The Duncan Banner

October 7, 2012

Here’s a salute to the penultimate American treat

Life as I know it

Jeff Kaley
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Somebody decided it was time for fall to arrive, so I pulled out a jacket for the first time and guess what: In a pocket, I discovered a bunch of the sticky notes that serve as my memory:

Can’t let 2012 slip away without acknowledging the 100th birthday of one of the sweetest American inventions in history. I’m on the record as being a homemade chocolate chip cookie freak, but a century ago a chocolate sandwich cookie was created that’s been a staple in my diet since childhood.

In 1912 in Manhattan, New York, the National Biscuit Co. made the first Oreo, and cookie monsters all over the planet are now snorking down about 25 billion of the habit-forming lil’ beggars a year.

There are two really cool things about Oreos:

1. They are addictive, but subtly so. Really. Think about how many times you’ve sat down with a package of Oreos and a glass of milk to watch a TV show or read the paper or play a video game. It’s almost a mystical moment when you look down and suddenly realize: Oh, I just ate a whole row!

2. Oreo eating is ritualistic and individualistic; there are a dozen methods of devouring the combo of chocolate wafer and white goop inside.

You can twist off the top and lick the icing away, then eat the wafers. You can twist off the top and lick the filling away and then toss the wafers; you can twist off the top and eat it, then scrape off the filling and eat the bottom wafer.

Of course, dunking an Oreo into whatever liquid is at hand is extremely popular. And then there’s the Kaley method. To wit: Put the whole cookie in your mouth, take a slurp of milk and let most of the Oreo dissolve slowly, before washing down the rest with another hit of milk.

Nothing beats homemade chocolate chip cookies, but Oreos are the penultimate treat. So, happy birthday, dear Oreos; happy birthday to you.

- Disappointed with the leadership in both major parties, I didn’t stay glued to the first Obama-Romney debate. However, I saw and heard enough to make this critique: Mitt Romney was passionate and aggressive but offered little substantive solutions; Barack Obama at times seemed bored and overly cautious.

- “I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course.” Cat lover Mark Twain said it.

- Couple weeks ago, this space was dedicated to an update on former Banner sports editor Tommie Ellis, who’s in the late stage of terminal lung cancer. It was suggested friends and admirers take a moment to send a written communication or email to give Tommie a smile or refresh a memory.

Tommie’s oldest son Richard dropped an email this week saying his dad has received over 100 such messages.

- If you’re considering following the writing muse, think twice about becoming a poet. According to a study in the Journal of Death Studies, poets die younger than others who take pen (or keyboard) in hand. Comparing 1,975 writers from various centuries, the study found the average age of death for poets is 62 years, while playwrites average 63 years, novelists 66 years and nonfiction writers 68.

Poets, it seems, are tortured souls prone to self-destruction.

- “The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children.” A royal observation by the late King Edward VIII.

- Is William Jefferson Clinton the only living American politician who can put things in historic context and explain a complex issue in a way Average Joes and Joettes like you and me can understand, without being pedantic?

- Your age is showing if you remember when the worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties.

- Although I’m a Cardinals fan, this Major League Baseball scheme to have a “play-in game” for the playoffs is just a ridiculous idea. Of course, we’re talking about pro baseball, where “ridiculous” has become a constant. It often seems the first sport I loved is being run by the people who have turned the NHL into a joke.

- Enrich your vocabulary by working the word “pervicacious” into a conversation, because it seems to be an adjective that reflects these political times. Means: Refusing to change one’s ideas, behavior, etc.; stubborn; obstinate.

- If you aren’t a hypochondriac but you think you are, does that make you a hypochondriac?

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