First, it’s important to note that milk with cookies is a uniquely American tradition. While other countries around the world may well have made themselves famous for this type of cookie or that one, very few of them actually enjoy milk and cookies together. In fact, most other countries look upon milk as a drink for children. Few countries outside the US even use milk in their coffee except in the morning, so a tall glass of milk with those cookies would be out of the question in many different areas of the world.
That fact, though, does little to answer the question of why milk and cookies just seem to go so well together. Perhaps it’s because milk was used as a primary ingredient in many of the earliest cookie recipes. As early as the 1600s, milk was listed in many different cookie recipes. If it was available for baking, maybe it was just as available for drinking once the cookies were prepared.
This perfect combination could also rest within science, though. Cookies, by their very nature, are full of delicious richness few other foods can match. From the butter that’s often involved in the very beginning to the add-ins like chocolate chips, cocoa powder, nuts, and more, you get a delicious picture at the end that needs a bit of balance. Enter milk. With a clean, cool, neutral taste, it pairs well with the food, the way a good wine does with that ideal meal. It just makes sense the two would fit well together and become the combination so many know and love today.
It’s also possible, though, that a marketing campaign is at the root of the love for cookies and milk. Known recently as “Milk’s Favorite Cookie,” the humble Oreo has been working for years to build on the milk and cookies connection, and the numbers that stand behind it even today are humbling. Initially developed in 1912, even today, this brand is a best seller.
In fact, statistics indicate it’s the bestselling cookie in the world, and half of all US households have purchased a package of them in the last two years. Some even use them as edible cookie favors for parties and events, or for cookie gifts for loved ones. The options are endless, and the taste always delicious.
This is one cookie you can buy all over the world, and the brand loyalty is only getting stronger thanks to the marketing machine. With places to share a moment with milk and these cookies on site as well as commercials that continue to feature milk as much as they do the Oreos themselves, it’s one connection that is reinforced again and again.
While it will likely never be clear exactly who poured the first glass of milk and handed it to a child or an adult eating cookies, it’s a connection that’s not easy to shake. It’s also one that will probably remain well-forged in the years to come.