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Cooling Cookie War Is No Snap

September 26, 1989|ELISE T. CHISOLM | The Baltimore Evening Sun

I love a little espionage, cloak and dagger stuff. From "The Avengers" to James Bond movies, there's nothing more fun than spy talk.

With all the Soviet openness of glasnost and the Iron Curtain melting away, we are going to miss the derring-do between the KGB and the CIA, aren't we?

But hold on, there's espionage afoot in the form of cookie monsters and cookie wars. And this may keep all of us who love thrillers chewing the fat for months. Unlike the Cold War, the cookie war is hot, hot, hot.

Good. I love food confrontation. It will only make food better. And there won't be any nuclear warheads used in cookie skirmishes, only dough fights.

Maybe you read about it: Duncan Hines, whose parent company is Procter & Gamble, has won a victory over three rival companies in the battle over the crispy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside cookie war--a $125-million settlement from Nabisco, Keebler and Frito-Lay.

Rumor of a Factory Flyover

Duncan Hines claims that other cookie makers went to illegal lengths to get the Duncan Hines secret cookie recipe. And listen to this: They claim that in one case a rival hired a plane to fly over a cookie factory construction site to glean details of manufacturing techniques, and another rival sent spies to snatch a sample of the secret dough.

However, others have said that Duncan Hines may have won that case but it has not won the cookie war--it's still on, apparently.

Yep, I can vouch for that, at least in terms of taste.

To show you the ambiguity of cookie tastes, several years ago I was a taster in a local chocolate chip cookie contest. Cookie entries were from housewives and local gourmets, among others, and guess who won? Giant Food's bakery.

Great Grandma would be turning over in her grave (along with her cookie recipe supreme that has been handed down since her family landed in Plymouth) if she found out a grocery chain beat her out.

Anyway, I've always wanted to be a spy. I wouldn't mind in retirement being in a detective agency that does this kind of work. I would go to work for Cookie Busters. My code name would be Oreo, and I would get to ride around in helicopters with men who looked like Sean Connery or Timothy Dalton, thank you.

The other side of the food flap could mean added security for Julia Childs and her unpublished recipes and even companies like Coca-Cola--Coke does not disclose its formula, remember?

And will sweet Anna Plumtree, my neighbor, have to put in a burglar alarm system when she makes her annual nutty-buddy brownies for the church bazaar?

Duncan Hines has started the ball rolling, or the cooking crumbling, that's for sure.

But better to send in the flour, the dough and the butter than the Tridents and AK-47s.

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