Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CHESSMEN, MILANO, AND THE RUNNERS-UP:  Leon Neyfakh traveled to Pepperidge Farm headquarters in Norwalk, Conn., learned some history, and tried every single cookie they offer:
PF cookies are great because they manage to be refined without coming off as pretentious. This is not a trivial accomplishment. It’s hard to imagine a better example of middlebrow philistinism than an elaborately crafted cookie that’s been randomly named after a fancy European city—the kind of cookie that Nabokov’s Charlotte Haze would keep in her cupboard and nibble while listening to the vulgar ringing of her wind chimes. But something rescues Pepperidge Farm cookies from evoking such lowly associations. And having eaten them all, I think that thing is that … they’re cookies. By their very nature, they are guileless and eager to please, and insofar as they play at sophistication, they do so with jauntiness, and without desperation....

... Unlike most other cookies—I’m thinking of Oreos and Chips Ahoy, but even Lu’s supposedly upmarket Petite Ecolier—they shine brighter under scrutiny. Just go ahead and put a Chessman, a Bordeaux, or a Gingerman in your mouth and start chewing. It might strike you as unremarkable at first. But soon the hard, crunchy cookie will turn into a pleasing goop that resembles melted ice cream or sweetened condensed milk. The flavor will make itself known gradually, growing more intense with time. The goop will get dense but you will be able to swish it around freely—an extraordinary feeling. In the end, it will feel like you are saying goodbye to something you’ve fought for. You will hesitate to swallow until you remember there are more in the bag—a fact that is easy enough to forget thanks to PF’s unique approach to packaging, with the cookies neatly divided into three vertically stacked paper cups.


  1. Gleemonex_for_Pets4:35 PM

    I like me some PF cookies, but that's ... that's quite a lengthy description of the chewing and swallowing process there, Hoss.

  2. I glad to learn I'm not the only one who squirmed a little.

  3. I am reminded of Neal Stephenson's disquisition on the consumption of Cap'n Crunch, in Cryptonomicon.

  4. bill.9:16 AM

    Great article. Pepperidge Farms are good cookies, if a little fussy. I prefer the unpretentioness of Archway and the perfection of their molasses cookie. If it's a fancy party that's when you break out the windmills.