How does it feel to eat a cookie you’ve been saving for nine months?
When I was first introduced to the Mallomar, I made a point of buying ten boxes of these ageless treats, knowing and accepting full well that I would consume the entire stockpile. In defiance of my better instincts, I decided to relegate one box to the bottom of my bookshelf, directly next my stockpile of out-of-state beer, to remain undisturbed until the final day of summer.
That day was September 22, 2008. The reason I had waited this long to open up my last box of Mallomars, aside from wanting to understand what it might be like for a cannibal to give birth, was to disprove the marketing-driven myth that it is impossible for Nabisco to make its most beloved cookie a year round staple for the American public (we’ve long been told told that the shipment of Mallomars during the warmer half of the year would prove to be too much for their pure chocolate coats to handle, thereby resulting in a delicious but messy defeat for consumers). Halfway through the summer season, I realized that while the San Gabriel Valley sun was surely a much fiercer foe than its mild Bay Area counterpart, it certainly didn’t pose the same threat as the Big Apple roaster of metropolitan New York. As long as I kept my Mallomars indoors and out of direct sunshine, they would last as long as I could keep my mouth shut.
Still, I refrained from opening that box, mostly out of fear of what I’d do without it sitting five feet from my bed. To do so would be like opening up an earthquake preparedness kit and drinking four quarts of emergency water from it while firing signal flares out my bedroom window. For the record: I don’t have an earthquake preparedness kit, and if I did, I wouldn’t waste any time doing just that, especially if six month old Fruit Rollups and beef jerky were next in line. Nevertheless, this was the only box of Mallomars within my grasp until the month of October, and I wasn’t about to throw it away on the gamble that the world wouldn’t wait until then to find some excuse to break my heart. I waited dutifully for the last day of summer to arrive, and unearthed my treasure in the company of friends.
The Oreo may be Nabisco’s essential contribution to civilization, but the Mallomar is its crowning gem. The concept of an inverted s’more is simple enough; it’s the Mallomar’s loving attention to detail that draws the line between simplicity and elegance. The cookie itself fits on a fifty cent piece, encouraging its beholder to eat the entire confection in one glorious bite while leaving less aggressive options open for the more bashful among us. The ratio of not-quite-fluffy, not-quite-gooey, not-quite-chewy marshmallow filling to crumbly graham cracker biscuit is perfectly balanced no matter how much is consumed in each bite. Pure milk chocolate, mixed a shade darker than most cookies would dare, cloaks the cookie in an air of decadence normally reserved for the candy shop and elevates its mélange of flavors and textures to the cult status it has so earnestly achieved.
Like a fine bottle of wine, a box of Mallomars is meant to be consumed entirely upon opening. It’s impossible to break this rule. The swirling perfection of one Mallomar disintegrates just as soon as it can be recognized, turning desire and satisfaction into one delectable sensation. By the time you’ve finished one, you’ve finished the entire box— it’s the kind of feeling one can wait nine months to unravel, but can’t wait nine minutes to savor.