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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Oreo!

Let's have a toast. Raise that glass of milk way up to the sky. Today is Oreo Cookie Day! That's right today is the Oreo Cookie's Birthday. Have you had your Oreos today? Ninety-six years ago today, Oreo Cookies made their debut. Gee, I wonder if Nabisco started planning the birthday of the century yet. It really wouldn't be fair to pay tribute to the Oreo Cookie without at least mentioning Nabisco.

Nabisco has its roots firmly planted in the National Biscuit Company. But wait, there's more. The National Biscuit Company has its roots planted in the American Biscuit Company which had its seedlings sown by a Chicago lawyer by the name of Adolphus W. Green and his partner William Moore. American Biscuit was a large food company with headquarters in Chicago. Around 1898, Green and Moore convinced the three largest companies, New York Biscuit, American Biscuit, and United States Baking to merge together and dominate the American market for mass-produced cookies and crackers National Biscuit Company (N.B.C) was formed with Adolphus Green as president. The new president was convinced that National Biscuit needed something big to gain the public’s attention. The new company’s first product was the Uneeda Biscuit, lighter and flakier than anything else being made at the time. "Uneeda Biscuits," championed what was to be the first of many innovations in biscuit packaging, interfolded layers of wax paper and cardboard, to form a sanitary "in-er-seal." On the box, was a little boy in a yellow rain slicker, with hat, boots, and a box of biscuits, to denote the moisture-resistance of the package. Along with it came the company trademark, an oval surmounted by a double-barrel cross. source

In the early 1890's there were hundreds of hometown bakers putting out generic crackers in barrels and plain cookies in square shipping boxes. There were soon far too many bakers for anyone to make a decent living, so they began to combine. For eight years, savage merger fights reduced the market to three very large companies: New York Biscuit, American Biscuit, and United States Baking.  In 1898, a Chicago lawyer named Adolphus Green convinced the big three that they would all do better as a single unit; they worked out a deal and the National Biscuit Company was born with 114 bakeries firing 400 ovens. In its first year, NBC owned 70 percent of all the bakeries in America. He was convinced that to make it all work, he had to kill the idea of 'a cracker is a cracker.' A National Biscuit Company cracker — or cookie — was going to be one of a kind. source

The Oreo

In 1912, the same year National Biscuit (also known as Nabisco) introduced Lorna Doone cookies, the Oreo biscuit was created. Although some say Nabisco was trying compete with the Hydrox "bon bon" which had been introduced a few years earlier, others say Nabisco was targeting the British market, whose biscuits were seen by Nabisco to be too ordinary. Originally, the Oreo was two mound-shaped wafers filled with either lemon meringue or creme filling. It didn't look much different than it does today but the price was a bit less. Oreo cookies were sold in 1 pound tins with glass tops for about 30 cents a pound. A newer design for the cookie was introduced in 1916, and as the cream filling was by far the more popular of the two available flavors, Nabisco discontinued production of the lemon meringue filling during the 1920s. The modern-day Oreo was developed in 1952 by William A Turnier, to include the Nabisco logo. Nabisco changed the name to "Oreo Cream Sandwich" in 1958. It seems a bit surprising that no one is quite sure how the Oreo cookie got its name but, there are a couple of theories. It seems that two more cookie varieties were introduced at the same time, Mother Goose cookies and Veronese biscuits. Company executives had no idea which cookie would lead the pack. The Oreo biscuit was described as "two beautifully embossed, chocolate-flavored wafers with a rich cream filling." The other offerings were described as "rich, high class" and "delicious."

There are many 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 'Oreos', meaning beautiful/nice. Other theories are that the 're' from cream was 'sandwiched' between the two Os from chocolate, or the word 'just seemed like a nice, melodic combination of sounds' and easy to remember. wiki

Fried Oreos

Have you ever sunk your teeth into a deep fried Oreo? First let me say this, it's an indescribable, unforgettable experience. My first encounter with a deep fried Oreo was at the San Gennaro feast in New York City’s Little Italy a few years ago. Now, Fried Chocolate Sandwich Cookies may not stir up memories of my Italian grandmother standing at the stove but it appears that they have become a popular carnival junk food delicacy right up there with funnel cakes, kettle corn, deep fried dill pickles, elephant ears, onion blossoms, and my personal favorite, zeppoli! I don't know what I'll do if they decide to ban trans fats at State Fairs or any other outdoor feast. If your are looking for a truly delightful chocolate wafer surprise, take a peek at this beauty at the Smitten Kitchen. Oh my, my, my...

Resources 
1. History of the Oreo Cookie
2. Oreo Truffles
3. Homemade Oreo Ice Cream
4. Oreo Fudge
5. An Easy Oreo Cookie Recipe (Cookies In Motion)
6. Oreo Delight (4 layers of yum!)
7. Crochet Oreo Cookies (they look so real)
8. Oreo Cookies from Scratch
9. Home Made Oreo Cookies @ Dying for Chocolate

5 comments:

  1. Louise, Oreos are one of the many, many American foods that I love--and reading its history was very interesting. I was not aware of fried Oreos though. I would be very curious to try!

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  2. Hi Manuela,

    Thanks for visiting. I had such a hard time trying to describe the experience of a fried oreo that I thought it best to leave it to the imagination. You and your husband would be pleasantly surprised. Try them the next chance you get...

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  3. Thanks so much for the second link. I'm starting to think my recipes are destined to be linked to your site. :)

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  4. Hi Cory,
    Thanks for dropping in. I guess so. If you cook it and I'm in search of it, your link will be "borrowed." I must confess, your recipes are some of my favorites and from the email I get, I'm guessing my visitors appreciate them as well. Keep um coming...

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came to early,
none returned to late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise