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|Hello! I quite enjoyed the NPR interview, and your ability to be neutral rather than snide. However, I do take a slight offense to the idea that nobody in their right mind could enjoy an Oreo. I will admit that it is not the tastiest cookie (biscuit!) in existence; as a matter of fact, I highly prefer digestive biscuits. But growing up in the US, it is a taste that one acquires as a child, and cookies and milk are a solid part of our foklore. The sogginess after dunking in milk (horror of horrors) is actually part of the appeal. We also dunk other cookies as well. In any case, to each his or her own! I am a fan of many, many things British, but Marmite is not one of them. As I always tell my young daughters when they are afraid of eating something new, it is ok not to like it, but try it first! You may be surprised. Food is one of the ways to explore a culture, and it is always good to be open-minded!|
|Nicey replies: I hope I didn't give the impression that nobody would enjoy them as this obviously isn't the case. I know plenty of people in the UK who have tried them and like them a lot. They do seem to be in the minority, however. Nanny Nicey told me just last week about one her friends who enjoys Oreos dipped in peanut butter, which sounds like she has been exploring American culture in a fairly vigourous way.
Here at NCOTAASD we like nothing better than exploring other cultures through the medium of biscuits, and over the years we found some truly interesting, tasty and stimulating things to go with our tea. We've also encountered some pretty awful ones too, but as you say keep an open mind you never know.
|I heard someone from your site interviewed today on National Public Radio, regarding Oreo Cookies. He handled a tricky interview well. It isn't always easy educating Americans about the wider world, even those of a liberal bent with a so called world view. You got the message across gently that they didn't actually invent biscuits and that the rest of the world has varieties vastly superior. That applies to most things, actually.|
I've lived here a long time. now, tried Oreo Cookies when we arrived, didn't like them. My children didn't like them either. I craved Digestive biscuits and a good cup of tea so badly at first I had care packages sent over. Now, of course, this amazing Internet makes buying them online a snap.
You have a delightful, quirky site and I've enjoyed roaming around it for the past couple of hours. No doubt I'll be back and I'm about to send the link to other Ex-pats that I know.
Cheers from Annabel in Denver, Colorado - formerly a Lancashire Lass
|Nicey replies: Yes I recorded that interview last night in the BBC studios here in Cambridge. I brought a flask of tea as theirs is a bit grim.
Any how the Oreo is very obviously a national treasure in the US so it deserves some sensitive handling as a topic when discussing it face to face. I must admit to keeping my head down though in the supermarket when I bought a pack for sampling during the interview. Although the guy in the till didn't share my embarrassment and the engineer at the studio had never even heard of Oreos.
|Well done for standing up for biccies everywhere on the BBC website today. I couldnít agree with you more. A British biccie has to dunk into tea. Everyone knows that. Iíve never heard of anyone dunking biscuits into their milk at work. Who drinks milk at work? Who drinks milk and dunks biscuits into it. Sounds like some sort of horrendous breakfast replacement meal thingy going on and until polite society adopts it as the norm I shall be steering well clear of such behaviour.|
So, the Oreo. Not a fan I have to say. The biscuit is like a cinder that should promise chocolately delight but delivers cinders and a distinct lack of chocolate flavour at that. Apparently no one in their right mind in the US has been known to nibble an Oreo. A twist-the-two-discs apart is required, lick off the cream bit and then dunk. They are very crumbly as I recall so the technique has to be nigh on perfect. Well, the cream bit is just a sugar blast. The resulting two disks of cinders are fit for nothing and a soggy Oreo is to be shunned in all but the lowest levels of society. Iím thinking dunking an old Oreo would be like dunking a Jaffa cake.
When I visited friends in the US and was offered an Oreo as the high point of biccie evoluation I did smirk inwardly and knew there is something we definitely do better. My export of Hobnobs drew gasps of approval. Far from importing Oreos to us I think British companies should export our finest over there. We should be hobnobbing everywhere!
|Nicey replies: Well Oreos are obviously doing something right, given the amount they sell and the armies of Oreo clones around the globe from other manufacturers. I just think the fact UK market hasn't responded to the Oreo thus far is not because we haven't had a advert telling us how we apparently should be eating them. If anything now that we do have such a 'helpful' advert its just likely to make us more determined when passing them over. Also unless they have revised their pricing significantly then I think they are a bit out of touch there too.
