15 Cream-Filled Facts About Oreos

Everyone’s favorite treat with the 71 percent to 29 percent cookie-to-cream-ratio has more layers than you might think. Here are just a few of the things you probably didn’t know about “Oh-Oh! Oreo," in celebration of National Oreo Day.

1. HYDROX WAS THE ORIGINAL.

Hydrox might seem like an Oreo knock-off, but these cookies actually came first, debuting in 1908—four years before the Oreo.

2. DOUBLE-STUF MIGHT BE A MISNOMER.

They’re actually only 1.86 times bigger than regular Oreos. You can thank a high school math class in upstate New York for the detective work—though following the revelation, a spokesperson for the cookie insisted they do in fact contain “double the stuff.”

3. OREO O'S CEREAL WAS A THING.

The cereal was launched in 1998 and discontinued in 2007. It’s not totally extinct, though: It's still being produced in South Korea. If so inclined, lend your voice to the ever-growing groundswell of support to bring Oreo O’s back through this Facebook group.

4. THERE'S A TOOL FOR EASY DIPPING.

Those who love to enjoy Oreos dunked in milk should invest in The Dipr. The hook-like (or reaper-like) utensil is perfectly designed to snugly cup an Oreo cookie, allowing for easy dunking—and ensuring that none of the cookie gets lost in the liquid. There’s even a shallow, color-coordinated dish to combat the classic problem of not being able to fit your hand in a slim glass of milk.

5. PIGS HATE OREOS.

We have the folks over at Ben & Jerry’s to thank for this discovery. When the company started giving its milky water waste to a local pig farmer in 1985, the farmer reported that his hogs loved every flavor except for Mint with Oreo Cookies. Guess every man (and hog) has his limits.

6. THEY'RE DIFFERENT IN CHINA.

While beloved in the United States, Oreos didn’t do so well when they were introduced in China in 1996. They were almost pulled from the market, but then Kraft decided to ask Chinese consumers for their input. As a result of that research, the company tinkered with the cookie's original recipe, introduced new flavors and shapes, created new ads, and eventually created an Oreo that looks nothing like the one we know: It's essentially a tube-shaped treat with four layers of crispy wafer and vanilla or chocolate cream filling.

The wafer became the best-selling biscuit in China in 2006, and Kraft expanded the treat in Asia, Australia, and Canada. In the years since, Oreo sales there have dipped, but the vast array of Chinese Oreo products begs the question: Why not bring those delicious concoctions back to the cookie’s motherland? I have a feeling there’d be buyers.

7. OREO CREAM MAKES FOR GREAT ART.

Artist Tisha Cherry makes incredible tiny pieces of artwork on the canvas of Golden Oreos, using novelty Oreo cookies from over the years for color and a toothpick as her tool. Her Instagram has everything from Oreo-d Frida Kahlo to American Gothic and lots of other food art in between.

8. THE NAME IS A MYSTERY.

Oreo has gone through a few name changes over the years, initially going by “Oreo Biscuits,” then “Oreo Sandwich,” “Oreo Crème Sandwich,” and “Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie” in the 1970s. Oddly, the core name remains a total mystery. The origin of the word “Oreo” might be from the French word for gold (or) because the packaging in the beginning was gold, but no one knows for sure.

9. THEY'RE THE WORLD'S BEST-SELLING COOKIE.

More than 450 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since their debut in 1912.

10. THEY'RE AVAILABLE IN MORE THAN 100 COUNTRIES.

Flavors around the world include Green Tea Ice Cream (Japan), Dulce de Leche (Argentina), Blueberry Ice Cream (Indonesia), Raspberry/Blueberry (China), and Orange/Mango (China).

11. ONE OF THE ORIGINAL FLAVORS WAS LEMON MERINGUE.

The flavor was discontinued in the 1920s. Since then, Oreo has branched out to a world of other flavors including Creamsicle, Banana Split Cream, Neapolitan, Triple Double, Candy Corn, Coconut Fudge, Gingerbread, Candy Cane, White Fudge Covered, Cookies n’ Creme, Root Beer Float, Watermelon, Marshmallow Crispy, Caramel Apple, Limeade, Pumpkin Spice, Cookie Dough, Red Velvet, Cotton Candy, S’mores, and so many more.     

