Ben's Cookies

Day 1: Ben’s Cookies

As May approached its close, I realised that, once again, it was time for Not a Day Without an Adventure — time for daring (and not so much) seasonal endeavours. Between June 1st and August 31st every day is meant to bring something new. That is the Rule I made up several years ago, and so it shall be. (And so it was.)

I had a number of ideas for the first adventure of this summer, but it turns out that unicorns are scarce in Oxfordshire and seeing the sun rise is not a project easily approached on a weekday. After a bit of research, a lot of humming, and a short walk, I ended up approaching a topic no less magical than horned horses: Ben’s Cookies.

Reader, do you know of Ben’s Cookies? Have you ever tried one? If the answer is yes, then you are lying because it is impossible to stop at just one cookie. They are so fresh, chunky, delicious, and mouth-watering that the product’s popularity is only natural.

There are now thirty-six stores in the Ben’s Cookies chain, some located as far as New York, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi, but the original shop is in Oxford. It is here that in 1983 Helge Rubenstein started her company and named it after her son Ben, who inherited his mother’s sweet tooth. It is a drawing of Ben by Quentin Blake that has become the symbol of Rubenstein’s business. The original stall at the Covered Market has been operating for over thirty years now, and it is there that I headed.

Err... I Want a...
ERR… I WANT A…. MARCH 15, 2009. NATALIE ANN / FLICKR

This picture was taken in 2009, but the stall at the Covered Market looks just the same in 2017. Notice the rows of red tins on the shelves at the back!

Having lived in Oxford for some years now, I — of course — had Ben’s Cookies before, but today I went for something different. Something that you often see in local homes, and then you feel pangs of envy, because you still do not have one. I went for the large tin.

The large tin of Ben’s Cookies is red, round, and deep. It bears the company’s logo on the lid and contains eight freshly-baked cookies. Having had a thorough look at all the options available (Sam helped), I picked up the following flavours: Peanut Butter (2 cookies), White Chocolate Chunk (2), Ginger & Dark Chocolate (1 cookie), Double Chocolate & Nuts (1), Oatmeal & Raisin (1), and Double Chocolate (1). Gluttony, ooh yeah.

Then we got the best milk available for ready money, poured it into glasses, called Steve for support, and watched Guardians of the Galaxy avec Ben’s Cookies and milk, nested on the sofa. The oatmeal cookie proved to be interesting and ginger in chunks is not something I enjoy, but otherwise everything was familiar and deeply satisfying: the snacks, the film, the company.

Day 1 of summer adventures is officially declared a success.


Current album: Loyle Carner, Yesterday’s Gone
Current book: Zadie Smith, Swing Time
Current TV series: Twin Peaks, Series 1 (1990)

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