Since their introduction on March 6, 1912, Nabisco's Oreo cookies have become the most popular commercial cookie product in the United States. More than 362 billion of them have been consumed over the years. According to their manufacturer, that number is equivalent to a pile that would stretch between the Earth and the moon five times over. Known officially as Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, a single Oreo consists of two intricately patterned chocolate-colored wafers, with a cream filling in between.
Nabisco does not offer a definitive conclusion about the origins of the name "Oreo," but cites several theories: it might have been suggested by or, the French word for gold, the most prominent color on the original packaging; it might have come from a Greek word for mountain, since early prototypes were mound-shaped; or it might have been invented by surrounding "RE" (two letters in the word "cream") with two "O"s from the word "chocolate." Although Nabisco does make Oreos with chocolate filling, the traditional cream filling (Nabisco spells it "creme") is white in color. This white-between-black combination led to the negative use of the term "Oreo" to describe an African American who betrays his race (i.e., one who is "black on the outside and white on the inside").
Over the years, consumers of Oreos have entered into a great debate over how to eat the cookies. Citing research it has done on the eating habits of Oreo consumers, Nabisco claims that 35 percent of respondents to one survey twist their cookies apart before eating them, 30 percent dunk them in milk, and 10 percent nibble them.
Over the years, some variations have been introduced to the standard Oreo. These variations include Double Stuf, an Oreo with a double portion of cream filling; Fudge Covered Oreo Sandwich Cookies; Oreo Big Stuf large snack cookies; and seasonal Oreos, such as those with orange cream sold at Halloween.
For More Information
Only Oreo.http://www.oreo.com/Oreo/Default.htm? (accessed January 16, 2002).
World's Greatest Brands: An International Review. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1992.