Oy, I fell for the Neiman-Marcus story. Before you send anymore
"that's the oldest story on the net," which isn't that old you must admit, let
me express my apologies for wasting your time with a fabricated story. The cookie recipe
wasn't that good anyway. Apologies to Neiman Marcus, retail manufacturers, Famous Amos,
Mrs. Fields, Betty Crocker, Frankie Crocker, and to netizens everywhere.
Following is the vanguard of the mail I received on the cookie story. If
there are any more old saws out there that I should know about, please let me know. I'm
trying to limit my embarrassment to only once per week.
Letter No. 1
I must inform you that the Neiman-Marcus cookie story is a total urban
legend which has been around for a very long time. Don't feel bad, though. When I first
came across it I immediately sent it out to all of my e-mail buddies (this was when I
learned of its history).
Letter No. 2
It never fails to astonish me how otherwise rational people will believe
and perpetuate an obvious lie. I first heard the "N-M $250 Cookie Recipe" story
several years ago, and immediately called the public relations department at the local
Neiman-Marcus to find out about its origins. (It is, as you may or may not know,
impossible to copyright a recipe.) "Oh, that," the N-M PR woman said, and sent
me a form letter explaining that the story has been widely circulated but is not true,
that if you want their recipes they'll *give* them to you, and that this kind of tale goes
back to the 1920s, when it involved the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
This story is in the same vein as "The Procter & Gamble logo is a
satanist symbol" and "Liz Claiborne was on television saying she gives half her
profits to the Church of Satan." In other words, slander against a perfectly
Letter No. 3
The following story belongs in the archives of urban myths. It has been
floating around the internet for years, and before that by word of mouth. >
Letter No. 4
After growing so used to your stellar reporting and commentary, I was
surprised to find you recycling, apparently without your usual checking, the Neiman-Marcus
cookie story. This story has both been circulated a zillion times (I have now received it
from sources too numerous to count), and thoroughly debunked. Otherwise, pleased to see
both the Story and your Net writing continuing.
Very humbly yours, Jeffrey Itell
Jeffrey Itell Publisher dc.story Tel: 202.244.4163 P.O. Box 11260 Fax:
202.362.1501 Washington, D.C. 20008-0460 "For People Who Live Inside the Beltway...
But Outside the Loop."