One Smart Cookie

I saw a headline last week that Oreo cookies are now 110 years old.  To celebrate, they have come up with another flavor of filling – confetti birthday cake.  I was surprised because I figured there already WAS a birthday cake Oreo.  After all in the last few years we’ve seen caramel apple, jelly donut, mint chocolate chip, pb & j, even Peeps – according to Oreo, there are actually 85 varities INCLUDING birthday cake.  But apparently Confetti Birthday Cake Oreos are different than regular Birthday Cake Oreos. 

Thinking about all these cookie varieties reminded me of a conference call I was on the week before on which one of my co-workers asked my boss what she takes for her headaches.  Boss said Excedrin because a couple of years ago, she compared Excedrin to Migraine Excedrin and they appeared to have exactly the same amount of whatever it is that kills headaches.  To avoid the marketing hoo haa, and the additional expense, she sticks to the original.

And this makes me think about the sixteen (at least) kinds of Crest toothpaste on the shelf at Target.  One variety for every possible thing that could be an issue with your teeth.  I’ve never compared ingredients but if I had to bet my own money, I would imagine there’s not a lot of difference.

When I was a kid, there was just one Oreo, just one Crest, just one Excedrin (actually I don’t remember Excedrin as a kid, although their website says they launched in 1960).  I’m not advocating going back to a “simpler time” or anything like that, but it is a very interesting evolution of how products are now brought to market.  It’s like many companies are trying to bring every niche market under their own umbrellas. 

I guess I’m not even sure how I feel about this but I will say that I think 85 varieties of Oreo is rather silly, especially with 2 kinds of birthday cake cookies.  You all know that I can’t stay away from Oreos with holiday colored filling (orange at Halloween, red in December, yellow in the spring) but those are the regular flavored filling.  The couple of flavored Oreos that I have tried over the years didn’t appeal to me at all; I was expecting that the peanut butter one would taste really good – it didn’t.  I don’t even like Double Stuff that much.  So I’ll stick to my original Oreos and pass up the birthday day variety, although truth be told, I prefer Hydrox (if you could actually get them anymore).

Do you have a niche product that you like? (Alternate question: dunk or no dunk?)

85 thoughts on “One Smart Cookie”

  1. I’m a big fan of black licorice, The fancy, salty kind and “allsorts” are great, but involve a quest, so not sure those apply here.

    But a simple bag of black Twizzles? Is that too much to ask? It seems it is, so when I see it, I stock up.

    Don’t at me about how that stuff will kill me either.

    I have no idea what the point of all those non-licorice flavored whips of edible rubber are. Vile stuff.

    No dunk. My mother thought that was messy. (I do dunk the last bit of a loaf of bread in my soup, but that;s frugality).

    Liked by 5 people

      1. It’s an acquired taste, for sure. Danish kids grow up eating this stuff, and most of us love it. Most Americans I’ve shared it with find it an abomination.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. No, not remotely like marmite. Black licorice coins that don’t taste like anything else that I can think of. As Crow Girl pointed out, a lot of Danish licorice contains ammonia chloride, not exactly a health food, but it tastes good if you like that kind of thing.

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        2. PJ, LOL. I actually meant that marmite is an acquired taste and most Americans don’t like it. Myself included. When I rented a room to an English guy for about a year I did try valiantly a few times to have marmite. He loved it and it was always in the cabinet but I never could get the hang of it.

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      2. I think a lot of things labeled licorice are actually anise flavored, aren’t they? Which are actually flavored with licorice? What’s the distinction and why favor one over the other?

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        1. I think it’s the real licorice root that is somewhat toxic in quantity (some people use it medicinally). Maybe anise is used to avoid that. My guess is it is also easier to come by.

          There used to be anise hard-candies that were wrapped in burgundy cellophane and cube-shaped. Love those.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m going to have to look into that!

          I like all of it Also like anise and it’s neighbor, fennel. My neighborhood bakery occasionally makes chocolate fennel scones and I always get them instead of my usual bread subscription with them.

          Also love Marmite and Vegamite, and in my carnivorous days, liver.

          All things a lot of people don’t care for, so I either get plenty of it or none at all.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Just checked out Nuts.com

          I’m not sure if I should thank you for that.

          They also have the correct allsorts reasonablu priced…

          Liked by 2 people

  2. The texture of dunked cookies is bothersome to me. Ishta feyda!

    We stick to Land o Lakes butter because it doesn’t have too much water in it, and has a good butterfat content.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. After 25 years of Kemps butter, I’m going to have to get used to something else. The new milkman has brought two different kinds of butter in the last two weeks. I can’t even remember what they are. My favorite butter is actually the very expensive butter that I get up at Kowolski‘s every now and then. It was originally made by a guy from France and Kowolski‘s bought the brand. It is extremely decadent and I never use it unless it’s just butter on bread or a roll or something like that- where it’s all about the butter.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. We favor Irish butter—Kerrygold—for the butter we eat plain. It’s not only higher in butterfat, it’s also higher in beta carotene because the cows are grass fed and it tastes better. We keep cheaper butter for cooking.

