In 1908, the Sunshine Biscuit Company dreamed up the chocolate sandwich cookie, and named the creation Hydrox. Four years later, an identical cookie debuted—Oreos had better marketing, and Hydrox never really caught up.
Kim Burton, of Wichita, Kansas grew up eating only Hydrox and started a fan site in 1998, encouraging people to buy Hydrox rather than Oreos. When the cookies disappeared for good in 2003, the site became a kind of memorial, with hundreds of readers agitating for the cookies’ reincarnation. (This is a tradition now. Google Jello Pudding Pops.)
But tomorrow, Kellogg (which owns everything that Kraft doesn’t) is bringing the cookies back, for a limited time. They’ll be hitting store shelves at Target, ShopRite, Pathmark, Weis and others at the end of this week. Plus—free food alert—Big Daddy’s Diner will be giving out free Hydrox cookies with every order after 2pm tomorrow.
Kellogg actually flew Burton out to New York for the party. She’s going to be ringing the closing bell at the stock exchange and appearing on the CBS Early Show—all because she started a blog in defense of Hydrox.
We caught up with Burton today, just after she flew in.
Is now a good time to talk?
I’m in a a van right now, we’re on our way to PR firm, but the traffic here…it’s not like we’re going anywhere.
Yes, it’s crazy. What do you love about Hydrox? How are they different from Oreos?
Well they taste better. They’re not quite as sweet. Oreos taste kind of chemically. Hyrox are subtler, and you can taste the chocolate in the cookie part. You know—I’m sure most people don’t think quite so much about this, but—some cookies invest too much effort in the frosting. So you know, when you twist open the cookie and lick off the frosting, the cookie part you’re left with is like sand.
Have you had one of the new Hydrox cookies yet?
I’ve tasted the new cookies; they sent me samples. The official tasting is tomorrow, but they sent me a sample pack. I mean… it’s hard to really remember when it’s been a decade since you’ve had something. I ate the whole pack, and thought they were great and pretty much like I remembered. They say they’ve used the original formula, the only difference is that I think they had to make them trans fat free. And from what I tasted, I totally believe they used the original recipe.
What if they hadn’t tasted right? Could you have said something?
Well, I was totally happy. But no, they didn’t really ask. But honestly, it’s funny because there have been so many fans writing in on the website who are concerned that the company will mess with the recipe. That was a really huge thing, and people have been leaving comments on the site. They’re really concerned!
Where do you want to eat while you’re in town?
Besides cookies…I ate pizza today for lunch and that was one of my goals. And cheesecake is a big thing, too, right?
Did the pizza live up to the hype?
It was a little greasy— I liked the crust, it was very crispy. But that was only one place, and I know New York pizza is a large category.
Any Wichita, Kansas recommendations?
There’s a bistro called Kelsey’s that we love to go to, it’s got the best prime rib. We’re total beef people. Sabor, a little Latin restaurant, just opened downtown, and we really liked it. Good mojitos!