Of all the confections to be had in the Dining Hall these days, there can be little doubt over the one type of cookie that elicits the most intrigue.

FlyBy refers, of course, to the Ranger Cookie, the brownish, semi-gooey, quasi-crunchy treat on the menu all too infrequently that can fit in the palm of your hand.

And while students line up to take one or five or maybe even ten of these cookies back to their tables during lunch or dinner, no one seems to know exactly what Ranger Cookies are, why they taste so good, or, for that matter, why on earth they’re even called “Ranger Cookies” in the first place. This is Hahvahd after all, not some sort of dude ranch in one of the many fly-over states between here and LAX….

To read more about FlyBy’s quest to find the answers to these questions or simply to get to know the HUDS cookie we all know and love, read more after the jump.

In setting out to discover just what exactly is in the Harvard breed of the Ranger Cookie, FlyBy first contacted Ted Mayer, Executive Director of HUDS, who, in an email, wrote that “This secret recipe, long sought by Harvardians, and kept in a vault with only three people in the world, each knowing only a portion of the recipe, without knowing each other's identities, may be had by contacting Martin Breslin at the above email.”

Ooooh, a hunt!

At first, FlyBy felt a little bit like the Hardy Boys or the Boxcar Children or whichever group of kids it was that used to ask lots of annoying questions about insignificant things before solving an even more inconsequential mystery.

But then it remembered that Ranger Cookies are no trivial issue and e-mailed Martin Breslin, Director for Culinary Operations, who came through with the scoop—the dough?—right away.

According to Breslin, the cookies are a mixture of oats, coconut, rice krispies, margarine (ewww), eggs, and flour. And, he added, even though the cookies are baked fresh each day that they're served, HUDS buys the dough from Otis Spunkmeyer! Quelle Horreur!

Actually, come to think of it, the foreign provenance of Ranger Cookies isn't that big of a deal in the larger scheme of things. At first, FlyBy was upset to learn that they weren't a sustainable, local crop like squash or whatever, but it turns out that these cookies are pretty darn delicious, and FlyBy will take whatever it can get in that department, especially here at Harvard.

And why are they called “Ranger Cookies?”

“The origin of name ‘Ranger cookie’ is rather interesting,” Breslin wrote FlyBy. “Some claim that the cookie originated in Texas and was originally called the ‘Texas Ranger Cookie’ or ‘The Lone Ranger Cookie.’ The recipe is similar to the Cowboy cookie which has oats, chocolate chips and pecans.”

Yeah, Ranger Cookie’s definitely the best name out of those choices. Can you imagine raving to all your friends about ‘The Lone Ranger Cookie?’ FlyBy certainly can’t—too many syllables, man.

Besides, these cookies by any other name might not bear the same significance for devotees, like Currier sophomore Liza Pincus.

“What I like the most about them is that no one knows exactly what they are, and no one bothers to ask,” she said.

That is, no one until FlyBy.