Between 1979 and 2001, Spanish Television broadcast one of the most successful children’s programs of all time: Sesame Street. An educational show led by actors, puppeteers and stuffed animals that this 2023 celebrated 54 years in operation. In fact, last November, HBO Max premiered the fifty-fourth season, where the classic characters continue to be the protagonists: Epi and Blas are closer than ever, Count Draco is still a vampire, Elmo never stops looking for adventure, Oscar He can’t get over being a grump and Cookie Monster, Triki, keeps saying “nom nom nom.” However, this time there is something new: now we know exactly what he eats.

In 1966, Americans Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrissett set out to create a program that would encourage children’s creativity. In the initial meetings they thought about developing a show with cartoons. But finally, they decided to hire Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, who motivated them to conceive the series as it is known today. Henson also helped create several of the puppets. Among them, Cookie Monster. According to various reports, the first time the producer thought about Cookie Monster was 57 years ago, when he was summoned to make an advertisement for snacks.

In the first instance, Henson drew three adorable and fiercely hungry furry dogs. They had an appetite for fear and, according to their creator, they were ideal for the campaign of the food company General Food. Despite this, the company did not think the same and the characters had to delay their debut. In fact, Wheel Stealer, the first version of Cookie Monster, didn’t appear in a video until 1967, when he starred in an IBM tutorial. The creature later appeared on the Muppets and in a potato commercial, where it was dubbed “the chewing monster.” But Henson decided to continue working on the idea and, two years later, presented the evolution of it on Sesame Street.

If the cookie only breaks into two pieces, it’s not funny. So we’ve perfected the formula

Initially, the monster lacked a distinctive name or nickname. But, according to a song in the show, at some point he was baptized Sid. However, his passion for food overshadowed his name and he soon began to be known as the monster that devours everything. Cookie Monster swallows computers, phones, vegetables, fruits and cookies. Especially cookies. Some that, in appearance, seem to be covered in chocolate chips. However, a few weeks ago the New York Times revealed that Cookie Monster does not eat a food full of sugar but rather something healthy, low in fat.

The recipe contains pancake mix, puffed rice, cereals, instant coffee and water. And what about chocolate chips? They are false. They are circles made with brown glue. That is, cookies are not 100% edible. But, according to its creator, if the “chocolate” is removed, they could be used to feed an animal. “I would say they’re kind of a dog treat,” said puppeteer Lara MacLean, responsible for baking the cookies and an essential part of Jim Henson’s team. In fact, the artist began as an intern on Sesame Street and today she has been manipulating dolls for more than three decades.

MacLean reveals that until 2000 Cookie Monster ate cookies made of foam or rice. However, the rice ones got stuck in the puppet’s hair, so the team was asked to create a foolproof recipe. The puppeteer thus came up with the current formula for the cookies, which she makes herself. For each episode she bakes two dozen cookies in her New York apartment. “One time my landlord came and saw that I had all these cookies in my kitchen and I had to tell him, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t give you any,'” she said.

One time my landlord came, he saw that I had all those cookies in my kitchen and I had to tell him: ‘I’m sorry, I can’t give you any.’

The actor behind Cookie Monster has also helped perfect the recipe. David Rudman, who has played Cookie Monster since 2001, has complained about the “density” of the candy on numerous occasions: his job is complicated when the cookies are too hard. “The more crumbs they have, the better for TV. If the cookie only breaks into two pieces, it’s not funny. So we’ve perfected the formula so that it’s not so fine that it breaks in your hands, but soft enough so that it explodes in your mouth,” he tells the New York Times.

In the same interview, both MacLean and Rudman are proud of their formula. They are so attractive to look at that many have come to believe that they taste good. What’s more, they both say that, in 2009, Adam Sandler ate one while filming an episode of Sesame Street and, as soon as the cameras stopped recording, he had to spit it out because it tasted like bleach. “He got carried away by the moment and succumbed to the most basic of instincts. We see a cookie and we just want to eat it,” they remember with a laugh.