The recently released (and recently reviewed) limited edition Cookie Dough Oreos do not contain actual uncooked cookie dough. What they do contain, is a clever bit of mental marketing called 'permission'.

Permission is the art of using certain cues to convince the consumer that, while the product they are putting into their mouth does not contain a thing, it's still basically the thing, even though it isn't. Think Apple Jacks. There are no apples in there — they don't even taste vaguely like fruit — but somehow the mind still equates them with apples.

UPDATE: I have been informed that dried apples and apple juice concentrate are listed in the ingredients for Apple Jacks. I have also been informed that they do taste like apples, despite a major ad campaign from the manufacturer assuring us they do not. I don't know what to believe anymore.

The New York Times explores the power of permission in this handy video, which we will nod thoughtfully at and then go back to eating things that aren't the things.