Counterfeit Coffee Break 7
Counterfeit Chic doesn't like Oreos. I never have. Back in nursery school, I was actually disciplined for NOT eating an Oreo cookie at snacktime -- a recollection that still both amuses and outrages my mother.
Before you go into hypoglycemic shock at my Oreo aversion, however, consider this: Oreos may be knockoffs.
In 1912, Nabisco (originally known as the National Biscuit Company), introduced a chocolate, cream-filled sandwich cookie, the Oreo. But four years earlier, in 1908, Sunshine Biscuits had started baking a popular chocolate, cream-filled sandwich cookie: Hydrox. The truth of whether Nabisco copied Sunshine is lost in the crumbled ruins of the past, but it is indisputable that Oreo became the more commercially successful cookie. The venerable Hydrox brand, now owned by Kellogg's, was eventually retired. But in response to popular demand and in honor of Hydrox's centennial, Kellogg's has recently brought back a "limited edition" version of the cookie, billed as "America's first creme filled chocolate cookie."
Visually, I can attest that the modern Hydrox is nearly identical to Oreo, but with a somewhat more intricate imprinted pattern. Still, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Lacking expertise in the finer points of Hydrox versus Oreo gustation, I enlisted my esteemed colleague and spouse, who grew up on a steady diet of both: Oreos at home, Hydroxes at grandma's house next door. According to his memories, confirmed by a taste test in which I most reluctantly participated, Hydrox cookies are crisper, less sweet, and hold up better to immersion in milk. They also have a less artificial-tasting vanilla cream center and more chocolatey flavor (not difficult, as in my opinion Oreo's evident gastronomic relationship to chocolate is simply that both are brown). In other words, it's Hydrox by a dunk.
I may never be a fan of marginally chocolate cookies that have a tendency to stick in my molars. And with New York Fashion Week fast approaching, celery sticks are probably a better idea anyway. If faced with an officious preschool teacher determined to force-feed me processed sugar, however, I'll reach for a Hydrox -- because even my 3-year-old self was naturally suspicious of baked fakes.