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So what is a newyorksubalien...

I’m a New York subalien. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly legal – it’s just my loving other half, official alien that he is, comes with a so-called “supermodel” visa that apparently denotes him as one possessing extraordinary abilities (falling asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down in front of the TV, remembering only 2 of the 3 items on a mental shopping list and not knowing where the dishwasher tablets live after 2 years in our apartment are just some of his many talents).

The same visa leaves me extraordinarily unable to possess that most American of entities - a “social” i.e. a Social Security Number. Calling it a “social” makes it sound like the password to some party-filled, fun-packed lifestyle. That’s not far wrong as without these all-important 9 numbers, you pretty much can’t have a lifestyle at all - no bank account, no credit card, not even a driver’s license.

So what does a subalien do? Well, like over sub life forms waiting for evolution to give them a leg up on the ladder of existence, I have plenty of time to observe and these, dear reader, are my observations…..

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Birthday Ode to a planetary institution: the Oreo-iginal dunkin' biscuit

Today, March 6, 2012, is a momentous day in the history of Planet America as it marks a big “Double O” anniversary. And in more ways than one, as today is the 100th birthday of the quintessential American cookie, the often imitated but never quite replicated true Double O, the Oreo cookie, born right here in New York.

Before we landed here, the concept of “milk and cookies” is something I associated with life in the movies and our current home. And of all the cookies on offer, nothing quite personified American living as the Oreo. American friends in Paris would lament their absence from local supermarket shelves and bring back suitcases of the distinctively dark discs from home visits. We tried them but, as with the love affair our Australian friends had with their sacred Vegemite, we just did not get it.

Three years in and it’s happened. Male Mini-me, rapidly sprouting into Male Mum-minizer, is heeding his doctor’s advice to eat us out of house and home and the “milk and cookies” ritual is a daily ceremony in our household. Although I have to admit his allegiances are still with Hobnobs or Chocolate Digestives. But we still have a packet of Oreos handy in the house for the local alienettes and I consider it a privilege to have seen the “twist, lick, dunk” ritual performed by a true expert. Several tips if you are trying it out yourself -

  *  Make sure your Oreos are at room temperature for a successful twist and split. Broken Oreos do NOT taste the same. In fact they taste like ore (as in ore - o. Sorry.)
 * Don’t lick all the creamy filling off as apparently, for a true dunk, you need to put the two halves back together. And too much licking means no sticking.
  * Choose your milk glass wisely. Big clue, the cookie should be able to fit into it. Don’t laugh, not that obvious if you’re an Irish-subalien-first-time-dunker.

While there is only one, true Oreo, this does not mean there are not different kinds of Oreos - Mini Oreos, Golden Oreos, Double Stuf (really, that’s how it’s spelt), Triple Double Chocolate, ones with original creme fillings or those with mint, peanut butter or chocolate in the middle. The list gets longer if you include overseas offerings – in Argentina there are banana and dolce de leche creme options, in China strawberry fillings and a less sweet wafer variation which appeals more to the local market.

The sweet factor is not an issue here - back in the 1980s, there was a “Big Stuf Oreo” which, as you probably guessed, was a pretty big cookie. But coming in at 316 calories a piece, it was eventually sent to cookie heaven in 1991. Even the amazing deep-fried oreo cookies sold here at street markets and fairs are estimated to have only around 100 calories each – and believe me, you are usually not tempted to have a second.

In honour of today’s birthday, there is a “special edition” birthday cake version on sale at the moment with sprinkles in the filling. Ever ready to celebrate any occasion, I am off to seek them out so I can crush them and sprinkle on vanilla ice cream – my guilty Oreo secret. And while savouring my variation of “milk and cookies”, I will offer up my Birthday Ode to the Oreo.

Oh, Oreo, we did not know
That to your hometown we would go,
We weren’t sure, we thought we’d risk it,
But we’re glad we did ‘cos it takes the biscuit!  

Creative Commons License by Caroline Eagles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.