12. THEY HAVE A BUILT-IN PERSONALITY TEST.

The way that you eat an Oreo might say something about your personality. In 2004, Kraft Foods surveyed 2000 Oreo eaters and found that dunkers tend to be energetic, adventurous, and social; twisters are sensitive, emotional, artistic, and trendy; and biters are easy-going, self-confident, and optimistic. They also found that more women dunk, while more men bite. And Republicans tend to dunk, while Democrats are twisters.

13. THEY MEET CERTAIN DIETARY STANDARDS.

While no one would recommend Oreos as a diet food, they are considered accidentally vegan (though there is some cross contact with milk during production, so buyer beware). And while the original recipe called for pig lard, Oreos officially became kosher in 1997.

14. OREO KNOWS HOW TO CELEBRATE ITS BIRTHDAY.

For its 100th birthday, Oreo rolled out a limited-edition Birthday Cake cookie with cake-flavored filling and sprinkles, along with a massive marketing campaign—just like your friend who insists on a birthday month.

15. THERE WAS ONCE A COOKIE NAMED BIG STUF.

In 1984, Big Stuf Oreos landed on the scene and the world was never the same. Big Stufs were about 10 times larger than a regular Oreo. They were discontinued in 1991; the mourning continues to this day. Perhaps more important than the cookie was the advertising campaign—I implore you to watch this video. Do it for Oreos, and for yourself.

6 Protective Mask Bundles You Can Get On Sale

pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus
pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Daily life has changed immeasurably since the onset of COVID-19, and one of the ways people have had to adjust is by wearing protective masks out in public places, including in parks and supermarkets. These are an essential part of fighting the spread of the virus, and there are plenty of options for you depending on what you need, whether your situation calls for disposable masks to run quick errands or the more long-lasting KN95 model if you're going to work. Check out some options you can pick up on sale right now.

1. Cotton Face Masks; $20 for 4

Protective Masks with Patterns.
Triple7Deals

This four-pack of washable cotton face masks comes in tie-dye, kids patterns, and even a series of mustache patterns, so you can do your part to mask germs without also covering your personality.

Buy it: $20 for four (50 percent off)

2. CE- and FDA-Approved KN95 Mask; $50 for 10

A woman putting on a protective mask.
BetaFresh

You’ve likely heard about the N95 face mask and its important role in keeping frontline workers safe. Now, you can get a similar model for yourself. The KN95 has a dual particle layer, which can protect you from 99 percent of particles in the air and those around you from 70 percent of the particles you exhale. Nose clips and ear straps provide security and comfort, giving you some much-needed peace of mind.

Buy it: $50 for 10 (50 percent off)

3. Three-Ply Masks; $13 for 10

Woman wearing a three-ply protective mask.
XtremeTime

These three-ply, non-medical, non-woven face masks provide a moisture-proof layer against your face with strong filtering to keep you and everyone around you safe. The middle layer filters non-oily particles in the air and the outer layer works to block visible objects, like droplets.

Buy it: $13 for 10 (50 percent off)

4. Disposable masks; $44 for 50

A batch of disposable masks.
Odash, Inc.

If the thought of reusing the same mask from one outing to the next makes you feel uneasy, there’s a disposable option that doesn’t compromise quality; in fact, it uses the same three-layered and non-woven protection as other masks to keep you safe from airborne particles. Each mask in this pack of 50 can be worn safely for up to 10 hours. Once you're done, safely dispose of it and start your next outing with a new one.

Buy it: $44 for 50 (41 percent off)

5. Polyester Masks; $22 for 5

Polyester protective masks.
Triple7Deals

These masks are a blend of 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex, and they work to block particles from spreading in the air. And because they're easily compressed, they can travel with you in your bag or pocket, whether you're going to work or out to the store.

Buy it: $22 for five (56 percent off)

6. Mask Protector Cases; $15 for 3

Protective mask case.
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You're going to need to have a stash of masks on hand for the foreseeable future, so it's a good idea to protect the ones you’ve got. This face mask protector case is waterproof and dust-proof to preserve your mask as long as possible.

Buy it: $15 for three (50 percent off)

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

When Al Capone Ran a Soup Kitchen During the Great Depression

Al Capone: Public Enemy #1, soup kitchen proprietor
Al Capone: Public Enemy #1, soup kitchen proprietor
The Paris Bureau of The New York Times, National Archives and Records Administration // Public Domain

Four years after gangster Al Capone took over Chicago’s leading crime syndicate, he had raked in over $40 million—around $550 million today. The money came from illegally selling booze during Prohibition; bottles were distributed to more than 10,000 speakeasies and brothels in a vast bootlegging network across the Midwest.