        An irritating aspect of the multiplicity of options is that often the variable entails other unmentioned differences. I’m thinking, for example, about yogurts (though this applies to many other foodstuffs), where the principal call-out concerns fat content- whether the product is full fat, low fat or fat free. Unspoken in that distinction is the amount of thickeners, sugars and other adulterations that have been substituted.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. I like Hope Creamery butter. Hope is located in southern MN, just off the freeway if you were curious. Hope Creamery butter is so delicious, made locally and more expensive at the Co-op than in traditional grocery stores. The flavor is so much better than store brand butter.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. My whole life it was Kemps butter as Kemps uses AMPI milk products, which is who we used to sell too.
        Kelly bought some Land O’ Lakes because they make half sticks. I’m still not used to that.
        Never gave the flavor much thought!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. No dunk. Too many choices is some sort of syndrome–paralysis by analysis? I heard about it on NPR the other day, about the overwhelming number of decisions Americans have to make these days is seriously bad for our mental health.

    27 varieties of toothpaste, et al, is one of my HUGE pet peeves. But it’s all about maximizing shelf exposure to increase sales. Most of the varieties are virtually identical, but we feel we need to take an extra 10 minutes standing in front of the Crest and Colgate and Joe’s Toothpaste to make sure we have the right paste for our teeth. Whitener? Cavity fighter? Tartar Control? All three in one tube? IF I get the whitener will my teeth rot From within due to cavity. If I go for tartar control, will my teeth turn brown even though I may live to 100 and keep my original teeth?

    Decisions, decisions. More and more I think that’s a huge reason Americans want to be told what to do every step of the way by our “fearless leaders.” Thinking this much makes our heads hurt and we just want to sit and relax and turn our brains off and surf through 500 TV channels to find one decent show to watch. 😉

    My favorite niche products tend towards the originals: regular Cheerios and Wheaties, plain old cheeseburgers (don’t pile them up with bacon, fries, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, coleslaw or whatever), a decent cup of Colombian coffee–black; plain lattes (when I have one—screw pumpkin spice, I never even tried one), plain Mennen Speed Stick deodorant, an old fashioned Gillette Trak II twin-blade razor (not 3 or 4 or 5 blades or vibrating blades or whatever else the company can think of to keep selling blades). You get the idea.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I think having a sort of routine for most things makes it easier to stay on budget and saves time (and foodwise, can keep you pretty fit if your “routine” doesn’t involve bags of chips and such).

      If you choose things you really like, it’s not hard and makes any variations on that an actual “treat”.

      This does not seem to be “the American way”.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I used to live on Excedrin but I had to avoid the acetominiphine for awhile and went off it. Now just aspirin, which I cannot take for 10 days because of procedure next week. But over the years I found four different excedrin products with exactly the same formula under different names.
    I have several times bought the wrong product, not looking to see it was a different flavor or whatever. And often I cannot find the original form, which is always what I prefer.
    Shopping for one is easy on my rouitine as per madisland girl. I spend far less than half the former food budget on me. Not quite sure why. I am buying more fresh produce, which should be more expensive. She used to eat the golden oreos, and quite a bit. I was not going to deny her something that tasted good and sweet. I never eat manufatured cookies.
    I buy lots of fish now, which is a cheaper meal. One butcher seems annoyed that I make him wrap one piece of fresh fish.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I’m sure I’ll think of others, but I am happy that Cadbury puts out, in addition to the pastel colored Chocolate Easter mini-eggs, they also do the red and green Christmas balls. I hope they don’t expand – it’s hard enough keeping these two holiday treats under control.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. What frustrates me about niche products is having “choices” that aren’t really choices for me–I have to read the labels on two dozen flavors of crackers or types of bread or brands of barbecue sauce, only to find that none them are vegan, or low-sodium (or chicken-free, when I’m in Chuck & Don’s buying cat food). Companies are getting better about allergens and veganism is more popular than it’s ever been so that’s wonderful, but it can be very annoying to sift through looking for the one item you can have!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I read a lot of labels as well for the same reason. Although I will say, that there are so many more vegetarian and vegan options than there used to be. The first two years I was a vegetarian, before I got off on my own and taught myself to cook,I don’t even want to tell you how many cheese sandwiches I ate because there weren’t many options.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, the options are staggering compared to when I first went vegetarian, back in 1991! Remember when the only veggie hot dogs you could get were in a can? 😛 And now there’s half a refrigerator case of just nondairy milks!

