Out of context, eating the image of one’s unborn child sounds like some kind of demonic ritual, but apparently hip young mothers everywhere are saying iWant, iWant, iWant sonogram cookies. Strange yet true: For $27 you can buy 12 graham-cracker cookies, enrobed in white chocolate and printed in edible ink with the image of your fetus as it was illuminated in the warm spotlight of the ultrasound machine at your doctor’s office.
Karen Belesco, chief cookie counselor at Good Fortunes, a company best known for its giant fortune cookies, says the sonogram cookie was conceived by an employee whose sister was having twins. “She wanted to put their sonogram on cookies for her sister’s shower,” she says. “And we just thought it was so cute. A lot of expectant mothers want to do it. They send them to their parents to announce the pregnancy, and it’s fun, because you can do it when you are not so far along.”
But do the recipients find it disconcerting to eat the baby? “I think most people eat the cookies,” says Belesco. “You don’t have to eat the picture, it peels off, but, if you do, it doesn’t taste like much — the paper’s made from corn starch and sugar — you’re really just tasting the delicious chocolate and cookie beneath it.”
Still, it seems a little maudlin. People often say that babies are cute enough to eat, but the thought of nibbling on Baby Smith’s half-formed limbs doesn’t hold the charm of beheading the Easter Bunny or gobbling up the Gingerbread Man’s leg — especially since sonograms tend to make baby’s limbs look a little bruised, and it seems in poor taste to make jokes about it not being able to run ... “Run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the fetus man!”
Where is the expectant father in all of this, I wonder. Maybe eating the sonogram cookie is a kind of bonding exercise. A future father can get the paternal juices flowing by swallowing the fetus’s image whole and carrying it in his belly, if only for a few hours before, uh, birth. Or perhaps the sonogram cookie’s popularity lies in the cookie itself; after all graham flour was once touted as a curative for carnal urges. Party favor or furtive attempt to keep papa in the nest?
“There might be a kitsch factor to it,” admits Belesco, “but we built our company on personalization, so this is just taking that concept a step further; a picture of your baby before it is born is so personal, that baby is so uniquely yours. You don’t have to eat it, but a lot of people don’t have a problem with it.”