Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This Cookie Happened

On a recent trip to the grocery store I was pushing my shopping cart about when I noticed a woman handing out cookie samples on the far end of the produce aisle.  Ignoring the bananas, apples, broccoli, carrots, and other various forms of healthy fare, I made a beeline for the processed sweets.  When I got to the sample table I saw what, at first glance, looked like a bunch of ordinary Chips Ahoy! cookies.  I don’t mean to disparage Chips Ahoy!—quite the contrary, those and Oreos were my main source of sustenance throughout my grade school years—but when I see samples, I generally expect that it will be something a bit out of the ordinary.

Upon noticing me looking at the cookies the woman behind the table asked if I wanted to try one and pointed out that they were different flavors.  Ahhhh…these weren’t just ordinary Chips Ahoy! cookies after all.

“What flavors are there?” I asked, thinking there’s not really any way to improve upon Chips Ahoy! anyway.

“Well, the first one is birthday cake flavored, the next one is Oreo cream filled, the next one is…”  And honestly, I have no idea what the next one was; it could have contained jalapenos and nacho cheese for all I knew, because the moment she said that somewhere on our planet—indeed, directly in front of me—there existed a Chips Ahoy! cookie with Oreo cream filling, time stood still.  I stood transfixed, looking at the second cookie in the line.  At some point she stopped talking.

“I’m sorry, did you say that Chips Ahoy! cookie has Oreo cream inside it?” I asked, pointing incredulously at the cookie in question.

“Yes, would you like to try it?” she asked.

“Yes I would!” I said in a voice that was probably way too loud for that particular social interaction.

I picked up the cookie and took a bite.  When the morsels hit my taste buds the whole of the universe flashed before my eyes in an instant, as though I were Keir Dullea in 2001: A Space Odyssey. “My god, it’s full of cream!” I thought to myself.

“Would you like to try another sample?” the saleslady asked, rousing me from my euphoric trance.

“No thanks, but can you tell me where I can find a box of those?” I asked, trying not to go into a frenzy in front of the onion bin.

“It’s in the regular cookie aisle,” she said; and as soon as the words were out of her mouth I screamed, “Thank you!” and set off in that direction.

As I sped past the other shoppers on my way to meet my sweet-toothed destiny, I wondered what mad genius had come up with this idea.  Somewhere at Nabisco’s headquarters in East Hanover, New Jersey there must be an employee who makes Albert Einstein look like Curly Howard.  I wish I were a fly on the wall when this idea was first pitched at a product development meeting.

Head of Product Development: Okay everyone, Oreos and Chips Ahoy! are our two top sellers, but we need to come up with some new flavors to keep it interesting.

Worker #1: What about birthday cake flavored Chips Ahoy!?

Head of Product Development: Good one. Everything’s birthday cake flavored these days; might as well add one of our cookies to the mix.

Worker #2: What about watermelon Oreos?

Head of Product Development: Sounds disgusting, but hey, people try all kinds of weird stuff once, right? Let’s give it a go. What else we got?

Worker #3: What if we combine our two top sellers?

Head of Product Development: Huh? What?

Worker #3: What if we made a Chips Ahoy! cookie with Oreo cream filling on the inside?

POP!  BAM!  THWAP!  Three people sitting around the conference table have their heads simultaneously explode.  Two more have massive coronaries. The other six fall to the ground and genuflect.  Moments later the Head of Product Development resigns and gives Worker #3 his job. 

At least this is how I assume it all went down given the enormity of this invention, which in my mind rivals the light bulb, the airplane, and indoor plumbing. Certainly this invention is better than the cellphone. Think about it—what would you rather have in your hand right now, a cellphone or a Chips Ahoreo! cookie? (Note: The product is not actually called Chips Ahoreo! It’s called “Chips Ahoy! Oreo Crème filled.” I just came up with Chips Ahoreo! and it’s clearly a much better name. Nabisco, you can make the royalty checks out to “Andrew J. Schwartzberg.”)

In the days since purchasing this miracle of modern food science I’ve only eaten three of them. I know that’s hard to believe, but I’m pacing myself. You don’t climb Mt. Everest in one day and you don’t eat an entire box of the world’s most incredible cookie in one sitting. I am savoring them, delighting in them, and getting to know each cookie on an individual basis. I highly recommend that you do the same. But whatever you do, don’t purchase them from the Fry’s on the corner of Dobson and Ray. Those boxes are all mine.