The Oreo has landed in Britian, the “Battle of the Biscuits” is on. I found the article linked to below, written by Brendan O’Neill, in today’s Christian Science Monitor.
Will the British abandon “tea and biscuits” for Oreo’s and milk? I think it will be an uphill battle. Getting the Brits to switch from tea to milk, at break time, is the big challenge. I love Oreo’s but they just don’t work well with tea for me.
I must admit my favorite cookie is Walker’s Shortbread, from Scotland.
What is your favorite cookie?
Excerpts from the Article:
London – “It’s very dark. It’s almost black.” May Woodward, an office worker in central London, is holding an Oreo cookie in her hands. It’s the first time she has ever seen one “in the flesh as opposed to on an American TV show,” and she’s not sure she likes what she sees. “It’s the color of wet mud!” she complains. “And the bit … looks like toothpaste rather than cream.”
She twists and turns the cookie in her fingers, staring at it from every angle with a screwed-up look on her face that seems to say, “Gross!” not “Mmm, cookie time.” You could be forgiven for thinking she’s handling some dangerous alien element, Cookie Kryptonite, say, rather than one of the best-known biscuits in the Western hemisphere.
She bites, chews, raises an eyebrow, chews some more.
“OK, I get it,” she says, finally. “I can see the attraction. It’s very sweet.” Suddenly she seems to change her mind. “Actually it’s too sweet … it’s becoming mushy,” she says, alarmed as tentative chewing becomes frantic munching to wolf the cookie down.
My impromptu taste test in Leicester Square is now attracting the attention of puzzled passersby giving us weird looks.
Ms. Woodward’s verdict is that the Oreo is “too … damp.”
I tell her that, according to the ads, it should be “dunked” before eaten.
“In tea?” she asks. (Dipping biscuits – we Brits call all cookies “biscuits’ – in a steaming hot cup of tea is an almost sacred ritual here.)
“No, in milk,” I reply.
“Milk?! A biscuit dipped in milk? Who does that?”
“Apparently Americans do,” I explain.
“Well, let them,” she say dismissively. “I won’t be doing it anytime soon.” And with that, she disappears into a throng of pedestrians, nonplussed by what has been labeled here as “America’s Favorite Cookie.”
“Kraft hopes the Oreo will capture Britain as it has America (with 419 billion Oreos sold since they first appeared in 1912).”
“Since its 1996 launch in China, the Oreo has become the No. 1 biscuit in that vast country. But the Chinese Oreo is very different from the American one – it has less sugar and it is a crispy cream-filled wafer. The version being launched in Britain is the exact same as the American one. Only the packaging has changed. At 74 pence ($1.44) a go, we Brits will get our Oreos in a long, thin tube.”
“We Brits are biscuit-mad. The British Department of Trade and Industry estimates that $3.1 billion is spent on biscuits here annually, and one newspaper estimated that the average Briton eats 1.5 tons of biscuits and cakes in his lifetime.”
“Some of these biscuits have a history of 150 years,” says Mr. Payne. He describes British biscuits as “thoroughbreds” specially designed – in a Darwinian process of the survival of the dippiest – over generations to suit British tastes. For example, he notes, “Our love of tea-dipping has influenced the selection of flour and the temperature at which biscuits are baked. Our biscuits are built for dunking.”
“Yet the Oreo, because of its high-sugar content, is “woeful” when it comes to being dunked in tea, he says. “In my experience, it dissolves. It’s not a survivor in tea terms like the British biscuit is.”
“Eating biscuits in a certain way is part of British culture, says Payne. It goes back to the days when lots of people worked in factories, and the only thing they could squeeze into their 10-minute breaks was “a cup of tea and two Rich Tea biscuits.” Biscuits had to be sturdy and satisfy hunger.”