My Oreo manifesto, part 3

What? You think my reductio technique is sloppy?

You object to my introduction of the Triple-Double when it wasn’t stated in the set up of the proof? You think that chocolate filling is the problem and so you question my results?

You have a point on that first count. But the second count? Come on! Seriously?!? The calorie count of a chocolate filling is gonna be substantially different from that of a vanilla filling? Please.

Go check the Nutrition Facts on Vanilla Oreos, and then we’ll talk.

While you’re driving to the grocery store (or walking to your pantry), here’s some more data.

I weighed 10 of each kind of cookie.

  • 10 regular Oreos weighed 113 grams
  • 10 Double Stuf Oreos weighed 145 grams
  • 10 Triple-Double Oreos weighed 210 grams

I solved the regular/Triple-Double system and concluded that each wafer weighs about 1.7 grams and each unit of stuf is about 8 grams.

Using my new assumption-that Double Stuf is not double stuff and a side calculation (complicated, but interesting) which suggests that Double Stuf is really 1 \frac{5}{12} stuff, the solution to the regular/Triple-Double system is consistent with the solution to the regular/Double Stuf system.

And that means the Oreo below is not a duoseptuagenuple stuf Oreo, Doc Blades’ claim notwithstanding. Nope, that bad boy isn’t any better than unopentuagenuple.

Man do I wish I had taken this photograph!

UPDATE: I corrected “vanilla filling” to “chocolate filling” in paragraph 3. Also, further objections (beyond those noted above) have been raised in the Twitterverse. I’ll update these in a new post shortly.

Meantime, y’all know how to comment on a blog, right?

7 responses to “My Oreo manifesto, part 3

  1. This is proof that math is delicious and fun…deliciously fun! I’ll be ripping into a bag of Oreos by this afternoon (Double Stuff, by the way, are qualitatively twice as good)!

  2. And for the Double Stufs:

    18w + 9d = 5 3/16
    18 * 3/16 + 9d = 83/16
    54/16 + 9d = 83/16
    9d = 29/16
    d = 29/144 — approximately 0.20 inches


    Al Sicherman
    (Oops: thought I could e-mail you, rather than comment. Lemme know how to send you those photos)
    (And only now I see there’s a third entry. Damn.)

  3. Damn. My comment was LOTS longer. And dumber. How can I send you the whole stupid thing?

  4. Yow. You’d think I’d never seen the internet.
    Anyway, here’s my whole stupid comment, minus pictures.
    Hi, Christopher:
    First, thanks for the very kind words. The new-groceries beat is full of examples of one kind of stupidity or another, but the Oreo is the easiest and silliest target I have been lucky enough to glom onto.
    More than a year ago I started to take on the matter of how much of what (cookie/filling) were provided in the various versions of Oreos then available (original, double stuf, chocolate, double chocolate stuf, mint, etc.). But it was going to get rather intensely numerical, and my editor believes (correctly, I’m afraid) that most readers drop out by the second appearance of a calculation — which is when I’m just warming up. (I used to be an electrical engineer.)
    I wasn’t aware of your blog until you let the Taste section folks know about it, and I admire your willingness to stand up and be seen with a figurative slide rule in your hand.
    All that said, I’m afraid I have to disagree with your conclusion about the Double Stuf Oreo. As you noted, having reached a contradiction means that something in your original formulations was wrong, but it wasn’t necessarily your assumption that double stuf is truly double. You also assumed that the chocolate and vanilla stufs in the Triple Double are the same, which they probably aren’t (two Chocolate Double Stuf Oreos are 150 calories, not the 140 of the vanilla Double Stuf). It could also be the assumption that the wafers are all the same (they may not be; see below). Or it could be any two or all three of those assumptions. Or something else neither of us has thought of; the world is unfortunately full of unrecognized assumptions.
    About the wafers: A comparatively simple exercise (less simple but far more stupid exercises follow) demonstrates that, at least, they are different in diameter: Attached photo No. 1 shows a row of 10 original Oreos and one of 10 Double Stuf Oreos edge-to-edge. The top row (the Doubles) is a good 1/2 inch longer than the row of original Oreos. Another measure — stacking a whole bunch of wafers devoid of their glop — appears to indicate that all are the same thickness -– eight of either kind measure about 1 1/2 inches, for a thickness of 3/16 inch per wafer. But nothing says that they are the same density. And in fact, the closeup shot, not flash-lit (photo No. 2), reveals that the Double Stuf cookies are slightly lighter in color, a possible indicator of less density from more air –- or maybe from less cocoa.
    So I took apart and weighed a whole bunch of original and Double Stuf Oreos and their components. (There is almost no depth to which I will not descend in pursuit of my art.)
    This is where, in a perfect world, I (or my dashing — and much younger — alter ego, Mr. Tidbit) would provide a collection of stunningly dramatic (or at least consistent) numbers: weights of wafers, single fillings and double fillings. Unfortunately, even weighing a bunch of each item together failed to overcome many problems: the amount of filling I left behind on scraped-off wafers, the amount of wafer crumbs that got weighed with the filling, the horrible performance of my cheap digital scale (which repeatedly produced different readings when reweighing the same stuff), and the distinct, but untested, possibility that (gasp!) there might be some variability between batches of Oreos.
    As close as I came, anyway, surrounded by the litter of broken Oreo wafers and little piles of Oreo glop (see photo No. 3), was to conclude that it is quite possible that Double Stuf Oreos indeed contain twice the stuf.
    My best evidence of that follows not from all that pointless weighing but from noting that a stack of nine Double Stufs is approximately the same height as 11 originals: about 5 3/16 inches.
    (I found it impossible to measure the height of stuf directly, partly because it often varies considerably across the width of the cookie, and partly because my every attempt to separate a number of stufs intact from cookies, in order to stack up such a number of stufs, was a total failure.)
    The following discussion ignores the possibility that the diameters of the double filing and the original filling might be different, so even if the height of a Double Stuf filling is twice that of an original filling there might be a difference in the total amount of glop involved. I ignored that possibility because I didn’t think of it until just now –- and it’s too late to measure because, to the dismay of my dog, I have pitched all the bits of cookie and filling, and one package of each kind of cookie is as much as I care to invest in this enterprise.
    11 originals = 9 Double Stufs = 5 3/16 inches
    22w + 11f = 18w + 9d = 5 3/16
    where w is the height of a single wafer of either sort (3/16 inch, as noted above), f is the height of the filling of an original Oreo and d is the height of a Double Stuf filling
    For the originals,
    22w + 11f = 5 3/16
    22 * 3/16 + 11f = 83/16
    66/16 + 11f = 83/16
    11f = 17/16
    f = 17/176 — approximately 0.10 inches

    And for the Double Stufs:
    18w + 9d = 5 3/16
    18 * 3/16 + 9d = 83/16
    54/16 + 9d = 83/16
    9d = 29/16
    d = 29/144 — approximately 0.20 inches

    Al Sicherman

  5. That last picture is the clincher, what Dan Meyer calls the “Sequel” or what I call the “What if…?” question. I’d love to spend a day doing everything you did with Oreos (and/or other snacks) and then throwing that Super Stuf picture on the board. If I’ve done my job well, all I have to do then is say, “Go!”.

  6. Pingback: Oreo: Original vs. Double vs. Mega » A Recursive Process

  7. Pingback: Oreo Cookie Math – Double Stuff Steals the Show | I Speak Math

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