Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rant #689: The Perfect Cookie

Usually in this space we celebrate birthdays of people who have come onto the radar, at least for a little bit, and changed our lives in one way or another.

Today, we will celebrate the 100th birthday of a cookie that has probably changed our lives, at least just a little bit, or at least enriched our lives to some degree--and I say this in a politically correct time when anything fattening is instantly labeled as being "no good."

Nabisco's Oreo cookie celebrates its 100th birthday today, and while this pales in comparison to the birthday of a famous person, let's say Gandhi, it is still significant.

The cookie was created in 1912 by the National Biscuit Company, with the chocolate cookie on the outside hiding the vanilla cream in the middle. That basic cookie has been with us for the past 100 years, but of course, there have been variations to the basic Oreo.

There have been Oreos with different-flavored middles, like orange and chocolate.

There have been inside-out, topsy-turvy Oreos, with a vanilla cookie and chocolate center.

And in other countries, there are as many variations of Oreos as can possibly be, including Oreos that have a fishy flavor.

But the basic Oreo stands as, in my mind, the perfect cookie.

Who hasn't sat down with a glass of milk and chomped down on a couple of Oreos?

I am sure most of us have.

Just as an aside, the Hydrox cookie predated the Oreo cookie by a good four years, but Hydrox never reached the heights of the Oreo cookie. Some claim that the Oreo was a knockoff of the Hydrox cookie, but Hydrox always had the reputation of being a knockoff of an Oreo.

But Hydrox simply wasn't as good a cookie as the Oreo was. It didn't have the sweetness of an Oreo, and in comparison, was pretty bland.

Back to the Oreo ...

Oreos were never meant to be diet foods, although there are lower-calorie Oreos on the market.

There are also larger Oreos, for those who just can't get enough of the cookie.

As I said, it is the perfect cookie, whether large or small. It offers just enough sweetness to get you by during the day, and it is the cookie that you can also relax to.

Is there anything more relaxing than taking a cookie break with an Oreo?

I went through a period where I would try to separate the cookie's halves. I would twist the thing and try not to break it.

I don't bother doing that anymore--why should I? The cookie tastes better not in pieces, but as one.

Oreos have taken us through 100 years of ups and downs, and it could be counted on to satisfy us when we were down, and when we were up.

It has even taken on social connotations. I am not going to get into what it means when you call someone an Oreo, but it isn't a very nice appellation to give to someone.

But as a cookie, the Oreo is grand.

Is there anything better than an Oreo?

Probably not.

Happy 100th birthday to the Oreo. It is incredible how a simple idea led to so much joy.

(And a "Shout Out" to one of the greatest comedians ever, Lou Costello, who would have been 106 today! "You're a bad boy," even on your birthday, Lou.)

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