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The Sweet Bond: Unveiling the Surprising Connection Between Oreos and English Biscuits

The surprising connection between Oreos and English biscuits

The Facts

Cookies and cookies. Cookies and biscuits. A relationship as storied, as romantic, as complicated as that of Ross and Rachel, or Harold and Kumar, or Penn and Teller. Perhaps a more apt comparison would be the ancient Greek love story between Narcissus and his own reflection, because cookies and biscuits are two halves of the same whole. Small, sweet treats; what is called a “cookie” in America is often called a “biscuit” in the rest of the English-speaking world, and perhaps none is as internationally recognized as the Oreo. A perfect circle – the sugary embodiment of the Buddhist concept of yin and yang – the Oreo cookie (or biscuit, for our British friends) is essentially a disk of white frosting sandwiched between two black, chocolate-flavored wafers.

Why does the Oreo cookie have such a strong hold on our hearts?

The Oreo cookie has become an iconic treat that holds a special place in the hearts of people around the world. Its popularity is due to a combination of factors, including its unique taste, texture and cultural significance. The Oreo’s distinctive combination of sweet, creamy filling and crunchy chocolate wafer creates an indulgent sensory experience that appeals to a wide range of taste preferences.
In addition, Oreo has successfully captured the imagination of consumers through marketing campaigns and innovative product variations. Over the years, Oreo has introduced limited edition flavors, collaborations with other brands, and creative packaging designs that have generated excitement and anticipation among fans. This constant reinvention and ability to surprise and delight consumers has contributed to Oreo’s enduring popularity.

The English Biscuit Connection

While the Oreo cookie is an American creation, there is a surprising connection between Oreo and English biscuits. In the rest of the English-speaking world, what Americans call “cookies” are often called “biscuits. In English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland, the term “biscuit” encompasses a wide range of sweet and savory baked goods.
The Oreo cookie, with its chocolate-flavored wafer and creamy filling, bears a resemblance to some traditional British biscuits. The concept of a sweet treat consisting of two layers with a filling in the middle is not unique to Oreos. In fact, there are several British biscuits that have a similar structure, such as the bourbon biscuit and the custard cream biscuit.
The influence of English biscuits on the Oreo can be traced back to the early 20th century, when the National Biscuit Company (later known as Nabisco) introduced the Oreo cookie as part of “The Trio” collection. While the other two cookies in the collection were not as popular, Oreo became a huge hit. Eventually, the name “cookie” was dropped and the Oreo cookie as we know it today was born.

A brief history of cookies

To truly understand the connection between Oreos and English biscuits, it’s important to delve into the history of biscuits. The word “biscuit” comes from the Latin term “panis biscoctus,” which means twice-baked bread. This refers to the early method of baking bread twice to create a dry, crisp texture that allowed the bread to last longer.
The concept of biscuits dates back to ancient times. In ancient Mesopotamia, slices of bread were dried to extend their shelf life. In the Middle Ages, biscuits were made by grinding barley bread into a mash to make beer. The dough was sweetened with sugar and wrapped around figs and nuts for medicinal purposes.
Over time, cookies evolved from functional and medicinal treats to indulgent delicacies. As people discovered the pleasure of eating sweetened cookies, the demand for different flavors and textures grew. Biscuits became a popular accompaniment to tea, and their production and consumption spread throughout Europe and the English-speaking world.

The rise of Oreo

By the late 19th century, biscuits had already gained popularity in America. The National Biscuit Company, later known as Nabisco, sought to pay homage to the biscuit’s British origins while introducing new and exciting flavors to American consumers.
In 1898, Nabisco introduced “The Trio” collection, which included Oreo cookies. While the other two cookies in the collection did not last, Oreo cookies captured the hearts of Americans. The distinctive combination of chocolate-flavored wafers and creamy filling proved to be a winning formula.
Over the years, the Oreo cookie continued to evolve. New flavors such as Double Stuf, Golden and Mint were introduced. Limited-edition varieties and collaborations with other brands became highly anticipated events for Oreo fans. The Oreo brand became synonymous with innovation and indulgence, offering consumers a wide range of choices to satisfy their cookie cravings.

The Cultural Impact of the Oreo

The cultural impact of the Oreo cookie cannot be overstated. It has become more than a delicious treat; it is a cultural icon. The Oreo has found its way into popular culture, inspiring songs, memes and even its own dedicated fan base. The famous “Twist, Lick, Dunk” ritual has become a playful tradition for many Oreo enthusiasts.
In addition, the Oreo has crossed borders and language barriers to become a beloved snack in many countries around the world. Its availability in a variety of flavors and adaptations has allowed people from different cultures to experience the joy of an Oreo in their own unique way.

Bottom line

In summary, the surprising link between Oreos and English biscuits is their shared concept of a sweet treat consisting of two layers with a filling in the middle. Although the Oreo cookie is an American invention, its structure and flavor profile are similar to traditional English biscuits.
The Oreo’s rise to fame can be attributed to its distinctive taste, innovative marketing, and ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences. Its connection to English biscuits shows how food traditions and influences can cross borders and evolve over time.
Whether you enjoy an Oreo or a British biscuit, these delicious treats bring joy and satisfaction to people around the world. So the next time you indulge in an Oreo or dip a biscuit in your tea, remember the surprising connection that exists between these beloved treats.


What is the difference between cookies and crackers?

Cookies and biscuits are terms used to describe similar types of baked treats, but the main difference is in terminology based on regional usage. In America, “cookie” is the common term for sweet baked treats, while in the rest of the English-speaking world, including the UK, they are called “biscuits”. In essence, they are two different names for the same concept.

Why are Oreos called cookies in some countries?

In countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, and other English-speaking regions, the term “biscuit” is used to describe a broader range of baked goods, including what Americans would call “cookies. Oreos, a sweet treat with a similar structure to certain British biscuits, are classified as “biscuits” in these regions.

How did the Oreo cookie become so popular?

The popularity of the Oreo cookie can be attributed to its unique combination of flavors, marketing strategies and constant innovation. The distinctive taste of the chocolate-flavored wafer and creamy filling appeals to a wide audience. In addition, Oreo has consistently introduced new flavors, limited editions and collaborations, creating anticipation and excitement among consumers.

Are there any other biscuits like Oreos in the UK?

Yes, there are several British biscuits with similarities to Oreos. For example, the Bourbon cookie and the Custard Cream cookie both have two layers with a filling in the middle. While the flavors and textures may be slightly different, these cookies are similar in structure and concept to Oreos.

What is the historical background of cookies?

Cookies have a rich history dating back to ancient times. The word “cookie” comes from the Latin term “panis biscoctus,” which means twice baked bread. Biscuits were originally created as a way to preserve bread by drying it out. Over time, they evolved from functional and medicinal treats to indulgent delicacies enjoyed across cultures and countries.

How has the cultural impact of Oreos influenced its popularity?

The cultural impact of Oreos has played a significant role in its popularity. The Oreo cookie has become more than just a treat; it has become a cultural icon. Its catchy marketing slogans, memorable rituals like “Twist, Lick, Dunk,” and presence in popular culture have contributed to its widespread recognition and devoted fan base. The Oreo’s ability to cross borders and adapt to different tastes and preferences has also contributed to its global appeal.

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