Saturday, April 26, 2008

At what price, these Oreo cookies?

Did I ever tell you, dear reader, that we now have Oreo cookies here in Britain? (Did you know I'm eating Oreo cookies right now as I'm typing this?)
I remember in 1998, when I first came over here, there was hardly anything American in the shops. You might see the odd Del Monte or Kraft product here and there, but it wasn't impressive enough to write home about. It used to be that you'd have to go to a specialist shop that catered to American ex-pats to find the snack goods you grew up with. In fact, the only American franchises I would see were Blockbusters and McDonald's.
Then, around 2002, shops across Britain would have promotions featuring American snack products, like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey's chocolate bars, and Oreo cookies. These promotions would last a few weeks and then be gone.
But, slowly but surely, it started to grow. The British decided they liked Oreo cookies and Nutrageous candy bars enough to demand more of them. Thus, companies like Hershey's Chocolate and Nabisco gained a foothold here.
I also remember how there wasn't a Starbucks or a Subway to be seen anywhere here in 1998. However, Starbucks was well established by 2001, and Subway has been a successful franchise here since 2006.
We even have Krispy Kreme too, though we're still waiting for Dunkin' Donuts. (Funnily enough, Dunkin' Donuts is to be found in Spain—we know, having been to Barcelona!)
I used to consider it exotic whenever I saw a Hershey's bar or a pack of Oreos in the local convenience store. I'd buy it and rush home, exclaiming "Hon, look at this!" Now, it almost seems passé. Ten years from now, most Brits might be unaware that there never used to be such a thing as Oreo cookies on these shores.
I dunno, I guess I'm trying to say there's something very wonderful but yet very creepy about that. I guess I'd prefer that the Americanization of Britain continued at a small trickly pace rather than a flood.
And it's not because I don't love my country. But I simply remember how wonderful and exciting it was to first find Oreos in the stores. Now that they're much more commonplace, that feeling has been taken away. There's nothing special about it anymore.
I guess I just feel a bit sad and disappointed by that.


kristen said...

Mmmm, Oreo cookies....

Yeah, I remember when I lived in South America and had to do w/o a lot of my favorite stuff. My mom would send me Kraft Mac & Cheese (one of my staples) and that was pretty dang exciting.

But, they did have a few things that you don't find here in the states.

(Dunkin' Donuts is soooo much better than Krispy Creme)

Nightdragon said...

Yeah, let's hear it for Mac & Cheese, especially Kraft's kind. That's another thing I never noticed here in '98, but was quite big around '03/'04. Now it seems to be a rare find again ...
Squirrel did fix some for dinner the other night, don't know where she got it. I'm thinking Partridge's in Gloucester Square, which has always stocked loads of American foods (mostly "junk food").
I too have an affinity for Dunkin' Donuts. I love their jelly sticks, they're lovely, though I never have more than two on any one day. DD coffee is pretty nice too... I'm so looking forward to my trip home to Boston in June so I can have some DD jelly sticks again!

East of Eden said...

This totally reminded me of living in Bulgaria and always being on the prowl for peanutbutter. When we would find a shop that sold it, we would buy them out, as they confusedly asked us why we liked that nasty stuff! I remember on my 23rd b-day, we found a shop selling Golden Grahams cereal and I bought the box for the equivalent of $ was expensive, but the best birhday present ever!

And I agree, DD is so much better than KK

bigkidsid said...

I'm a big fan of hershey cookies and cream myself! the american ones taste much better than ours though!

reeses pb cups are nice too!

hershey's milk chocolate tastes foul though!

Nightdragon said...

"hershey's milk chocolate tastes foul though!"

Oh, it does not, Sid! I don't know why most Brits seem to hate it. I much prefer Hershey's to Cadbury's or Nestle. (And I don't touch Mars/Masterfoods chocolate products because they're not vegetarian.) Don't get me wrong, Cadbury's is really nice, but, IMO, Hershey's is tastier.

You do realize that Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are covered in Hershey's milk choc, right?

Kimberly said...

There isn't anything to Oreos. They are hard as stone and tasteless as far as the biscuit part is concerned. And chocolate isn't the black black that Oreos are; makes one wonder what dye they are using. They are made in some press to get that design in them. The centre isn't much better, no taste except for being super sugar sweet.