From Time Magazine:
Heaven just got a little more stuff. Sam J. Porcello, the food scientist credited with inventing the Oreo cookie’s creamy, pasty, stick-together filling, died last week at age 76. He had been employed at Nabisco for 34 years and through his work made life a little sweeter for everyone.
Porcello’s official designation at Nabisco, the parent company of Oreo, was “principal scientist” — a far cry from the Willy Wonka vision that comes to mind when you discover the man was also known by the much more delicious sounding moniker of Mr. Oreo. Porcello was one of the world’s foremost experts on cocoa, the raw material of chocolate, and the go-to guy for all Oreo related matters at Nabisco. “My father was proud of what he did,” says Curtis Porcello, one of his two sons told the New York Daily News. “He’d come home and tell us all what he was working on.” During his tenure at Nabisco, Porcello created not only the “stuf” in the Double Stuf Oreos, but he also developed the chocolate-covered and the white chocolate-covered Oreo. In fact, Porcello held five patents relating to Oreos. We can only hope that they are all printed on chocolate and written in vanilla icing.
While the classic Oreo just turned 100 years old, the cookie has spawned an entire family tree of Oreo products that are a far cry from the traditional chocolate cookie sandwich with vanilla filling. There’s the creme filled Oreo brownie bar, a seasonal red creme filled cookie, Oreo snack cakes, Oreo pie crust, and, of course, the Big Stuf Oreo, which was discontinued in 1991, that packed 316 calories into one cookie.
Over 450 billion Oreos have been sold worldwide since they hit the market in 1912, so you would think the cookies practically market themselves. However the company has embarked on several notable ad campaigns, including one featuring a breastfeeding baby holding an Oreo, that went viral despite the fact that it was never intended to be seen in public. Other ads recruited sports icons, including Shaquille O’Neal, Eli Manning, Venus Williams, and Apolo Ohno for Team DSRL (Double Stuf Racing League) to compete in head-to-head “lick races” to see who could twist an Oreo open, lick off the filling, dunk it in milk and then eat the cookie and drink the milk the fastest. The campaign was inspired by the fact that eating Oreos has always been a fun individual sport. However you eat an Oreo, be it by dunking, biting, or twisting and licking, none of this would have been possible without the contributions of Mr. Porcello.
Let’s all pour a little milk out and raise a cookie. Rest in peace, Mr. Oreo.