Oreo's cereal offends cookie connoisseur

September 17, 1998|By KEVIN COWHERD

LET ME BEGIN by saying that I bow to no man in my reverence for Oreos, which are the finest cookies ever made and which rank up there with the cotton gin, the light bulb and polio vaccine in terms of their impact on this country.

For the record, I've been happily eating Oreos since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And, as a long-time fan, I've naturally perfected the essential technique for maximum enjoyment: dunk Oreo in milk, break in half, scrape the creamy white filling off with teeth, eat chocolate cookie, dunk other cookie (optional), eat.

So you're not talking to some Oreo dilettante here, OK? You're not talking to some hoser who's spent his life settling for Fig Newtons or Nilla Wafers or some other loser cookie like that.

Having said all that, however, it's become apparent to me that the people in the Oreo marketing department have lost their minds.

In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, I would say there might be some sort of mass insanity at work there which may even have spread to accounting, quality control, research and development, etc.

I say this because of an alarming incident that occurred the other day in my local supermarket.

Wheeling a cart down the cereal aisle past the Shredded Wheat and Cheerios and Grape Nuts, I came upon something that made my blood run cold.

There, tucked in between the Cocoa Puffs and Trix and Count Chocula and Cap'n Crunch, was a brand new cereal from Post. And this new cereal was -- you'll want to be sitting down here -- Oreo O's.

Yes, Oreo O's!

At first I was so stunned I couldn't believe my eyes. But there it was, all tricked out in a blue box with white lettering designed to look like a package of Oreo cookies, only with a picture of tiny brown loops swimming in a huge bowl of milk.

"The Delicious Taste of Oreo in a Fun-to-Crunch Cereal!" the box screamed.

Naturally, my first reaction was: What kind of sick human being dreamt this up? What kind of corporate Stalin was responsible for taking the greatest cookie of all time and ... and debasing it by turning it into a breakfast cereal?

Badly shaken, I slumped against the Froot Loops display for several minutes, until I had the strength to find the exit.

But the next day, I went back to the supermarket. And in the interest of honest research, I plunked down $4.35 for a box of -- God, it's painful to even type this -- Oreo O's.

(I don't know if you've checked out the price of breakfast cereal these days, but it's outrageous. At nearly five bucks a pop, there should be gold nuggets in every box as prizes.)

Anyway, back at home, my 7-year-old and I conducted a taste test.

The Oreo O's tasted like ... well, not like tiny bits of Oreo cookie, that's for sure.

Instead they tasted like every other sugary, chocolatey breakfast cereal targeted at kids.

As I waited for my son to begin levitating from all the sugar, I thought: Does anyone, even a kid, really want to start the day with a heaping bowl of Oreos and milk?

What do you have for lunch after that: a Reese's Pieces sandwich? Some Vienna Fingers in a pocket of pita bread?

In any event, I was vibrating like a gong after half a bowl of this stuff; a full bowl would have left me howling at the moon.

Naturally, though, like every breakfast cereal, the Oreo O's box also proclaims: "Provides 10 essential vitamins and minerals."

Please.

Maybe it's me, but when I'm looking to up my vitamin A, thiamine and riboflavin intake, I won't be reaching for the Oreo O's.

When you take your kid to the pediatrician for his next check-up, I don't think you'll hear: "She's not getting enough calcium and phosphorus. We better start her on Oreo O's."

So I don't think the nutritional angle is going to work here. Believe me, nobody's ever going to mistake this stuff for Special K.

Anyway, after our initial taste test, I put the box of Oreo O's away, and none of the kids have asked for it since.

The stuff probably has the half-life of uranium, too; 50 years from now, it'll still be rattling around in the pantry.

The Oreo cookie will always be a beautiful thing.

But you don't want to see it tucked between the eggs and home fries when you hit the breakfast buffet.

Pub Date: 9/17/98

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