RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Mallomars are turning 100 years old this month. Over the years, the chocolatey marshmallow cookies have gathered a cult-like following. So, the seasonal nature of these treats can prove to be a problem for some. For those listening who have yet discovered Mallomars, take heed: you may soon have a new addiction. Here's WEEKEND EDITION's food commentator Bonny Wolf with a tribute to the Mallomar.
BONNY WOLF, BYLINE: It's Mallomar season. Which may seem strange since Mallomars are commercially packaged cookies, not apples. But the round graham crackers topped with marshmallow and covered in dark chocolate are seasonal packaged cookies. Mallomars are only shipped during cool months so the chocolate won't melt. This may have made sense in 1913 when Nabisco sold the first Mallomars to a grocer in Hoboken, New Jersey. But now we have refrigerated trucks. A brand spokesman says the cookies still are only sold September through March to maintain tradition. Pretty good marketing too. Unlike your everyday Chips Ahoy, Mallomars have a mystique, a cultish following. It's what the company calls a nostalgic brand. In spring and summer, the only place to find Mallomars is in someone's freezer, probably in the Northeast where 95 percent of Mallomars are sold.
As part of the centenary celebration, there's a Facebook page for Mallo memories. People write wistfully about gift-wrapped Mallomars for Christmas. One woman says her husband wrapped her engagement ring in a box full of Mallomars. Many memories are about hoarding. People buy as many boxes as they can freeze, then carefully parcel them out during the off-season. There also are a lot of stories about hiding cookies and stealing them from loved ones - even mothers from children. One man wrote: I just hide in the closet and eat them. There are memories of a mother buying two boxes at a time - one for the family and one for her secret stash. And a grandfather who hid them in the unused wood-burning stove. What people don't do with Mallomars is share. Tony Soprano scares the cookies out of Paulie by threatening him for stealing his box of Mallomars.
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JAMES GANDOLFINI: (as Tony Soprano) Box of Mallomars on the counter, (bleep) empty. You think I don't know it was you?
WOLF: Time is short, so get yours now. As one woman writes on the cookie's Facebook page: Who says it's football season? Nope. It's Mallomar season, baby.
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MARTIN: Bonny Wolf is managing editor of AmericanFoodRoots.com and editor of NPR's Kitchen Window.
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MARTIN: This is NPR News.
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