When I was growing up in the 1950s, you were either a Yankees fan or a Dodgers fan. Your parents drove either a Chevy or a Ford. You preferred either Roy Rogers or Gene Autry. You liked either Elvis or …well, you liked Elvis.
Most importantly, though, you were either an Oreos family or a Hydrox family, and you could tell a lot about families by which they were. The Oreo families were, or so my anthropological investigations in a small midwestern town suggested, waspy types — Episcopal church-going, country club-belonging, Republican-voting pillars of the community who preferred Oreos because, after all, that’s what was appropriate for people like them to prefer.
We were a Hydrox family, about which I harbored mixed feelings throughout my youth. On the one hand, Hydrox simply tasted better than Oreos, and that was a very good thing. (We didn’t know then that Oreos contained pork lard; that should have bothered my family, though I’m not sure that it would have.) But being part of a Hydrox family put one under a social cloud — it was another badge, as if more were needed, that one really didn’t “belong” among all those Episcopal church-going, country club-belonging, Republican-voting pillars of the community.
All of the foregoing is by way of context for my response today after reading here that the Hydrox cookie is no more. In fact, it turns out that it hasn’t been with us for some time now — since 2003, to be exact, except in mashed-up form in some packaged ice creams. Close to half a century has passed since I bit into a Hydrox after dunking it in a glass of milk (as noted in the Wall Street Journal article, one thing Hydroxes had in their favor, besides tasting better than Oreos, was that they held up much better than Oreos when dunked). And even though I hadn’t even thought about Hydroxes for decades, I note with melancholy the passing of yet another American icon from an earlier era.