Saturday, April 4, 2015

Emergency cookie ration.

The other week at the grocery store I bought a box of Grandma's Cookies, a box with 10 lunch-size bags. I'd been instructed NOT to get any dessertlike foods, as we were all about to lose weight and get healthy. Of course, I knew that was likely to fail, and given enough stress an all-out cookie attack could happen. It was safer to have something in the house. Something not that great, but something that still fell within the definition of cookie.

These barely qualified.
Below the level of Oreos, below cult classic Hydrox, the lowly Grandma's Sandwich Cremes labor in lunchboxes and gas station checkout lines. How lame are they? Pretty lame. The Creme is acceptable, but the cookie itself tastes like nothing, or nothing with a sprinkling of chocolate, and have the consistency of a spoonful of corn meal. They totally fail the "How Happy" test.*

Who is Grandma and why does she inflict crummy cookies on us?

"Grandma" is a Frito-Lays brand, so I guess they taste like what you'd expect cookies made by the manufacturers of potato chips and corn chips to taste like. I'm not exactly crushed that there's no Grandma at Grandma's; there's no Betty Crocker, no Uncle Ben, and there was never an Ann Page. And I should mention that, tragically, some genuine grandmothers make cookies that are lousy.

The best part of Grandma's is the Web site, which---like those of a lot of companies that make unhealthy foods that aren't really tasty---is a lot of fun. You can't sell it on health, or on quality, so sell it on fun. Hey, at least you're getting some fun out of it. I hear we're low on fun in this country.

Grandma's had been around in Portland, Oregon, since 1914 (according to Portland: A Food Biography by Heather Arndt Anderson). No word on whether the cookies stunk back then. Frito-Lays writes on its site: "Like your own grandmother, Grandma’s® will always be there to help boost your day. That’s why in 1980, we welcomed the brand to the Frito-Lay family and 'she' has helped us spread joy nationwide for more than 30 years. Today, Grandma’s is one of the top cookie brands in the U.S."

So they don't try to pretend that there is a Grandma and these are her family recipes. And I'm not surprised that it's one of the top cookie brands; it has a distribution powerhouse behind it. I can't start a cookie company and get my products into every supermarket and convenience store in the country. Frito-Lays can!

Don't try to use your own grandmother's recipes to start a cookie company and call it Grandmother's or something, by the way. Frito-Lays took Utz to the woodshed over their Grandma Utz's Cookies line. I don't know what happened, but the Utz site no longer has any cookies on it. Dun dun dunnnnn...

Anyway, if this is the kind of thing you like, you'll like this kind of thing. We didn't, but we ate them anyway. It was a bad cookie attack.


*The "How Happy" test is: How happy would I be with this if I made it myself? The answer here: Not very. By comparison -- How happy would I be if I made cookies in the Pepperidge Farm Dessert Shop line? Pretty doggone happy. 

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