Is This The Only Reason Black And White Cookies Are So Popular In New York?

It sounds like the debate that raged in the 1980s in all those Miller Lite commercials: Is the beer good because it tastes great or because it's less filling? The same dilemma is posed by the most iconic of New York pastries: the black and white cookie. Upstate New York has something similar they call a "half moon" cookie. Either way, it's half chocolate icing, half vanilla (via Eater New York). But what makes them so beloved? Do they taste great, or is it because they invoke so much nostalgia? Just like in all those beer commercials, the answers are mixed.

WYNC started a conversation on social media about black and white cookies, taste, and nostalgia in 2018, when Glaser's Bake Shop in New York closed after 116 years. The history of the black and white cookie in New York, as told by Eater New York, might date back to 1902, when Glaser's first opened. 

Twitter user D. Frutkoff joined the discussion. "I eat black & white cookies for nostalgia because, search as I do, they never taste as good as they used to. And as they should," he tweeted. Frutkoff could also be counted on to describe what makes a good black and white cookie: "A dense cake-like cookie. But not too dense. ... Then, *both* frostings have to be good, and neither gummy nor overly stiff. The vanilla can have a citrus note to balance the chocolate. So — like my mother made."

Are black and white cookies beloved because of Seinfeld?

While some Twitter users clearly landed on the nostalgia side of the black and white cookie conversation, others said, "Tastes great!" Kelly Verel tweeted, "I love black & white cookies so much we gave them to our guests as a wedding favor."

Just as some people don't like light beer for any reason, there was a group in the black and white cookie debate who didn't have anything good to say. "I associate neither nostalgia nor taste with the black and white cookie. Unless 'meh' is a taste," Jim Schachter tweeted.

Several people on Twitter gave neither a nod to nostalgia or taste, but to Seinfeld. Jerry Seinfeld did a bit about the black and white cookie in the episode "The Dinner Party" (via The New York Times). WYNC even called the black and white cookie scene in Seinfeld a "peak New York" moment. Seinfeld riffs on how too eat the cookie: Get a little black and a little white in each bite. 

He also refers to the cookie as "two races of flavor living side by side in harmony." He goes on, "If people would only look to the cookie, all of our problems would be solved" — or look to the piano keyboard, as Paul McCartney wrote (via Level). Seinfeld's "Ebony and Ivory" view of race relations sounds more than a little dated now. In the era of Black Lives Matter, nostalgia might lead you astray (via Patheos).