Celebrate Food

“Un-raisin-able”: Raisin Oatmeal Cookies and why they give us trust issues

Celebrating the cookie you love to hate.

by Alexander Quebec

There are a few memes about how oatmeal raisin cookies are the reason why people have trust issues. Sure, we laugh about it now, but where were you when you took a bite into what you thought was Oatmeal Raisin’s superior sister, Chocolate Chip Cookie, expecting a bit of chocolate euphoria, but then biting into one of the cookie kingdom’s most disappointing treat?

Fannie Merrit Farmer: the responsible party

Oatmeal cookies themselves have a bit of history. The Scots used to make then sans the dried wine grape rejects back in the Middle Ages. Then Fannie Merrit Famer in 1896 published a recipe in her book Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. It was the Quaker Oat company who really pushed the raisin agenda in the early 1900s by printing the recipe on their containers. From there, it’s been a downhill spiral into chaos on many cookie trays across America.

From observation, the oatmeal raisin cookie is the last picked kid on the school yard, the 3rd tier fast food restaurant you eat at when Jack in the Box and Taco Bell are closed. I don’t know where the hatred for these cookies came from, perhaps the blend of oats and raisins give a more healthy projection, which is not desirable in cookies. Perhaps it’s a flavor thing? The raisins might’ve been added in the Middle Ages when the sweetest things available were, in fact, raisins. But we all know one thing, hatred isn’t inherited, it’s taught, and whoever started the hate towards these cookies must’ve had one hell of a childhood.

In any case, oatmeal raisin cookies have their day today, and that means a celebration of sorts. I don’t think I’ll see a lot of people rushing to the stores to buy some though. This is one of those food holidays that will barely register a blip on anyone’s radar, even those who obsessively celebrate food holidays.

But why stop there with the trauma? There are plenty of other foods that give me trust issues, but the two below are ones that stand out to me the most.

Cauliflower anything 

Cauliflower rice is okay, but regular rice is even better. Sure, sometimes people have dietary needs due to medical reasons, whatever. I, however, feel a slight tinge of regret and fear whenever the prospect of trying something that was once made with flour, rice or any other carb has been replaced by cauliflower. The issue here isn’t that it’s terrible, it’s just that it’s very inconsistent: one product that’s been swapped by cauliflower can be amazing while another can be safely stored in the clearance bins. Cauliflower as a carb substitute is relatively new territory for food companies to explore, but I guess fearless adventurers on both the user and the creators end still have a ways to go to see what would work and what doesn’t.

Pringles

Pringles are tasty, that is not in dispute. What the issue is, however, is their serving size.

On one end, you have the traditional tube that says it has 5-6 servings, but really, everyone I know eats the whole thing in one sitting. Then you’ve got the little ones actually meant for one person, but we all know damn well most people need 2-3 of those to feel even remotely satisfied, and it doesn’t help that Target or whomever will sell them as an impulse item at 3 for $5 or 1 for $2. It doesn’t help that they come in a multitude of flavors as well.

No one should be given this much power, especially when it comes to snack food. The same goes for Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Frito Lay chips, pretty much any snack food capable of filling the emotional voids work, relationships and general existence on this tend to take out of your heart and soul. Snack foods prove that willpower is an illusion, although some would say to just simply not buy them, which can be done, but leaves a cardboard canister tube shape void in your heart that healthy snacks can’t fill. There’s just no way I can trust myself to not eat these without succumbing to devouring the entire can like an addict.

So, have oatmeal raisin cookies earned their reputation? I say they have, with their devilishly similar appearance to chocolate chip, they seem to disappoint us due to what we’re expecting vs what we actually get, hence where the trust issues come from. They say that managing expectations is how you prevent yourself from setting yourself up for failure, don’t expect the cookie to taste as good as you think it does in your head, especially when past experience has proved otherwise. On that note, the same goes for cauliflower powered items: don’t expect a near identical flavor experience, because it’s not worth the heartache. If you expect yourself to eat the entire can of Pringles, either avoid them or learn to deal with the consequences. Once you get past the idea that things are not in your control, your relationship with food won’t ever go sour as often as it did before.

In short, oatmeal raisin cookies have earned their reputation by not meeting the expectations of the unsuspecting cookie lover. Ditto goes for carb substitutes posing as their original counterparts and snack foods that leave you wanting more. But if you keep your reality in check and don’t have high expectations, you might learn to tolerate, and even, love oatmeal raisin cookies. Of course, that’s a stretch of the old imagination, but hey, with the right mindset, anything is possible.

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