Recently on a visit to the Imperial War Museum I read a war time orientation leaflet issued to US servicemen who were being stationed in the UK. It was full of helpful stuff such as how we call gas petrol and bars pubs and so on. Alas it didn't have a page on cookie / biscuit orientation.
Marvelous job on the book, I chortle through my tea breaks at work with your lovely book in my hands (can make dunking a bit tricky, mind you).
It might interest you to know that where I work is a milkshake bar called ShakeAway (please do log on at www.shakeaway.com theres a picture of me "Scarlett of the Brighton shakette clan" and a rather fun game involving a space hopper and seagulls, anyway I digress...)
At ShakeAway we make milkshakes out of just about everything you can imagine, including some old favorites of yours, the jaffa cake, digestives, hob nobs, bourbon creams, jammie wagon wheels, bakewell tart, custard creams and jammie dodgers to name but a few. There is a full list of ingredients on site for you to marvel at, 150 in all, and still the list grows. We have recently added sugar puffs, crunchie nut cornflakes, caramel shortbread and double decker.
It may be considered as biscuit dunking herecy, but I'm going to say it anyway; Since working at ShakeAway I have discovered that those little black circular American Oreo Cookies make for very good dunking, apart from leaving little black specks in your tea. They are similar to bourbons in their taste, but the white cream in the middle adds something a little extra special.
|Nicey replies: I think I would need to see this all first hand in order to be convinced, although with your growing empire it appears that people like liquidised biscuits. You certainly have a lot of useful flavours in there including Custard, and Custard Creams covering all possible bases. Horrah! for all your mad milkshakes.
Do you serve tea?
I am a German biscuit fan and have spent many enjoyable lunch breaks reading your site - thank you for a glimpse of many strange and fascinating biscuits! There are several I will definitely watch out for. My personal favorite at the moment is more a cake than a biscuit, however, in spite of it's biscuit-like size and packaging, so I will not take up your time with the manifold delights of the Mauritius chocolate-covered Baumkuchen-tips with Jamaica Rum.
Instead, allow me to review one of the best-sold biscuits of the world: The Oreo by Nabisco. I know you have reviewed it already, but I feel the need to add my own two cents to the dicsussion.
The Oreo craze in the US has always mystified me - perhaps I am merely spoiled or unreasonably demanding, but I am rather partial to biscuits that taste of something other than sugar and crisco.
The filling... oh, the filling. It is grease and sugar, mixed up in the least appealing mass imaginable. The taste is offensively sweet and offers nothing at all to recommend it. It leaves a thin film of greasy residue with a chemical tang on the tongue. The memory alone causes me to shudder - and not in delight.
As for the biscuit part of the Oreo, it is less sweet and less horrible than the filling, and that is its only good point. It's always fascinated me that Nabisco succeeds in coloring the biscuit parts of the Oreo so that they *look* as though they contain large amounts of cocoa, but fails dismally when it comes to lending them a chocolaty taste. Taste does not offer up any evidence to support the hypothesis that these biscuits have so much as seen chocolate pass in the distance. In fact, all the biscuit part of an Oreo tastes of is flour and sugar, with a hint of artificial additives in the aftertaste. Yum.
The phenomenon of the Oreo's popularity is possibly related to the fact that in the US, real chocolate is unknown. Have you ever tried to consume a Hershey's product? I wouldn't recommend it to the faint-hearted, I can assure you. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes as you burble "why? and how? there must be cocoa in this thing - why can I not TASTE it?" So, unless the poor deprived citizens of this country have had the great good fortune to encounter actual, imported chocolate, these people have no way of knowing what cocoa actually tastes like. This means that Nabisco can get away with the Oreo. It looks like there is a lot of cocoa in it, it tastes every bit as sickly-sweet and non-chocolaty as other US products supposedly involving chocolate... why, it must be extremely chocolaty indeed!
The ritual twisting apart and dunking in ice-cold milk is an additional strangeness, but I can certainly understand the need to wash down these nasty biscuits quickly and with something that numbs the tongue. They don't taste of much, except cloying sweetness, but they do have a subtly offensive chemicality and greasiness.
Thanks for listening - I feel much better for getting that off my chest!
|Nicey replies: I think your mail balances out the one from the lady who said they bring back happy childhood memories of sitting in mountain meadows munching on Oreos whilst watching the clouds go by and generally communing with nature.|