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.

The Great Tryptophan Lie: Eating Turkey Does Not Make You Tired

H. Armstrong Roberts/iStock via Getty Images
H. Armstrong Roberts/iStock via Getty Images

While you’re battling your cousins for the best napping spot after Thanksgiving dinner, feel free to use this as a diversion tactic: It’s a myth that eating turkey makes you tired.

It’s true that turkey contains L-Tryptophan, an amino acid involved in sleep. Your body uses it to produce a B vitamin called niacin, which generates the neurotransmitter serotonin, which yields the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate your sleeping patterns. However, plenty of other common foods contain comparable levels of tryptophan, including other poultry, meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, and eggs.

Furthermore, in order for tryptophan to produce serotonin in your brain, it first has to make it across the blood-brain barrier, which many other amino acids are also trying to do. To give tryptophan a leg up in the competition, it needs the help of carbohydrates. Registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer tells WebMD that the best way to boost serotonin is to eat a small, all-carbohydrate snack a little while after you’ve eaten something that contains tryptophan, and the carbs will help ferry the tryptophan from your bloodstream to your brain.

But Thanksgiving isn’t exactly about eating small, well-timed snacks. It’s more about heaps of potatoes, mountains of stuffing, and generous globs of gravy—and that, along with alcohol, is more likely the reason you collapse into a spectacular food coma after your meal. Overeating (especially of foods high in fat) means your body has to work extra hard to digest everything. To get the job done, it redirects blood to the digestive system, leaving little energy for anything else. And since alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, it also slows down your brain and other organs.

In short, you can still hold turkey responsible for your Thanksgiving exhaustion, but you should make sure it knows it can share the blame with the homestyle mac and cheese, spiked apple cider, and second piece of pumpkin pie.

[h/t WebMD]

How Mammoth Poop Gave Us Pumpkin Pie

MargoeEdwards/iStock via Getty Images
MargoeEdwards/iStock via Getty Images

When it’s time to express gratitude for the many privileges bestowed upon your family this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to be grateful for mammoth poop. The excrement of this long-extinct species is a big reason why holiday desserts taste so good.

Why? Because, as Smithsonian Insider reports, tens of thousands of years ago, mammoths, elephants, and mastodons had an affinity for wild gourds, the ancestors of squashes and pumpkin. In a 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Smithsonian researcher and colleagues found that wild gourds—which were much smaller than our modern-day butternuts—carried a bitter-tasting toxin in their flesh that acted as a deterrent to some animals. While small rodents would avoid eating the gourds, the huge mammals would not. Their taste buds wouldn't pick up the bitter flavor and the toxin had no effect on them. Mammoths would eat the gourds and pass the indigestible seeds out in their feces. The seeds would then be plopped into whatever habitat range the mammoth was roaming in, complete with fertilizer.

When the mammoths went extinct as recently as 4000 years ago, the gourds faced the same fate—until humans began to domesticate the plants, allowing for the rise of pumpkins. But had it not been for the dispersal of the seeds via mammoth crap, the gourd might not have survived long enough to arrive at our dinner tables.

So as you dig into your pumpkin pie this year, be sure to think of the heaping piles of dung that made the delicious treat possible.

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