It will come as no surprise to regular readers (I do like to dream) that I am something of a junkie. But lest you think I use the term junkie in reference to my pharmaceutical day job, let me quickly clarify: I am an Oreo junkie.
If you will allow me to be even more specific, I’m not talking about the kind of junkie that always has to have Oreos around the house, and inhales them one bag after another. Rather, my obsession is more about the drive-by’s through the Oreo section of the grocery store cookie department on practically every visit, looking for new varieties – even if I’ve just run in for a jug of milk. (Especially if it’s just for a jug of milk, come to think of it.) To be fair, I also find myself in the freezer section to see what new, wild consortium of chunks and swirls Ben and Jerry have dreamed up since my last visit. And I will often swing the shopping-cart through the yogurt section because I prefer unusual yogurt flavors. The difference, however, between Oreos and…well…everything else, is that I almost always buy the new Oreo.
There is a certain percentage of purist in me that needs to state that no wild Oreo variation beats the original chocolate cookie with the white filling. That is indeed the standard by which all others are measured. And I will go further and say that the chocolate cookies are a notch higher than the golden versions, but let’s not get too crazy and throw the baby out with the bath water. The golden cookie may not have the eternal qualities of the original, but it’s still a doggone good cookie. So I check them, too.
It doesn’t matter if I’m on a diet. I will save them in a secret place until I fall off the wagon. (A fall which can be predicated by hiding them poorly from myself.) It doesn’t matter if I’m short on cash. The milk can wait. These are limited editions, for goodness sake, and if I put it off I might very well miss my shot. The diet can start again tomorrow, and if I have checks I have money, right?
Let’s narrow down this obsession a bit further. Unlike the holiday shapes of Reese’s cups, I don’t spend money on an Oreo shaped like a football. Pretty much the same cookie to crème ratio, so there’s no point. And the colors? Second verse, same as the first. Winter red, Halloween orange, and Spring yellow might be pretty at parties but that’s about all the advantage they have, and it’s not much. Ditto for the cute patterns and designs on the cookie proper – aesthetic value only. What I’m looking for are completely new taste experiences, which usually manifest in the form of creative crèmes.
One of my favorites is the Peppermint Holiday – chocolate cookie with bits of crushed peppermint in the crème. If I weighed a lot less, I could eat my weight in those. I dearly love the white-fudge-covered ones that also come out around Christmas. (And if I don’t see them, I make them at home.) The only downside is that every season there seem to be fewer and fewer cookies in the box. (Does this mean the Girl Scouts are involved? Hmmm.) Aside from those, I’ll try just about any flavor at least once (except coconut – don’t be silly).
As I am wont to do when I go on one of these rants, I do have one beef that must be aired. I was in a local store a few weeks ago and saw a pack of Oreos for sale at the cash register. Upon more careful scrutiny, I discovered it was not just a plain Oreo, it was “cookies and crème” flavored. Take a breath here, because I’m serious. The quintessential combination of cookie and creme, essentially unchanged since its inception over one hundred years ago, and both the inspiration for and crucial ingredient of “cookies and crème” ice cream, now comes flavored as itself. Can you imagine cake-flavored cake? I almost went against my nature and refused to buy it on principle. But the urge was too strong. I just had to know what an Oreo-flavored Oreo was all about. Guess what? (Don’t get ahead of me here…) It tasted like an Oreo. Shocker.
While I’m complaining, I’d like to know why we don’t get all the flavors at our local stores. I thought it would be great to have an orange-flavored cream, since chocolate and orange are a classic flavor combination. I looked it up and sure enough, somewhere in the world there is a Creamsicle-flavored Oreo. Ditto for Dulce de Leche, Dairy Queen Blizzard crème, and Golden candy corn. There are even organic Oreos. Just not within 20 miles of 39759, if the search function on the Oreo website is to be trusted.
If the Oreo people are reading this, I have another suggestion or two. How about a Mocha Oreo? Coffee-flavored crème with chocolate cookies would be a very nice combo. I am also a fan of raspberry and chocolate together. Strawberry has been done – let’s move on. Or maybe a ground-breaking crossover: hazelnut crème in partnership with Nutella. But if this is too much to ask, I would be happy enough to find the flavors that have already been created. If Starkville has a shot at Gigabit Internet, surely we can get a Creamsicle Oreo to celebrate.