Archive for July, 2011

Oreo Cookies

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Over 362 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since they were first introduced in 1912, making Oreo the best selling cookie of the 20th century. It is found on store shelves in the cookie aisle of super-markets, but it is also an important ingredient for ice creams, cheesecakes, pies, cakes, puddings, doughnuts and even the McDonald’s McFlurry, Dairy Queen’s Blizzard and the Domino’s Oreo Pizza. Oreos are even battered and deep fried at carnivals and county fairs.

But where did the Oreo get its moniker? A few years back, a TV-spot for the Got Milk? campaign showed a clever false etymology for the Oreo name. Some think Oreo comes from the Greek root for appetizing as in orexin or orexigenic (appetite stimulating) or anorexic (loss of appetite). There are other theories pointing to the origin of the name ‘Oreo’, including derivations from the French word ‘Or’, meaning gold (as early packaging was gold), or the Greek word ‘Oros’, meaning mountain or hill (as the original Oreo was mound shaped) or even the Greek word ‘Oreo’, meaning beautiful or nice. Wow, who would have thought that the Nabisco marketers would have gone back to Greek mythology for the name of something so all-American?

But as American as the Oreo is, it has also been introduced around the world. Oreo cookies were introduced to Chinese consumers in 1996 and sales gradually grew into the fast-growing Chinese biscuit. In 2006 the Oreo cookie became the best-selling biscuit in the People’s Republic of China, after altering its recipe to have a lower sugar content to suit local tastes. In 2004, Norway started selling Oreo cookies. It was welcomed by consumers, and is the top-selling cookie to young people. In 2005, the Norwegians stopped the importation of Oreos and started to make them in country.

In May 2008, Oreo cookies were repackaged and relaunched in the UK in the more popular British tube design with a multi-million pound advertising campaign centered on the catchphrase Twist, Lick and Dunk. Canadian Oreos contain coconut oil, giving them a different taste from the American counterpart. In 2011 Oreos hit Polish, Croatian and Indian markets.

Aside from good old regular cookies, Oreos have been produced in many different varieties since they were first introduced. This includes Mini, Double Stuf, Triple StufBerry Burst, Blizzard Crème, Golden (vanilla wafers), Fudgees, WaferStix, Chocolate Crème, Big Stuff, Double Delight, Cool Mint Creme, Peanut Butter Crème, Banana Split Crème, Fudge Covered, 100 Calorie Pack, Sugar-Free, Reduced Fat, Vend Pack and Dulce de Leche Oreos sold in Chile and Argentina. There are also special limited edition Halloween and Christmas Double Stuf Oreo cookies produced with colored frosting depicting the current holiday.

In 1990, comedian Weird Al” Yankovic wrote a tribute to the Oreo titled “The White Stuff,” a parody of the New Kids on the Block single ‘You Got It (The Right Stuff)’. The song focuses on the virtues of the crème filling inside an Oreo. That same year songwriter Lonnie Mack wrote a song titled “Oreo Cookie Blues” from his album Strike Like Lightning. The song is focused on how much Lonnie loves his Oreo cookies. In 2010, country singer Abi Lester recorded “Flaming Red,” a song on her She Dreams album, in which she sings about eating a whole box of Oreos in bed.

While I don’t think I can out-write “Weird Al” or out-sing Abi, I don’t think either one can hold a candle to my Screaming-Easy Oreo Cookie Chocolate Truffles. The recipe uses Choclatique Chocolate Chips for coating a center filling made from, you guessed it, Oreo cookies.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


 

Now They’re Gunning for Tony the Tiger

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Tony the TigerIn my April 28th blog, Colorless Food—It’s Enough To Make You Blanch, I discussed the meddling members of the government (Republican and Democrat) who can’t resist sticking their big fat noses into areas they know nothing about. It’s insanity how they just can’t resist tinkering with our foods when they should be coming up with a balanced budget. These Dopes de Cuisine now have their sights set on none other than Tony the Tiger, the M&M Boys, the Girl Scouts of America, and the corner lot baseball team.

The government’s Food Gestapo is now staging an all out war on marketing to kids. Tony the Tiger, some NASCAR drivers and cookie-selling Girl Scouts may soon be out of jobs unless food manufacturers begin to reinvent their products to satisfy this administration’s food police. The word is out say several federal regulatory agencies; either retool your recipes to contain lower levels of sugar, sodium and fats, or no more advertising and marketing to children or teenagers.

It’s not just the usual suspected foods that are being targeted, such as Thin Mint cookies sold by scouts or M&Ms and Snickers, which sponsor cars in the Sprint Cup, but pretty much everything on the menu.

Although the intent of the guidelines is to combat childhood obesity—a laudable goal—foods that are low in calories and fat and that some consider healthy foods are also targets, including hot breakfast cereals such as oatmeal, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, yogurt, wheat bread, bagels, diet drinks, fruit juice, tea, bottled water and even milk.

Both Consumers and food industries’ executives are in an uproar over the joint proposal written by the Federal Trade Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The most disturbing aspect of this interagency working group is that after it imposes multibillions of dollars in restrictions and “suggested” changes on our foods, there is no evidence there will be any positive impact on the scourge of childhood obesity. The more you tell children they can’t have something, the more they want it. It’s kind of like this… what happens when I tell you not to think of the color red. What is the first color you think of?

The Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children, Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulation Efforts says it is voluntary, but industry officials say the intent is clear: Do it, or else.

Unemployment isn’t high enough? It’s not just the food industry that will be impacted. Television shows that depend on the advertising revenue will be affected, critics of the proposal say—at a cost of $5.8 trillion in marketing expenditures that support up to 20 million American jobs.

Here again the “rule” of unintended consequences is rearing its ugly head. This is the culinary corollary to “Are we spending too much or taxing too little?” — “Are we eating too much or exercising too little?” Mom was right, “Everything in moderation.”

If the food is not reformulated, no more ads or promotions on TV or radio, in print, on websites, or other digital advertising such as e-mail and text messaging, packaging, and point-of-purchase displays and other in-store marketing tools; product placement in movies, videos, video games, contests, sweepstakes, character licensing and toy branding; sponsorship of events including sport teams and individual athletes; and, philanthropic activity tied to branding opportunities will be affected. That also includes softball teams that are sponsored by food companies and school reading programs sponsored by restaurants.

The sad part is many of the foods targeted in the proposal are the same foods approved by the federal government for the WIC nutrition program for women, infants and children.

Chocolate is an indulgent treat. It has a certain amount of fat and sugar which gives chocolate its distinctive flavor and texture. While at Choclatique we use natural ingredients, if we were to remove the pure cane sugar grown in Hawaii and the cocoa butter processed in California, you might as well suck on a bitter chocolate stone.

These are decisions that parents should be making for their own kids. These should not be government decisions. Now I ask you, does this make any sense at all?

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor