Oreos are milk’s favorite, and as the world’s top-selling cookie (via Mondelēz International), they’re ours too. Whether you prefer the Thins, Double Stuf, or original, everyone has found themselves, at one point or another, attempting to perfectly split, lick, and dunk their way through their neat rows, one by one. Food scientists have long been using sensory studies to determine what makes the cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies so irresistible. As Popular Mechanics explains, each element of an Oreo cookie — from the cream and crunch to the smell and texture are scientifically delicious and satisfying. But it also turns out that Oreos have just as much to teach us about ourselves.
Food scientists have spent years developing research-backed explanations for the world’s undying love for Oreos. One 2016 study in the journal Chemical Senses showed that the cookie’s classic combination of vanilla and chocolate is congruent, meaning that they come together in a way that satisfies our senses. Another 1993 study published in the National Library of Medicine suggests that the Oreo’s creamy filling, sandwiched between two crispy chocolate cookies, creates something called “dynamic contrast” — a characteristic that all of the tastiest foods share. However, we all know that those textures are completely dependent on the way you choose to eat your Oreo. In fact, the freedom of ritual Oreos allow is part of why they’re so popular.
What type of eater are you?
According to Popular Mechanics, there are four different categories of eaters out there: crunchers, chewers, smooshers, and suckers. Which category you belong to depends on your “mouth behavior type,” or the way you manipulate food when it’s inside of your mouth. Because Oreos are consumed in so many do-it-yourself ways, these cookies can quickly reveal your category.
For instance, if you’re someone who likes to eat an Oreo as is — no milk or twisting involved, you just bite straight in — chances are you’re a cruncher. However, if you prefer to dunk an Oreo and let it soak in a glass of milk before you take a bite, you’re most likely a part of the chewer category. People that are in the smooshers group will use their tongues to literally “smoosh” the cookie inside of their mouth, while suckers like to let it dissolve on their tongues.
However, nostalgia plays a big role too, says Popular Mechanics. Like Proust’s madeleines, Oreos can transport you to a young, carefree time in your life, so however you ate Oreos as a child is likely the way you enjoy them today. Whether you’re a cruncher or a chewer, a smoosher, or a sucker, there’s no wrong way to eat an Oreo cookie.