It is not my nature to shy away from controversy, so I thought I would take a trip in the way back machine to another time and place where the battle lines were drawn and neither side would give any quarter.
I’m talking the Oreo-Hydrox wars of the seventies and eighties. Hydrox established the model, coming out four years before Oreos. The controversy as to which was the better cookie did not divide households simply because Moms bought one or the other. Grandmothers, to keep peace with daughters quickly followed suit. Kids were either raised up in an Oreo home or a Hydrox home. There was none of this these are on sale or Brand X looks like… It was Oreos or Hydrox, not either or, not any port in a storm, damn it take a stand!
The war ended in the early nineties earlier depending upon where one lived. Hydrox went from a national brand to a regional brand to a memory by 1992.True to my convictions nary an Oreo has passed my lips in the following decades.
I was in HEB the other day. For those unfamiliar with HEB, it started as a mom and pop grocery store at the turn of the 19th-20th century. It now dominates the South Texas Market. It was a moment of weakness, and I was feeling nostalgic. I looked up, there they were, Oreos; I scanned the shelf looking for Hydrox. They weren’t there. But HEB had their own store brand version of a cream filled cookie. I grabbed a box as an act of defiance.
Once at home I poured out a tall glass of milk, cracked the box and prepared myself for disappointment. The HEB cookies looked like Hydrox, just the right amount of cream, not the overcompensating glob of Oreo. The cookie was fresh and its taste was reminiscent of a Hydrox, no lingering aftertaste like Oreos. Finally, just the right amount of cream gave the cookie a good clean finish. These cookies were like Hydrox, could it be, was my long journey through the darkness nearing an end? I guess I’ll see how I feel at the end of the box.