The name alone evokes memories for almost anyone who grew up in America with a parent kind enough to buy their kids a bag of Oreo cookies (and not hide them on some inaccessible shelf high up in the pantry). My own primary memory of Oreos comes not from childhood, but from college.
A roommate and I, dirt-poor and dying for entertainment after a day of classes and nominal studying, would parcel out Oreos as though they were morsels of stale bread in a Turkish prison. Four each was the limit, along with a half glass of milk. Then we’d watch “M*A*S*H” reruns at midnight. We were like a little old couple, except we weren’t a couple and we were 21. I still have fond memories of it. I think about that every time I eat Oreos, which, sadly, isn’t often these days.
As the iconic cookie celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, I started thinking about the different relationships people have with Oreos. Many have to do with one’s method for eating them. (For the record: I’m a dunker; no twists or licks.)
Other relationships are more complicated. A number of big brains have attempted to decipher the byzantine mishmash of symbols stamped onto every chocolate wafer, not to mention their role in the larger world of biscuit design. The architecture critic for the New Yorker admires the humble Oreo , as do artists who use the cookies as a canvas. Then there are the many dishes and desserts that incorporate Oreos into their recipes.
How many people, I wondered, have developed special relationships with Oreo’s many spinoff products? Maybe you have a fetish for Double Stufs? (Which I totally understand.) But what about the rest of these 40-plus items? Take a look at the ridiculous, blue-tinted, Oreo-branded universe. (I had no idea!)