Enjoy 100 Years Of Cookie History With Cookie Monster

Enjoy 100 Years Of Cookie History With Cookie Monster

Although cookies in some form or another have been around for hundreds of years, what you think of as a cookie is not that old.
Brad Jackson
By

Cookies have been a staple of the America diet forever. Chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, s’mores, and all those delicious Girl Scout varieties are part of a lunchbox, snack, dessert, or even a breakfast (hello, dipping cookies includes milk), each and every day. Let’s be honest, few things are tastier than a cookie.

My wife is a baker, so for holidays, birthdays, or sometimes a lazy Saturday, she’ll make cookies. When Carrie Fisher died, I made some Star Wars Wookiee Cookies in her honor, and they are amazing. Those are a riff on chocolate chip cookies, which are perhaps the most ubiquitous homemade cookies in the average American household.

Cookies are the perfect accompaniment to just about any situation. Selling your home? Bake cookies before that open house, and you’re more likely to get potential buyers to spend time touring. Having a group of five-year-olds to your house for a play date? A plate of cookies is the perfect way to break the ice. Hosting the office Christmas party? Sugar cookies shaped like candy canes, snowflakes, and ornaments are the perfect way for partygoers to stuff their face so you don’t have to talk to them as much.

See, cookies are the answer for just about any question!

Yes, Oreos Are The Perfect Cookie. So There

Although cookies in some form or another have been around for hundreds of years, what you think of as a cookie is not that old. Nearly all of the cookies you see on your grocery store shelves, such as Oreos, Nutter Butters, and Chips Ahoy, are a modern invention. We can thank American exceptionalism for the spread of the world’s most well-known commercially made cookies. Although Oreos started here, they are now available in just about any corner store around the globe, and let’s be honest, they are the world’s best commercially made cookie.

Made by Nabisco for more than 100 years, Oreos are my ideal cookie. Two perfectly tasty chocolate cookies sandwich a dollop of sweet cream filling. You can twist them apart to lick the cream, then eat the chocolate cookie pieces separately, you can lick off the cream then dip the cookies in milk, or you can dip the whole thing in an ice-cold glass of milk and eat it, thus culminating in the perfect experience of cookie bliss.

I fashion myself as a cookie aficionado. I love Oreos, chocolate chip, those incredibly addictive Thin Mints the Girl Scouts sell every year, and even the “campfire cookie,” s’mores. I am nothing, though, in the face of the world’s foremost expert on all things cookie, the one, the only, Cookie Monster.

The fine folks at Bon Appétit partnered with the googly-eyed, blue-furred eating machine to walk a pair of kids through the last 100 years of cookies and the results, as you would expect, are fantastic.

They start with mallomars, which the girl so astutely points out is “the brother of a s’more.” As Cookie Monster says, “that’s profound.” Preach it, blue, furry man!

Next come sugar cookies, which are my favorite Christmas cookie. Each year my children leave some of these delightful treats for Santa. I’ve heard a rumor from the big jolly man, though, that beer might be a good addition to Santa’s offering plate this year. Just saying.

Then the kiddos move on to chocolate chip cookies, which rose to prominence in the 1930s and are perhaps Cookie Monster’s favorite. His demonstration of how he eats them is timeless, entertaining, and actually quite involved. When you watch him eat these cookies, you can’t help but smile, and (as a parent) feel sorry for the poor guy who has to clean up after Cookie.

Next the kids try animal crackers, which Cookie Monster so accurately points out should be called “animal cookies.” When I’m shopping at H-E-B, animal “crackers” are with the cookies, and rightfully so. Then again, when you sell them as “crackers,” parents, preschool teachers, and babysitters don’t feel so bad about shoving them down your kid’s throat to shut him up before nap time.

They go on to taste Milano’s (one of my brother’s favorites), nutter butters (the cookie you get when you donate blood), fortune cookies, biscotti (the coffee cookie), the black and white, macarons, and the “I’ve worked at a mall” favorite: the cookie cake, which in this case was decorated to look like Cookie Monster himself.

All of these fall into the “C is for Cookie” category, and all have their place, but still none is as “cookie” to me as an Oreo. A box of Oreos, a glass of milk, and a quiet moment are all one needs to survive the insanity of the modern world.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to eat some Oreos and catch up on my Sesame Street.

Brad Jackson is a writer and radio personality whose work has appeared at ABC, CBS, Fox News, and multiple radio programs. He was the longtime host and producer of Coffee & Markets, an award-winning podcast and radio show with more than 1,500 episodes. Brad covers all things edible and cultural for The Federalist. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram at @bradwjackson.
Photo Brad Jackson / The Federalist

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