Food Fright, Part 20

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 5:55 pm

Food Fright Part 20

I’ve had this picture sitting around for a few weeks but just stumbled across it whilst paring down my iPhoto library.

When I saw these babies in my local grocery, I knew that I must, not only photograph them, but in fact take them home and try them out for myself, in all of their artificial-strawberryish glory. These are part of Nabisco’s “Limited Edition” line of Oreo formulations….so limited that they are already off the shelves. And with good reason, IMHO. They boast the standard Oreo chocolate-cookie platform, but with a filling of an entirely new order.

The first thing you notice when you crack open a bag of these things is the aroma. Ever own a “Hello Kitty“-style strawberry-scented eraser? Growing up in Hawaii, I was exposed to not only the bona-fide product, but countless hundreds of knockoffs from suppliers all over Asia. When you first peeled back the plastic from a brand-new Hello Kitty (or Bonjour Porpoise, or Whassup Tapir, or similar South Korean impostor) eraser, the initial layer of artificial strawberry scenting agent would instantly volatilize in contact with the air, and the fumes wafting up from the rent in the package would cause both eyes and mouth to water. I think Nabisco has done an admirable job of capturing that old sense memory with these cookies. You get the same “throat burns because your nostrils flared involuntarily upon contact with the fumes” effect. Kind of the solid-food equivalent of the yummy chemical burn you get when taking a big slug of Hawaiian Punch.

Food Fright Part 20, 2

One of the stranger things about these cookies—aside from the kind of icky color scheme—is the consistency of the filling. The guts of a regular Oreo is somewhat stiff and unyielding, doubtless from the heady mixture of cornstarch and several varieties of vegetable oils. By contrast, the filling of a Strawberry Milkshake Creme Oreo is decidedly squishy. Simply pressing down on the two cookie halves will cause pink mung to squelch out from around the circumference of the thing. This can lead to a not-particularly-appetizing sensation when you bite down on one.

But of course, it’s all about the flavor, isn’t it? Yes; yes, it is. As one might guess from my description of their smell, the Strawberry Milkshake Creme Oreo is not one of life’s more noteworthy epicurean experiences. Among other things, I can’t for the life of me imagine from whence the Nabisco Corporation drew the “Milkshake” part of the name. “Strawberry” is a bit easier; anything with a little ethyl methylphenylglycidate in it can make some sort of claim, however anemic, to the title “strawberry”. But what exactly makes a milkshake? These cookies have none of the essential characteristics of a milkshake. They are neither cool nor creamy, bracing nor refreshing. They don’t come in a steel cup, they don’t fit through a straw. Why then, would Nabisco not elect to omit the totally spurious “Milkshake” tag and opt for the simpler and more conventional designation “Strawberry Creme” for this product? “Creme” is barely a word, in English; it is open to massive interpretation, and by default imparts an impression of artificiality upon the reader. “Milkshake” on the other hand means something very particular, very choate to every American consumer. And “gummy off-pink eraser-smelling cookie spooge” ain’t it.

One of the most amazing parts of this little exercise was the reaction of my wife to the cookies. She likes them. The woman who is ridiculously proud of the fact that she has never sullied her palate with a Twinkie finished off the entire bag of Strawberry Milkshake Creme Oreos. Not singlehandedly, by any means, and not in one sitting. But long after I had decided to shun the balance of the bag (about three cookies into the experiment), Margaret continued to be seen with a glass of milk and a plate of three or four of the vile things.

You’re on notice, Dear: you are never, ever to make another deprecating observation regarding my taste in junk food. No amount of deep-fried Twinkies can hold a candle, esthetically, to the snackcrime represented by your precious Strawberry Milkshake Oreos.

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