Capone’s alcohol distribution was unlawful, but to many Americans, the man’s work was heroic. He claimed he was just a businessman giving the people what they wanted—and what the people wanted more than anything in the 1920s was liquor.

But Capone’s role as an Italian-American Robin Hood didn’t stop there. As he orchestrated criminal activities behind the scenes, Capone simultaneously launched a program to provide milk to Chicago school children and donated huge sums to local charities.

It was the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, however, that spurred Capone to his greatest work of philanthropy. Almost overnight, the American economy collapsed into the Great Depression. Banks failed, businesses shuttered, and millions were suddenly unemployed and hungry. Hundreds of soup kitchens popped up around the country. One of them belonged to Al Capone.

No Questions Asked

Men line up at Al Capone's soup kitchen during the Great Depression
Men line up at Al Capone's soup kitchen during the Great Depression.
The Paris Bureau of The New York Times, National Archives and Records Administration // Public Domain

When Al Capone’s soup kitchen opened at 935 South State Street, in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood, in mid-November 1930, hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans were out of work. By the following year, 624,000 people—or 50 percent of the Chicago workforce—were out of a job.

Capone’s charity had no name, just a sign over the door that advertised “Free Soup, Coffee & Doughnuts for the Unemployed.” Inside, women in white aprons served an average of 2200 people a day with a smile and no questions asked. Breakfast was hot coffee and sweet rolls. Both lunch and dinner consisted of soup and bread. Every 24 hours, diners devoured 350 loaves of bread and 100 dozen rolls. They washed down their meals with 30 pounds of coffee sweetened with 50 pounds of sugar. The whole operation cost $300 per day.

The soup kitchen didn’t advertise its connection to Capone, but the mobster-benefactor’s name was connected to it in stories printed in local newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and The Rock Island Argus. Those who were down on their luck, though, apparently had few qualms about eating from the hand of Chicago’s worst crime boss. Often the line to get in to the kitchen was so long that it wound past the door of the city’s police headquarters, where Capone was considered Public Enemy #1, according to Harper’s Magazine. The line was particularly lengthy when Capone’s soup kitchen hosted a Thanksgiving meal of cranberry sauce and beef stew for 5000 hungry Chicagoans. (Why beef and not turkey? After 1000 turkeys were stolen from a nearby department store, Capone feared he’d be blamed for the theft and made a last-minute menu change.)

Capone's Ulterior Motives

Capone’s efforts to feed Chicago during the darkest days of the Great Depression weren’t entirely altruistic. It wasn’t even originally his idea, but that of his friend and political ally Daniel Serritella, who was elected to the Illinois state senate in 1930. Nor did Capone invest much of his own money into the operation. Instead, Deirdre Bair writes in Capone: His Life, Legacy and Legend, he bribed and extorted other businesses to stock the pantry. In just one example, during Seritella's 1932 trial for conspiring with grocers to cheat customers [PDF], the court discovered that a load of ducks that had been donated to Christmas baskets for the poor ended up in Capone’s soup kitchen instead.

Perhaps more than anything, Capone opened his soup kitchen to get the public back on his side after he was implicated in the 1929 Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. In that murder spree, Capone's associates were believed to have assassinated seven men, five of whom hailed from the rival North Side Gang, inside a Chicago parking garage—though no one was ever prosecuted. Harper’s writer Mary Borden distilled Capone's double-dealing when she described him as “an ambidextrous giant who kills with one hand and feeds with the other.”

Capone’s soup kitchen closed abruptly in April 1932. The proprietors claimed that the kitchen was no longer needed because the economy was picking up, even though the number of unemployed across the country had increased by 4 million between 1931 and 1932. The diners who had attended the kitchen daily were forced to move on to another one.

Two months later, Capone was indicted on 22 counts of income tax evasion; the charges that eventually landed him in San Francisco’s Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Though Capone vowed to reopen his soup kitchen during his trial, its doors stayed shut. By the time he was released from prison in 1939, a raging case of syphilis had rendered Capone mentally and physically incapable of managing his own life, let alone that of Chicago’s once-dominant crime syndicate and the soup kitchen that softened his gangster image.

Capone died in 1947, but his larger-than-life legacy lives on. His soup kitchen wasn’t so lucky. The building became a flophouse, and in 1955, Chicago authorities deemed it a fire hazard and shut it down permanently. Today, only a parking lot remains at the site of Chicago’s most notorious food pantry.