for them, especially the foldy ones.

  6. Oh I LOVE Oreos! But they no longer love me (TMI?). Of course, I buy those purported single sleeve boxes at the Walgreens & eat every last one in about 20 minutes. It's a problem. Thank Goodness I only do that on about a quarterly basis.

    I tried the Red Velvet ones once. Yuck. In fact, Double Yuck. Just give me some real red velvet cake please!

    1. Bug--I've never heard of anyone whose constitution is upset by Oreos. How sad. I would say Listen to your body and bid farewell to Oreos. They have already moved on from you by whoring themselves out to a younger and more capricious market segment.

      Have you discovered the wonder that is the Cake Mix Cooky Recipe yet? It has become my favourite easy-to-bake sweet. I've perfected it now, and have made so many different kinds to great success. Just ask Rick. Hit my email if you want the details. Red Velvet Cookies can be in your future, and trust me, they would be so much better than Oreos.

  7. Regular Oreos (yum) and occasionally Birthday Cake Oreos (not bad), but my absolute favorite are Opposite Oreos, with white cookie and chocolate filling. Could eat a million of those. But I never see them anymore, which is probably a good thing.

    I never saw any reason to open the cookie and eat the filling first. My dad always ate all cookies in one bite, so so did I. To this day, an Oreo is bite-sized in my mind. But I may be a pig...

    1. LaFF--Some of these Different Oreos are only available for a limited time and then Never Again, or brought back for again, a limited run. If you like the Opposites, may I recommend E.L. Fudge by Keebler, which are crazy good and the same variety. Rick lies on the floor with a whole package on his chest and in an hour, pretty much kills it if I don't make a fuss. They are really good.

      I am not a twist-off cooky eater, either, now that Double Stuf have been invented. But before that, I used to make my own. But that was ages and ages ago, before I became so fussy.

  8. I am shattered. My grocery only carries a few of these. I had No Idea. Many thanks for the list.
    I have plain old Oreo cookies at all times, the ones labelled 'made in a nut-free facility'. Miss G's mama does not trust any other iteration.
    So glad your posts are not becoming rare.

    1. Mary G--Shall I shop for and hoard some of the Unusuals before my trip to NotL in July? We can arrange to meet there and do a Cooky Swap. I will give you the Oreos and you will give me...oh, I don't know, we can think of something Canadian that I need.

      Thank you for your always kind and friendly encouragement regarding my posts here at the Dept. I had hoped that the alphabet construct would be helpful, but I still fret and become persnickety about posting. I wish Writing were more like Cooking for me. When I cook, I just toss things together and create something that turns out wonderfully. When I write, I agonize and work it over as if it were the Opus Of My Life each time.

  9. I am cool with Oreos, they are not my go-to cookie, however. My son loves the mint ones, and they taste a lot like Girl Scout Thin Mints, but drier as there is no chocolate coating.

    Possibly my favorite piece of literature is Ethan Frome. I am insanely jealous of her talent every time I read it.

    1. Gina--I picked up a package of the Cinnamon Bun Oreos by mistake, thinking they were the Golden Oreos, which Rick loves. They were very nice, but not something I'd buy again. Just neat to try. I could see where the mint ones would be good if one liked mint. I'm not aware of another mint cooky on the market, but then again, we are not mint fans.

      Ethan Frome is genius. It is so compact, so tightly written, and so incredibly stylized, yet works completely on the surface as a simple narrative without all the symbolism, too. Wharton is incredible. All of her novels are perfect. So Interior, yet the Exterior is there for just a basic read as well. Sigh. Like you, she makes me jealous.


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