Why Are They Messin' With My Oreos?

Last night, the monster magnet lodged at the end of my shopping cart dragged me, yet again, directly to the cookie aisle. I gazed in awe at the vast selection that lined the shelves, wondering where my favorite cookie jar filler could be found. Panic overrode the incessant drooling when I realized the ugly truth: Oreos have morphed into so many incarnations that I could hardly recognize the original.

Isn't it fair to say a brand can only stray so far away from its roots if it wants to keep its audience loyal?

It was then I started to question what exactly an Oreo is. One envisions a small, round, triple-tiered treat: two crisp, dark-colored chocolate cookies with a layer of cream inside. This center layer should be visible from the side and should match the cookie's circumference.

I remember my disappointment after the first time I experienced a variation. "Double Stuf" messed with what I consider to be the perfect cookie-to-cream ratio. But for many, I can imagine the entertainment payoff from licking lasted twice as long with more "stuf." Then I started to see the limited-edition introductions and, again, I had to wrap my head around putting my tongue to purple cream in Spring, orange during Halloween, and that toxic red stuff they use preceding the Holiday version. (The latter really kinda icked me out.)

Yes the myriad color combinations kind of threw me, but somehow they were okay when combined with a minty or peanut butter-flavored center. And I can see why a chocoholic would head straight for the white or dark chocolate dipped versions (after all, they'd eat just about anything dipped in the stuff--why stop at Oreos?). And even the striped varieties were a novelty.

The reduced fat, bite-sized, and new sugar-free incarnations seemed more Kraft-Nabisco's way of making Oreos accessible to everyone than an effort to mess with the core flavors, so I could live with those. And I thought it was really neato that they even try to appeal to us treehugger-wannabes with a version incorporating organic flour and sugar. Wikipedia imparts there are a bunch more types out there that I've never seen.

Nabisco shouldn't mess with the shape of the cookie. Those weirdly oblong sandwich cookies, tubular Fun Stix, and inflated Cakesters were just a few steps too far.

The final straw was to see a package of Golden Oreos on the shelves, pretending like they belonged there, next to the tried-and-trues. Are Vienna Fingers really giving my favorites that much of a run for the money? Please, O-Creators-of-Oreos, stop the madness. You know that none of those deviants are as popular as the originals.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some dunking to do. My milk is getting lonely.

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Riki Altman