Honolulu Lite

Charles Memminger

Nutritional thrill seekers
go for the gusto and cookies

Oreos kill. Or is it macadamia nut/chocolate chip cookies that kill? Or is it the deadly macaroon we need to be wary of? Just to be on the safe side, let's just say that, in general, cookies kill.

But we know that, don't we? Has anyone ever confused a peanut butter cookie with spinach?

I was contemplating the lethality of cookies while attempting suicide the other day over a box of Keebler Golden Vanilla Wafers and a glass of low-fat milk. In previous weeks I had survived a couple of boxes of cookies we bought from some underworld cookie hit-person. Actually, they were Girl Scouts selling the fatal flat cakes outside of Safeway. These girls have nerves of steel, hawking their little heart stoppers right in broad daylight. I suspect they go to a Li'l Cookie Assassins School run by Wally "Famous" Amos or Mrs. Fields, two of the country's most infamous and feared purveyors of perilous pastries.

So I'm loadin' another vanilla wafer into the chamber (dunking it in the milk) and feeling that adrenaline rush that comes from dancing with death. I'm like Stevie in that movie "The Deer Hunter," playing Russian roulette with the Viet Cong, except I don't have anyone slapping the side of my head yelling "Mau! Mau! Mau!" I do have my dog Boomer intently watching me, either amazed that I can face peril with such coolness or hoping I'll drop half the vanilla wafer on the floor.

Oreos apparently are the most fatal of all cookies. It must be that "full chocolate jacket." Or maybe it's the artery-piercing filling. In any case, some guy actually sued the makers of Oreos a week ago, claiming that the cookies contain trans fats and hydrogenated oils.

While the natural fat in most cookies is what makes them dangerous, some cookies have fake fats, called trans fats or hydrogenated oils, that are even worse. These fake fats have all of the fatal properties of real fat with none of the nutrition. While your doctor might not sign off on you ingesting several sticks of pure creamery butter, at least you'd be getting some vitamins and minerals if you did.

TRANS FATS CLOG arteries, jam up your liver, play handball in your spleen and throw surprise parties in your colon. They also keep creamy things creamy for months and months on store shelves, which is why they are so popular with manufacturers of cookies, peanut butter, margarine and just about everything else in the supermarket that isn't spinach.

One anti-fat fanatic on TV the other day said the only way to avoid fake fats is to eat only what's sold around the perimeters of supermarkets. That means frozen foods, fresh meats, seafood and vegetables. My supermarket has started displaying patio furniture along one side. Those wooden chairs may be good for me, but, dang, they look hard to digest.

The cookies, of course, are smack in the middle of the supermarket. Cookies, chips, dips and frozen pizzas all taunt consumers from that chilling heart of darkness. And, God help us, we can't fight their gravitational pull.

We could extend our lives by making our own cookies with honest flour, real butter and true milk. But does anyone really have that much will to live?

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail


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