The Cookie Monster's Cookies Aren't What You Think

Who could ever forget our whimsical neighbors down at 123 Sesame Street? The chipper Elmo, the numbers-obsessed Count, the odd couple friends Bert and Ernie, the lovable Grover (and the heroic, completely unrelated Super Grover), the gentle Big Bird, and of course, the cookie-crazed creature known simply as Cookie Monster. For over 50 years, the Sesame Workshop has spread the magic of learning, community, and other valuable life lessons to generations young and old. With 11 Daytime Emmys under their belt in 2020 alone (via Sesame Workshop), it's safe to say that our pals on Sesame Street are still loved by kids and adults all over. Designed by Muppet creator Jim Henson, the furry friends on Sesame Street have more than a few tricks up their sleeves that have made them endearing and beloved for decades. 

The behind-the-scenes sorcery that takes place along that colorful urban street involves plenty of methodical choreography and close cooperation with one's puppeteer co-workers to ensure filming goes smoothly, per Reader's Digest. But there is one minor detail that could change how you look at a particularly cherished Sesame Street character, for better or worse. You see, those delicious-looking chocolate chip cookies that Cookie Monster snacks on aren't real cookies at all. In fact, they're an entirely different food altogether.

Cookie Monster's cookies were rice cakes

Although one would assume Cookie Monster would obviously eat cookies, you might be surprised to discover that those big round cookies he happily piles into his mouth are actually painted rice cakes decorated to resemble cookies. While you may see it as uniquely cruel to give rice cakes disguised as cookies to everyone's favorite friendly, googly-eyed Muppet — according to a tweet by the monster himself, he's apparently not a fan — there's actually a very good reason Cookie Monster can't have any real cookies.

According to David Borgenicht's "Sesame Street Unpaved" (via The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book), the reason Cookie Monster can't have any cookies is two-fold. The chocolate and oil in normal cookies would turn the fabric of the Muppets greasy, and we assume that it's no picnic scrubbing melted chocolate and crumbs from the fur of a Muppet to begin with. The secondary reason for the lightweight "cookies" is that, thanks to Cookie Monster's design, the "rice cookies" pass through the space of Cookie Monster's mouth and land harmlessly on the head of his puppeteer, preventing some messy bloopers.

While it's true that Cookie Monster may not be able to enjoy cookies in real life, his eagerness to spread the word of cookies inspires all of us to enjoy cookies with friends, family, and our community. And on Sesame Street, sharing even fake cookies with those we care about is just as sweet as the real thing.