Double Stuf Oreos are a lie. Last year, a New York high school teacher had his students calculate how much more creme is in a Double Stuf compared to a regular Oreo, and the kids found that the amount of creme is not quite double—their numbers say that the Double Stuf only contains 1.86 times as much creme as a normal Oreo. (And a Mega Stuf Oreo, according to Dan Anderson’s pupils, has 2.86 times as much.) CNN reported on the students’ discovery with a piece that describes the act of calculating an average by saying, “data was applied to a mathematical equation.”
Mr. Anderson’s class did important work. But as we were snacking on America’s favorite sandwich cookie on a recent afternoon, we decided that, in The A.V. Club’s role as a leading science communicator, we wanted to create an easy-to-understand visual representation of Oreo creme proportions. The idea: For each “Stuf” level—regular, Double, and Mega—we’d extract the creme patties from 10 Oreos, carefully stack them up, and reinsert them between two chocolate wafers. This would give us a real-life bar chart approximating the relative amount of creme in each Oreo variety. Thus the quest to create the Mega Mega Stuf Oreo was born.
For supplies, A.V. Club editor-in-chief Josh Modell and I went around the corner to the local Wal-Mart Express to pick up a pack each of Oreos, Double Stuf Oreos, and Mega Stuf Oreos for comparison. We also decided to get Mini Oreos because hey, why not. (I would later regret this impulse buy.)
In the cookie aisle, a nearby Wal-Mart associate offered some unsolicited guidance. As she reviewed the merits of each Oreo variety—Chocolate Oreos are just okay, Golden Oreos are better than you might think, Lemon Oreos are weird—we didn’t have the heart, nor the opportunity, to stop her. The sandwich-cookie aficionado concluded by strongly recommending Birthday Cake Oreos. She was the most helpful Wal-Mart employee we’d ever encountered. We did not purchase Birthday Cake Oreos.
We first photographed each cookie in its unadulterated form to get a baseline look at the spread. Oddly, the chocolate wafers of the Double Stufs were paler than the other varieties. Their flavor wasn’t discernibly different, but when we were finished, we also noticed that the Double Stufs were the only cookies that didn’t leave grease stains on the paper. Is Nabisco secretly making Double Stuf Oreos healthier? For shame.
Then it was time to construct our cookie bar chart, which meant slicing the creme layer out of, all told, 40 goddamn Oreos. After some false starts, we settled on a mostly reliable technique: We’d twist off one wafer and then slide a knife under the creme to extract it from the other wafer. Still, this process was more of a pain than we had imagined. The creme would bunch up on the knife or split, forcing us to start over.
But the creme consistency depended on the Oreo, which came as a surprise to us. The Double Stufs distinguished themselves once again here: Their creme layers tended to fall out in a tidy patty, which made them agreeable subjects for our research. The Mega Stufs were also pretty manageable. At the other end of the spectrum, the Mini Oreos were a goddamn nightmare, the tiny wafers jealously maintaining their grasp on their minuscule plops of creme. The original Oreos, meanwhile, had the most floppy and pliable creme.
I was assigned the Mini stack, and before long, my hands were a nauseating mess of chocolate crumbs and imitation lard—who would have known tiny cookies could wreak so much havoc? I wanted to give up and abandon the Minis, but Josh told me to stop whining and finish the job (probably because he got to do the Double Stufs). So I did, but I was really half-assed about it, and I’m proud of that.
All the hard work was worth it to produce this majestic representation of Oreos’ relative Stuf amounts. (It should not be noted that because the diameter of Stuf differs from one variety to another, this comparison is useless.) Aside from the pathetic wreckage of the Mini tower, we were pleased with our handiwork, and we scientifically measured the height of each creme stack. The results:
Mega Mini: 0.875 inches
Mega Original: 28.6 millimeters
Mega Double Stuf: 0.121 cubits
Mega Mega Stuf: 767 million angstroms
This whole enterprise became an elaborate excuse to make somebody eat the Mega Mega Stuf Oreo. That somebody turned out to be A.V. Club Digital Manager David Anthony, with an assist from ClickHole Digital Producer Dan Davis. (ClickHole Associate Editor Jamie Brew took a bite of the less vile but still formidable Mega Double Stuf.)
In conclusion, this was a dumb thing we did.