What do you look for in a chocolate chip cookie? Melty chocolate chips? A texture that’s nice and chewy? How about a tangible presence in the natural world?
Confused? So was I when I saw a box of Chips Ahoy! last night. Apparently, the marketing team really wants us to know they’re REAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. Thanks? I was talking it over with my roommate, and there seem to be a couple of ways to interpret this. All of them weird.
“Real” can either modify:
- Chocolate Chip
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (authenticity)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (existence)
The first two seem dependent on the make-up of the chocolate. Setting the bar heroically low, the chocolate’s most noteworthy characteristic is that some small part of it was once a cacao bean. In other words, the chocolate is, in fact, chocolate. Impressive.
Number 3 assumes some set of regulations (or possibly even tribunal) that governs whether or not a cookie is the real deal. What goes into those discussions I don’t know (cookie/dough ratios? the inclusion of “real walnuts”?) but it’s nice to know that the Chips Ahoy! passed.
Lastly (and not any less absurd) is the assurance by the good people at Nabisco that their cookies occupy the tangible realm. They’re not just a figment of your imagination. They exist. Eat them.
Whatever the interpretation, the phrase is no less a damning indicator on the state of our food. The chocolate chip cookie is a hallmark of American sweets. Can we get back to a point where it’s judged on its merits rather than its “realness”?