Football Team

Washington reporters rank four type of Pepperidge Farm cookies

Football Team

Football reporters love free food and they love rankings. I haven't been doing this job for that long, but those are two things I learned pretty much right away. 

So, on Monday, I decided to merge those two cherished items, and the result of that merger is this story.

Before heading out to Ashburn to cover yet another practice, I stopped by my local Safeway (I have a local Safeway, which means I'm very mature) and picked up four different kinds of Pepperidge Farm cookies (Standard Milanos, Mint Milanos, Montauk Chocolate Chip and Chessmen).

There is a reason I went strictly with Pepperidge Farm products, but that reason is very inside joke-y and not worth explaining because I want to get to the point of this already pointless blog (listen to the end of this podcast if you're actually curious).

I then laid out those cookies on my assigned table at training camp and invited my fellow media members to sample them all and rank them from best to worst. Honestly, it's some of the most involved journalism I've done in a while. 

Below, you'll find everyone's lists, as well as some standout quotes from their reviews. I've never gotten and will never get so much out of a $13 trip to the grocery store in my life.

Pete Hailey (me)

1) Montauk 2) Milano 3) Chessmen 4) Mint Milano

When I bite into my cookie, I want it to be quieter than a putting green at Augusta during the Masters. Montauks satisfy that requirement, and that's why they're currently my go-to dessert. Milanos are the Ryan Kerrigan of cookies, meanwhile — they may not blow you away, but they're consistently good. The Chessmen were OK, but I felt like I should be eating them while drinking tea with the Queen of England; that isn't really a justification for them being third, it's more something I just wanted to write. Lastly, mint belongs in toothpaste, not on a baked good.


JP Finlay (NBC Sports Washington)

1) Mint Milano 2) Chessmen 3) Montauk 4) Milanos

JP prides himself on knowing snacks and sweets, and he was more than game for this idea. "I'm not one to (expletive)-talk any cookie," he said. He then called Mint Milanos the "LSU last year compared to the rest of the teams," before complaining that I didn't get him his real favorite option from Pepperidge Farm.

Mitch Tischler (NBC Sports Washington)

1) Chessmen 2) Milano 3) Mint Milano 4) Montauk

Mitch is crispy over soft when it comes to his cookies, which explains why the Chessmen took gold while the Montauk didn't medal. After taking a bite out of one of the former, he looked me right in the eye and said, "These are so (expletive) good. You can quote me on that. You can put that in all caps." It was half awesome and half intimidating. He did favor the Montauk's "chocolate-to-cookie ratio" yet still labeled it as a "bottom of the barrel" choice.  

John Keim (ESPN)

1) Montauk 2) Mint Milano 3) Milano 4) Chessmen

I wish all of you readers (the six of you) could've seen how much John enjoyed doing this exercise. He took it so seriously and I seriously appreciated it. John fell in love with the Montauk right away and actually said they were like a well-executed rack of ribs or delicate wine with the way their taste lingered long after the initial bite. It didn't make a ton of sense to me, but who am I to question Keim? He is very pro-chocolate, which is why Chessmen finished last in his mind. "I want more flavor PERIOD," he sort of yelled at me, as if I was the one who made them. 

Michael Phillips (Richmond-Times Dispatch)

1) Montauk 2) Chessmen Tied for last) Both Milanos

I never thought I'd say this, but I'd watch Philly eat food all day. His reviews were incredible. After ingesting the Montauk, he nodded and said of its softness, "Yeah, you could sleep on that." His line about the Chessmen was equally great: "It tastes like eating a stick of butter and I haven't decided if that's good or not." He saved his best for the Milanos, however, when he asked, "Why do people like these?" after declaring that he'd like to "burn some bridges." It's worth noting that these were his first Pepperidge Farm products, so he very well could be an alien.


Ben Standig (The Athletic)

1) Milano 2) Chessmen 3) Montauk 4) Mint Milano

Standig happily ate all four varieties and didn't seem to dislike any of them, but then he unleased this take: "Pepperidge Farm are overrated. They're like the Pro Bowl selections that are based off reputation." This elicited quite the reaction from JP, who boisterously agreed. Standig then claimed he'd bring in the next batch of desserts to try. I have little to no faith that he will, but you never know.

Nicki Jhabvala (The Washington Post)

1) Milano 2) Chessmen 3) Montauk 4) Mint Milano 

Nicki was kind enough to take a break from real work to humor me in this project. She ripped off her rankings quickly, though, so she could head back to her previously mentioned real work. "I'm a simpleton," she said, referring to how she isn't a fan of mint. She absolutely now believes I'm a simpleton as well.

Matt Paras (The Washington Times)

1) Chessmen 2) Milano 3) Mint Milano 4) Montauk

Paras putting Chessmen at No. 1, just like Mitch, made Mitch quite mad. The very polite Matt was very polite while noshing on each cookie, using phrases like "pretty good" and "they're fine." For a guy who apparently is a Food Network devotee, he sure was lacking descriptors for what he was tasting.

Les Carpenter (The Washington Post)

1) Montauk 2) Chessmen 3) Milano 4) Mint Milano

Les is one of the more interesting people I've ever met and he didn't disappoint in this forum. It took him a while to commit to participating, but once he did, he participated. He complimented the Montauk for being a "classic" chocolate chip offering and said that the Milanos "never really moved him," as if he was at the theater and not in a hot Virginia tent eating random food that I bought 90 minutes before. Never change, Les.