Finding Common Ground…
Karen and Jay celebrate the many virtues and fascinating history of the Oreo Cookie – a fun topic where we can hopefully all find common ground!
At a time when the world seems divided on so many things, how bout we all come together and find common ground. And what better place to start than our widely shared love for the Oreo Cookie. It’s hard to disagree. The Oreo Cookie is one fantastic cookie! It is, in fact, the world’s most popular cookie. More than 40 billion produced, sold, and consumed each year. And while the Oreo may be of questionable nutritional value, there is a certain comfort and for many of us fond memories in the good times we associate with eating an Oreo.
Have you ever come home after a long day or even a long week, reached into your pantry or fridge and enjoyed a little treat that helps take your mind off of everything? Or better yet, that makes you appreciate the little things we work for that bring us joy? With all that’s going on in the world and in our own lives, sometimes it’s truly the smallest things that bring the biggest smiles to our face.
I was recently traveling for business and had an intense couple of days when I came across a pack of Oreos while checking out of the grocery store. It’d been a while since I had one of the world’s most famous cookies but as soon as I saw them, they immediately brightened my mood. And so, I bought them, brought them home, poured myself a glass of milk and proceeded to dunk a few one-by-one as is protocol. The flood of memories that immediately came to mind was incredible. But what was even more incredible was how quickly taking a moment to appreciate something as small as an Oreo cookie and a glass of milk could change my whole state of mind.
The truth is most of us don’t take time every day to enjoy the small things in life when they happen. We tend to only do it once they’ve happened, myself included. The famed writer Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” When we choose to glance over the little things in the moment, we’re also missing out on enjoying experiences that actually take up the majority of our lives. Now, enjoying an Oreo isn’t a ‘big thing’ in comparison to life’s truly big events like a graduation or a marriage, but in difficult moments, appreciating something as simple as our favorite cookie can remind us of how important the little things are in our lives. Or better yet, it can give us renewed appreciation for the things we tend to take for granted.
A friend once shared with me that sadness often comes from being stuck in the past, anxiety comes from too much concern for the future, but peace can be found by living in the present. So, if we’ve had a tough day, week, or even month, the best we can do is to take pause along with an Oreo and a glass of milk and remind ourselves there’s always something to be grateful for. This reminds me of another quote by the author and speaker David Steindl-Rast from one of his recent TED talks.
“We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: for having good weather, to have slept well last night, to be able to get up, to be healthy, to have enough to eat. . . There’s opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that’s what life is.”
The Oreo – A Fascinating History!
The true history of the Oreo cookie dates back many years even before 1912, when it was first introduced. And, interestingly, it was born out of a feud between two brothers, Jacob and Joseph Loose. Both ran a baking company based in Kanas City, Missouri at the end of the 1800’s, and as industry consolidation occurred, the brothers merged their operations into what soon thereafter became one of the largest baking companies in the country, the American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company.
The merged company initially enjoyed success under Jacob’s leadership. In fact, in 1908, the company even introduced the most popular cookie of its time – the Hydrox Cookie (which you may recognize today as the Sunshine Hydrox Cookie.) However, as competition intensified and the demands of the job increased, Jacob became quite ill and went on an extended trip to Europe to get well. In his brother’s absence, Joseph then took control of the company. And, over his brother’s objections, Joseph then led an effort to merge even further and join forces in what became known as the National Biscuit Company, i.e., Nabisco. The merger into Nabisco infuriated Jacob – so much so that when his health returned, Jacob came back to the States and formed yet another competing baking company – Loose-Wiles - which ultimately became the second largest baker in the country. Two rival brothers competing ‘head-to-head’ at the highest echelons of the nation’s baking industry.
In 1912, under Joseph’s leadership, Nabisco ‘made history,’ and introduced the Oreo cookie. Ironically, at the time, the Oreo was considered a cheap ‘knock off’ of the much more popular, higher priced, Hydrox. Even more ironically, upon his return, Jacob had secured rights to the Hydrox cookie at his company, Loose-Wiles. One brother, Joseph, promoting the Oreo, the other brother, Jacob, touting the Hydrox. The American cookie wars were on! Two brothers with competing entries, and throughout most of the early 20th century, with the Hydrox, by far the leading cookie. In looking back on this fascinating rivalry, each brother had won in one respect. Joseph had the larger, more successful company. Jacob had the country’s most popular cookie.
However, as we all know, today it is the Oreo that has won out and become the country’s and world’s most popular cookie. In the 1950’s, Nabisco redesigned the cookie, increased its price, and invested heavily in Oreo’s growth. It was also during this time that the Oreo was given its signature design with the word “Oreo” embossed on the cookie and a wreath around the edge.
