Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bringing back the classics.

For a long time it was that weird Earth-2 cookie... the Oreo that Dad would bring home when he had to go to the store and didn't remember what Oreos were called... My friends, I present to you, the original chocolate sandwich cookie, the one and only...

The Hydrox had quite a checkered history. The name seems to be an indicator of that chemical compound known as dihydrogen monoxide, and in fact it was. Wikipedia says its creators were looking for a name that promoted purity and goodness, and what's better than hydrogen and oxygen? It's not generally known that the Hydrox predated the very similar Oreo, and by a considerable margin; the Hydrox cookie came on the market in 1908, and Mr. Sandwich-Come-Lately Oreo in 1912.

If you haven't heard that the Hydrox cookie is back, you may have some questions.

Q: Did it go somewhere?

A: It sure did. Sunshine Biscuits, the company that made Hydrox for almost 90 years, went toes-up in 1996 when it was bought by Keebler, which was then bought by Kellogg. Some of its products, like Cheez-It crackers, are still made by Kellogg, but the Hydrox cookie breathed its last in 1999.

Q: So, you ate, like, 18-year-old cookies?

A: No, silly imaginary person! Hydrox is back! Leaf Brands, an outfit dedicated to reviving defunct but popular products, has brought the Hydrox back to life. As always for food products, fighting its way onto supermarket shelves has been a problem, but Walmarts are carrying them. I got my pack as an Amazon add-on.

Q: What's the Hydrox like?

A: Hydrox is one of those cookies that inspire powerful loyalty in some people, so reviewing it is a delicate matter. I am a natural supporter of the underdog, but even more I am a supporter of truth and rightness, and if the underdog is wrong, he's got to get his butt kicked. And it's all opinion anyway.

And my opinion is... the Oreo is better.

Now, hear me out, Hydrox fans! The Hydrox is a very, very good cookie, and I can understand why some would prefer it. It's exactly as Leaf describes it: crunchier cookie, less sweet filling, darker chocolate. I actually prefer the filling in the Hydrox, which is a little thicker than that in the standard Oreo, and tastes of sugar, not corn syrup. (Hydrox does not contain that evil HFCS; Oreo does.) I just find that the chocolate part is a bit chalky and doesn't have as much flavor as the Oreo. That's the whole basis of my preference, and it is a preference only. God knows I'd eat my weight in Hydrox if they were free and I could still wear my pants afterward.

That's my take on the whole thing; I would still buy Hydrox, but most people will probably always think of it as a second-rate Oreo, which is totally unfair. If you have fond memories of Hydrox, or are curious about it, or just want to root for the underdog, or just would shove any cookie in your face like me, go try a package and let me know what you think.

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