“Oreos may be as addictive as cocaine. That’s according to new research from Connecticut College that compared rats’ reactions to the sandwich cookies and to drugs.” – From a story in the Hartford (Conn.) Courant.
Hi, My name is Brian, and I’m an Oreoholic.
I had my first Oreo at camp when I was 12. We had been eating apples, oranges, raisins, bananas – you know, healthy stuff – for dessert. But one day a friend of mine, Charles, came up to me and said, “Here, try this.”
He pulled a brown disk with white filling out of a package his mom had sent him from home and handed it to me. I bit into it, and the taste of the chocolatey cookie and the intensely sweet cream filling exploded on my tongue, traveling straight to the pleasure centers in my brain and down my spine, giving me a warm, glowing sensation all over.
“Can you get more of these?” I asked Charles.
“Sure,” he said, “ but I want access to your Playboy magazine.”
Oreos immediately became my favorite food. And for awhile I was just a social Oreo eater, functioning fine and able to control my desires.
But the urges grew stronger. I’d go to parties where Oreos were served, and while some people could stop at two or three, I’d eat seven or eight.
There also were occasional binges on the weekends where I’d eat a whole bag of Oreos and play video games all night.
Things got worse in college. Almost immediately I was eating a couple of bags of Oreos every weekend.
Then I fell in with a crowd that was eating Big Stuff Oreos with twice the filling of a regular Oreo. We’d eat Oreo after Oreo, washed down with gallons of milk, and then just sit on the floor in a stupor.
Looking back, I now realize that was when I got totally hooked and the downward spiral began.
After college, I was still functioning OK during the day, holding down a job at a book store, but I was eating dozens of Oreos every night. Sometimes I would run out of Oreos and have to get into my car in the middle of the night to go to quick stops and gas stations looking for cookies.
More often than not, they wouldn’t have Oreos. I’d have to settle for knockoffs called Romeos or Happyos or Antonios (that was at a little Hispanic grocery). One time I had to settle for something labeled “Chocolate-flavored wafers with sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil filling,” which I think came from an Army surplus store.
The situation was even worse when I made the mistake of going to France. I went from shop to shop looking for Oreos, but no luck. I finally found something that slightly resembled an Oreo – Le Petit Biscuit au Chocolat – that cost me about 4 euros.
“Good Lord,” I remember thinking, “this tastes just like real chocolate and real butter cream. It’s horrible!” I flew home the next day.
I began to realize I had a problem when I got fired from my job, my car was repossessed and I had to move back in with my parents because I couldn’t pay the rent on my apartment. My parents immediately hooked me up with a trainer, Vic, who helps people like me.
“You sure do like your Oreos,” Vic said on my first trip to the gym.
“Oh, yeah? How can you tell?”
“It’s the pasty complexion and the XXXL sweat pants,” he said.
Vic got me well again. I did have a relapse when I saw a package of Golden Oreos and thought, hey, no chocolate cookie, I can handle that. Big mistake.
But I’m off Oreos now, and I’m getting back on track. I hope to move out of my parents’ house soon.
My advice, especially to young people: stick to fresh fruit, you’ll never get hooked on that.
James Werrell, Herald opinion page editor, can be reached at 329-4081 or, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.