So, today, given the Oreo’s success, I suspect most people believe that it is the Oreo that was the ‘original’ cookie sandwich and that Hydrox was the cheap ‘knock off.’ In fact, as we now know, it was exactly the other way around. However, no matter – we can all celebrate today with either or both cookies as wonderful treats – knowing that they are both great cookies – and can give warm enjoyment to us all. A place where we can all find common ground! So, please go grab yourself an Oreo – or a Hydrox – and enjoy. Only 45 calories each!
Cookie Tours – Sweet New Hampshire Tradition!
If you aren’t hungry for a cookie by now, then after reading this article I suspect you may be! As you know, Karen and I do quite a bit of traveling around the country on business and to see our kids and friends. But when we are home, we love driving the backroads of New Hampshire and in so doing, we learn about new things that we love to share. As it relates to cookies, I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you about the really cool cookie tours that take place every year right here in the Granite State.
Up in the White Mountains they hold the annual ‘Inn to Inn Cookie Tour.’ For over 25 years, nearly a dozen or more inns located in the White Mountain Region open their doors to the public in the month of December for a chance to see not only how each inn decorates for the Christmas season but to enjoy a spectacular cookie that is unique and only offered at that inn. During this time of year from Eaton to Jackson, Route 16 smells as good as Main Street USA in Disney World! What is super special about this yearly event besides the ability to see beautiful inns that date back to the 1700’s is the amazing benefit this event holds for children.
Proceeds from the ‘Inn to Inn Cookie Tour’ go to support the New Hampshire non-profit ‘End 68 Hours of Hunger.’ This organization combats the 68 hours of hunger some kids deal with when they go without food from the time they last eat at school on Friday to the time they go back to school on Monday. This is truly an amazing cause and how sweet that Granite State inns are coming together to provide yet another valuable service to its communities!
Even though we are rolling into spring it’s not too early to plan your next trip to the White Mountains for the annual cookie tour! Check out their delicious website at nhcookietour.com.
Positive Profile of the Week - The One and Only - Cookie Monster!
This week we are delighted to highlight someone I think we all know and love – Cookie Monster! I do not know about you, but when I see a cookie; I also want to say, “me want cookie!” like our good friend on Sesame Street with googly eyes and a vicious appetite otherwise known as ‘Cookie Monster.’
One of the original cast of the children’s TV show, this blue-fuzzy muppet is known for his obsession with cookies and his messy devouring of them, which is perfectly represented in his name. However, his given name by his family is Sid. Sid was first introduced to the world in 1966 in a General Foods commercial devouring snack food, of course. He made an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1967 during a sketch about destroying an IBM coffee machine while naming the parts of the complex machine, only to trip the anti-vandalism system that caused the machine to explode.
A beloved member of the cast, Cookie Monster’s signature song, ‘C is for Cookie,’ is one of the most popular songs ever made for the television show. From 2013-2016, he had a segment on the show that was a parody of cultural films and musicals, like ‘The Biscotti Kid,’ ‘The Hungry Games,’ ‘Catching Fur,’ and ‘Lord of the Crumbs.’ Over the years, he has been a guest on several morning and late-night talk shows and even cooking shows where he made his favorite cookie, chocolate chip cookies.
Cookie Monster’s popularity is still growing, with over 600,000 followers on Twitter and over eight million likes on Facebook, well surpassing any other member of the gang on Sesame Street - even the Count!
We can all take words of encouragement from our fine, fuzzy friend. Here are the top five quotes from Cookie Monster, according to Biscuit People:
“Count your cookies, not your problems.”
“Early bird gets the worm. But cookie tastes better than a worm. So, me sleep in.”
“No cry because a cookie is finished. Smile because cookie happened.”
“Home is where the heart is. The heart where the cookie is. Math clear: Home is the cookie.”
“If sad, eat the cookie. If still sad, talk to the doctor. Sounds serious.”
Thanks Cookie Monster for showing us how to have fun and enjoy life especially when eating a cookie!
Quotes of the Week: The Oreo Cookie
"I have an Oreo every night. I dip it in milk and then eat it. That's my ritual." - Shaquille O'Neal
"The Oreo cookie has been around for over 100 years, and yet it's still as beloved as ever." - Joanna Gaines
"There's nothing like a good Oreo dunked in milk." - John Grisham
"Oreos are the perfect combination of crunchy chocolate cookies and creamy filling." - Giada De Laurentiis
"An Oreo cookie is a little taste of heaven." - Rosalynn Carter
"When you eat an Oreo, you're transported back to a simpler time." - Jennifer Garner
"I think of an Oreo as a delicious thing that reminds me of childhood." - Christina Tosi
"The Oreo is the quintessential American cookie." - J.R. Moehringer
"I do love an Oreo. It's a classic." - Ina Garten
"There's something about an Oreo that just makes you feel like a kid again." - Michelle Obama