        Liked by 2 people

  7. And I’m not usually a dunker, though I have been known to dunk sandwiches into soup, and I used to like biscotti. Now I have to check and see if I have any vegan biscotti recipes…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My four-footed little brother knew exactly where all of the different snacks were kept in the kitchen. If he wanted a Milk Bone, he’d sit under that cupboard. If he wanted a cookie, he’d sit under where the cookie jar lived on the counter.

    One time, he decided he was in the mood for a cookie. I diligently went to the cookie jar only to find it empty. When I told him the news, he ‘woofed’ his disapproval and reiterated that he -wanted a cookie.-

    As it happened, mom was just coming in with the groceries. As I was giving her a hand, I heard a reminding, “Woof,” to my right. I said to mom, “We’re out of cookies.” She replied, “I got some, they’re in the bag.”

    I discovered that the cookies she’d purchased were Hydrox, a noticeable change from our usual Oreo. I said, “I don’t think he’s gonna like this,” indicating the dog. Mom said, “He’s a dog…he doesn’t know the difference.”

    Dubious, I opened the package. Rockford was already seated on his snack rug, next to the back door, and lowered his ears in satisfaction that his order was about to be filled. I placed the cookie on his snack rug saying, “There you go,” with a ‘bon appetit’ lilt.

    His ears went back up, as he stared down at the abomination I’d placed before him. He pawed at it enough to turn it over, bent down, and sniffed it. He sat back up and gave me another irritated, “Woof.”

    “There’s your cookie,” I pointed redundantly.

    “Woof!” his voice raising slightly, indicating to his idiot human that it was -the wrong kind of cookie.-

    “That’s the only cookie we’ve got. You wanted a cookie, ~there’s~ your cookie!”

    “WOOF!” he argued back at me.

    I went back to the cookie jar, and in a hidden recess of the Avon Pooh Bear’s foot, I found a single, stale Oreo left. I placed it on the sacred snack rug. Rockford immediately snatched it up, crunched it with delicious gratification, and walked away, leaving a brand new Hydrox behind.

    Watching this incident, my mom’s only reply to my told-you-so glance was, “I think we’ve spoiled the dog a little too much…”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Years ago after my Irish setter Katie Scarlet had passed away I wasn’t paying attention at Petsmart and bought Iams big chunks. The dogs had always had little chunks up to that time. I put it into the bowl and Baron, my Samoyed looked at it, sniffed it looked up at me looked at it again and looked back to me. And his face said as clearly as could be “what is this?” He would not eat it. I called Iams and asked what was the difference between the big chunks and little chunks. There was a very long pause (I’m sure the guy on the phone was trying not to laugh). He came back to me and said the size is the only difference. This didn’t matter to the dog. It was a 40 pound bag and I spent the next month and a half putting syrup, yogurt or cottage cheese on the dog food – then he would eat it. When I bought the next bag of dog food, the little bits, he ate it right up as if there had never been a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kameli, our torbie, will only eat Fancy Feast canned food, and her favorites are the Medleys, which come in sauces. She won’t eat dry any more, but she also won’t eat the expensive organic canned food from Chuck & Don’s. Nope, only Fancy Feast will do, and not every flavor of that–she loves Beef in Roasted Gravy but won’t eat Turkey in Roasted Gravy, though she will eat Turkey Primavera and Turkey and Giblets Feast any number of other turkey flavors. The willfulness of cats passeth all understanding…

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I’ve been debating with myself whether a “torbie” is a typo or a word you’ve coined for a specific kind of cat?

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        2. Dad used to buy Gravy Train for Rockford. But just putting water on it wasn’t enough…oh, no. We had a special, dedicated Tupperware ‘shaker’ container. We had to use -hot- water from the tap. We had to shake it up until it made a succulent, thick gravy. Then, as if that was not enough, we had to hold his English Springer Spaniel ears up while he ate, so they didn’t get full of the gravy we just made for him. Eventually, he wouldn’t eat by himself…someone had to keep him company and talk to him while he ate dinner.

          Liked by 3 people

      2. My son’s tuxedo cat figs out a dirty dock, drabs it over her good, and then complains the dock is there. If he changes the food in any way she does not eat it for 2-3 days

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sort of blind at the moment: My son’s tuxedo cat digs out a dirty sock, drapes it over her food, and then complains the sock is there. If he changes the food in any way she does not eat it for 2-3 days

          Liked by 3 people

        2. I was thinking that you meant sock, but I thought the cat was draping herself in it. Glad I asked. Our Martha is a finicky eater, as well, but not that bad.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. I may be overthinking this, but “niche products” aimed at people in my age group seem to be either for hair loss, pain or incontinence. My favorite niche product depends (see what I did there?) on the mood I’m in.

