You read that correctly, I used to eat Oreo Cookies for a living, among other Nabisco products.
I’m always amazed when I look back on my career and the many twists and turns it’s taken. I actually started my adult working life as a food scientist. I went to college for, and obtained my Bachelors Degree in Chemistry and my first ‘real’ job in the field was at Nabisco Brands, Inc in East Hanover New Jersey testing the shelf life of many of the products the company manufactured.
I won’t bore you with too many of the details but I will say it probably isn’t what you imagined when you first read that I ate cookies for a living.
Products, including Oreos, Nutter Butters, Chips Ahoy!, Triscuits, Mallomars and a multitude of others were subjected to extreme conditions to accelerate the aging process. The idea was to make things bad in to order to determine how long they could stay on the store shelves and still be good. It wasn’t exactly a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scenario but we had fun and I learned a lot of about food chemistry during my time at Nabisco.
In retrospect I don’t believe that’s where my love of food came from, I think that developed much later in life. As I grew up and matured do did my food choices and tastes. That’s not to say I don’t love a good Oreo from time to time but I think time and exposure to all kinds of foods allowed my tastes to develop.
Many years later my career path has changed many times. I no longer use my Chemistry background in my day-to-day life and my knowledge of how starch molecules behave in the presence or lack of water has faded to a distant memory. I still feel nostalgic whenever I’m in the supermarket and I walk down the Nabisco aisle. I pass all of my old friends and I am introduced to some new ones, like the Neapolitan Oreo or the various Fudge Covered Oreos.
And as the Oreo Cookie celebrates its 100th Birthday this year, I want to thank it, and Nabisco, for setting me off on a path that has led me to want to share my Foodietales with my fellow foodies.