Nabisco manufactures the best mass-produced chocolate chip cookies on the market in their Chips Ahoy! brand cookies. (Bakeries still make better cookies but they're not mass-produced). And they've gone to great lengths to market them to you, with such slogans as "Betcha bite a chip!" and "1,000 chips delicious!", which emphasized the sheer enormous quantity of chocolate chips in every bag.

Lately, however, they seem to have changed their strategy away from bragging about how many chocolate chips they have, over to how fresh they can keep their cookies. Back in the 80s, I recall the standard Chips Ahoy! package holding two rows of cookies standing on edge in a plastic tray (I count two rows of 21 cookies each, for a total of 42). This worked all right but the cookies tended to lose their crispness if you kept them around too long, especially in high humidity conditions. Most other brands of cookies are still packaged like this.

Later on, they put the cookies in plastic sleeves in the tray. This packaging then evolved with a clever innovation, sleeves that were designed to crinkle up nicely when you twisted them closed again, so they formed a fairly decent seal against the surrounding environment which sought to rob them of their factory-engineered freshness. They actually did a pretty good job of it, too, although it didn't form anything like a hermetic seal, they stayed closed when you twisted them.

Nabisco's most recent innovation does away with the plastic sleeves entirely, going back to two rows of unprotected cookies in the package. Their strategy has changed: rather than add additional layers of protection inside the outer package, they've improved the outer package itself.

Yes, now the outer package itself, called Snack 'n Seal, is resealable. It's also easier to open. No longer do you have to peel open the heat-shrunk heat-shrank heat-shrinking sealed end of the package, it has a convenient tab that peels the top of the package right open, exposing the sugary innards. As the top flap peels up, it exposes about an inch of overlapping foil, the top part of which has a light adhesive backing that sticks to the bottom foil overlap but releases easily.

The end result is a complete seal around the entire pull-away flap that keeps the cookies inside absolutely secure against the harsh environment of your pantry for the entire three or four days it takes the average American to shove them all in his face. But this raises the question, if the outer packaging is resealable, how do we know if it's been tampered with?

Not to worry, my paranoid friend, for you see the peel-away top has a tamper-evident seal built-in so you can snack without fear of anyone else having been inside the package before you. A small red tag with the word SEALED printed on it lies directly on top of one of two strips of foil permanently attached between the flap and the rest of the package. To peel back the flap, you have to break these two strips, which destroys the SEALED tag, letting you know that it has been opened. Report such infractions to grocery store security at once!

I should probably mention that Chips Ahoy! also comes in chocolate chunk, soft-baked, and like two or three other varieties, but I don't really care about that because they're not as good as the original variety.

          Serving size: 3 cookies (33g)
Servings per container: about 13
(this works out to 39 but I count 42)
           Calories: 160
  Calories from Fat:  70
          Total Fat:   8g
        Cholesterol:   0g
             Sodium: 110mg
          Potassium:  45mg
Total Carbohydrates:  22g
            Protein:   2g
               Iron:   4% RDA

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