    Talking about smart cookie. On today’s Wordle puzzle, I had the first THREE letters green on my first guess, and yet it took me FIVE tries to get there. I thought of the correct answer sooner, but thought to myself: “Nah, that can’t be it.” But it was.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I was thinking about “adieu” but I think, since it’s actually a French word, it might not be choice for American English? Of course I don’t know, but it was my thinking so I didn’t try adieu. Five tries.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wordle will let you know if a word is not permissible. Since both vs and Bill have used it, obviously Wordle is accepting it. Personally I don’t think it’s a good strategy, but that’s just me.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I might have gotten it in three. By the third guess, I had narrowed the possibilities to two choices. I chose the one that seemed more likely, thinking, as you did, that the other—the correct one—seemed unlikely.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no… I saw him at the Guthrie once, very very funny. I will never forget the look on his face and the way he held his mouth when he was imitating his mother saying that she doesn’t like cats because “cats lick the butter”.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My mom said the exact same thing! But, I eventually convinced my folks to adopt our first cat, and Mom and the cat loved each other. He never did lick the butter, but he did eat half a packet of hamburger she’d left out to thaw.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Such a multi-talented man. Very funny, a great story teller, a writer, and a very good actor, too.

      I saw him once as a stand-up comic, don’t recall where exactly, but somewhere in the Twin Cities, and didn’t enjoy it all. I recall sitting there the entire time, fearful that he’d keel over. At the time he was morbidly obese and sweating profusely, and I was very uncomfortable watching him. May he rest in peace.

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    1. Miracle Whip is my choice as well (and I know this will cause horrors to some, but we call it mayonnaise at our house). But I’m passing on the fat free.

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  10. I like to dunk biscotti but nothing else. I like my black coffee unadorned with fancy cream or crumbs. No sugar either. Just black. Dunking biscotti is a treat but only if it’s very lightly and quickly dunked.

    My favorite product was a specific brand of shampoo and conditioner. It really did help my hair to grow much longer and healthier. They advertise that for all products and I finally found one that actually did what it said it was going to do. During the first stage of the pandemic, my hair grew all the way down to my sitter. I finally got it cut last fall and now it doesn’t appear to be growing anymore. Maybe it was something else but I like to credit that shampoo and conditioner. So then, of course, they discontinued it. That’s what always seems to happen. When I saw that it was being discontinued by the manufacturer, I bought all of it that I could find and I have a supply that should last for a couple of years.

    Another niche product that I love is Wilbur buds. I’ve only seen them in the Co-ops. Northfield’s Just Food Co-op doesn’t have them but the St. Peter Food Co-op has always had them. Dang, they’re expensive! And addicting!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. What I’ve noticed is that while there are tons more varieties of the most popular things like Oreos, Crest toothpaste, etc., a lot of my favorites have disappeared – I think it was Keebler that made a sandwich cooke called Cup Custard, and who made Mystic Mint? (Luckily, there is a tiny version of that which appears in bulk at the aforementioned Rochester… Fruit here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True. As I mentioned, Hydrox was my favorite growing up. I haven’t had one for decades but I’m thinking they would probably still be my favorite. According to the Internet supposedly they’re out there, being made again by a new company but every place I see them listed they show out of stock.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I worry about my Ralston hot cereal. There’s only a couple of places that I can find it on the Internet anymore. And my Prell shampoo as well. Only a few places in the Twin Cities I can find it.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. i saw malt o meal the other day
          odd family order
          mostly organic with 8 dollar butter and 5 dollar boxes of organic cheerios and such but she had malt o meal

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I am actually in a happy place right now with my Prell. When I visited Nonny in June she sent me out to buy shampoo and she didn’t like the kind I bought. So I went out and got another one and she didn’t like that one either. I brought both of the shampoos home and have finally used the last of them so starting two showers back, I’ve been back to my Prell. I’m so happy.

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  12. i think it was 1972 that the word got turned on its ear
    the spaghetti sauce industry had been going along just fine with 3 or 4 companies ruling the roost
    then prego came out with a new product
    chunky spaghetti sauce was put on the shelf next to the sauces that had been good enough til then and it immediately captured 40% of the market out of nowhere. 100,million the first year
    the concept was so simple and the lesson so plain that it was the shot heard around the advertising world. fix an issue that you didnt realize was an issue and the loyalty of the niche will float a company

    thus al the different versions of cold medicine cough syrup peanut butter
    toothpaste shampoo oreos cheerios cheezits and on and on

    Liked by 2 people

  13. One more death to announce: “Thich Nhat Hanh has passed away peacefully at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam, at 00:00hrs on 22nd January, 2022, at the age of 95.”

    Liked by 1 person

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