Oreos: Kids have been twisting them apart and getting at that sweet synthetic frosting for decades now.
But we've all experienced the anguish of ripping those two wafers apart and only getting the cream on the one side. In fact, it happens more often than not.
So, in that old spirit of scientific fearlessness, a group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided to figure out if it is ever possible to evenly divide the filling between the two halves of the Oreo.
This is their story.
In 2022, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) unveiled their cookie-centric findings in a study titled, "On Oreology, the fracture and flow of 'milk's favorite cookie.'" The research ... focused on if and how people could evenly split the creme inside an Oreo when twisting it open.
I myself would just like to point out that it's a really good sign if the researchers at one of the top scientific institutes in the world are taking on these kinds of questions. It can only mean that pretty much every bad thing on Earth has already been solved.
But I digress:
"I was personally motivated by a desire to solve a challenge that had puzzled me as a child: how to open an Oreo and get creme evenly arranged on both wafers?" Crystal Owens, one of three authors on the study, and Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at MIT, shared with Vice in 2022. "I preferred the taste of the cookies with the creme exposed. If I got a bite of wafer alone it was too dry for me, and if I dunked it in milk the wafer would fall apart too fast."
You can really tell this has been bothering Dr. Owens for a few decades. Like, she's really into it. And honestly, you can't really blame her. That one dry wafer really is kind of a drag. You got to have evenly dispersed filling to maximize your cookie enjoyment.
So our intrepid scientists set about developing what they christened "the Oreometer," a 3D-printed device meant to test, at full scientific rigor, the physics of Oreo cookie separation.
Yup, that is what the Oreometer does. That's all it does.
Sadly, in spite of all this effort, the results of the tests were a letdown for all Oreo-lovers everywhere, with the researchers finding that it's "actually almost impossible to have evenly distributed creme on both sides of an Oreo after twisting:"
"In essentially all possible twisting configurations, the creme tends to delaminate from one wafer, resulting in one nearly bare wafer and one with almost all the creme," Owens shared with Vice. "In the case that creme ends up on both wafers, it tends to divide in half so that each wafer has a 'half-moon' of creme rather than a thin layer, so there is no secret to get creme evenly everywhere just by twisting open — you have to mush it manually if that's what you want."
Yeah I'm not going to "mush it manually." I'm not that desperate. It's just a cookie.
So what's the reason behind this frustrating, dispiriting lack of equitable cookie creme distribution?
When making Oreos, the assembly process begins by putting down the first wafer, then dispensing a ball of creme before putting the second wafer on top. However, the split second the creme sits on a single wafer allows it to better adhere to one over the other.