Bakery Bulletin by Philippa Kelly: The vegan-friendly cookie

Oreo cookies by Evan Amos
Oreo cookies by Evan Amos

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man elected to public office in California.

The history books are rich with details about his political trailblazing, but a key aspect is missing - what was Milk’s favourite cookie?

Milk’s favourite cookie was invented on the sixth of March in 1912. To prevent a defamation of character lawsuit, that’s milk with a lower case “m” because it’s not Harvey Milk, it’s dairy milk.

And that’s dairy milk with a lower case “d” and “m” because it’s the dairy milk intended for baby cows, not the one full of vegetable fat and some fruit and nuts.

One hundred and five years ago, “milk’s favourite cookie” - Oreo - hit the shelves in America, and since then, the best-selling cookie in The States has racked up sales of roughly 450 billion units.

It might be the best, but it’s certainly not the original.

In 1908, Sunshine Company released their Hydrox Cookie.

It’s basically an Oreo - it’s more or less exactly the same, but Hydrox was outshone and outsold by Oreo, and was discontinued in 1999.

It wasn’t just the flavour, shape and ingredients that Oreo stole, but also the inexplicable name.

What’s in a name? Not a lot, apparently. There’s speculation that Oreo is thus named as it’s short and easy to say.

It could also be derived from “or”, the French for gold, as the original packaging was gold.

Oreo has also suffered countless identity crises over the years.

Actually, they’re not countless, I just can’t be bothered. New designs, unsuccessful flavours, the big decision about being a sandwich, a cookie, or a biscuit, and varying degrees of stuffing, are a few of the issues that have faced the Bourbon biscuit’s stateside cousin.

Nabisco is Oreo’s producer. It sounds Japanese, but it’s just the National Biscuit Company made to sound short and snappy.

Their original factory was in Chelsea, Manhattan, on a road now known as Oreo Way. In the 1950s, Oreo production warranted the construction of the largest bakery in America, employing 4000 workers.

In 2015, America’s love affair with Oreo ended.

It didn’t just fizzle out with an, “it’s not you, it’s me” or a, “I think we should just be friends”, it was an explosive, “I can’t believe you slept with my mum”.

The Oreo Boycott began when Nabisco announced plans to close their American bakeries and set up shop in Mexico.

It’s like a textbook example of how to annoy an American, but Nabisco couldn’t see it, and began closing factories and sacking staff. Silly billies.

Despite the bad press Oreo gets for waving goodbye to America (and presumably, on arrival, giving its first Mexican wave...), give a vegan an Oreo and he can feed himself for life.

Since the removal of lard (ewww) and calf rennet (double ewww) amid health concerns in the nineties, Oreo has been the accidentally-vegan hero of Vegan Town.

Ditch the boycott - this is nacho fight, hombre - and big up Mexican Oreos.

Don your sombrero, grab your maracas, and join the fiesta - here come Oreos with a double stuffing of guacamole.

Brighton Bakery

100% vegan