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The  Chocoholics Guide to Chocolate
chocolate, chocolate chip cookies,  Texas brownies, divine truffle brownies,
 Mississippi mud cake, chocolate fudge cake, chocolate pecan pie, devil's food cake, rocky road candy, fantasy fudge,  fudge frosting, German chocolate brownies,
 German chocolate cake, nutty chocolate pie, chocolate sauce, hot fudge pudding cake,  brownie bottom pie, black bottom pie, sweet chocolate pie, Hershey pie, chocolate cheesecake, hot fudge sauce,...

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  • Fresh from a downtown Los Angeles bar, a sometime consumer gadfly arrived at The Times with a hot tip about yet another case of corporate callousness and greed. Brandishing a photocopied letter, she claimed a famous department store, in a sneaky and underhanded manner, had charged an unsuspecting patron an outrageous sum for a recipe - the company's popular chocolate chip cookie.

    The actual victim was apparently an unnamed, but credible, Beverly Hills matron.

    The single-page letter was full of indignation as it vividly described the incident and even contained exact dialogue of the transgression. It began: "My daughter and I finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas and decided to have a small dessert. Because our family members are such 'cookie monsters' we decided to try the Neiman-Marcus Cookie. It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe, and they said with a small frown, 'I'm afraid not.' Well, I said, 'Would you let me buy the recipe?' "

    The letter continued: "Thirty days later I received my Visa statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285. I looked again, and I remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, 'Cookie Recipe - $250.00' Boy, was I upset!"

    The letter goes on to state that, in the spirit of revenge, the unnamed victim was providing all interested parties the $250 recipe at no charge.

    Now, after a lengthy investigation by The Times the facts were unearthed:

  • Neiman Marcus does not sell recipes from its restaurants. The department store gives them away for free to anyone who asks.
  • Neiman Marcus does not sell or serve cookies at any of its restaurants.
  • There is no such thing as a "Neiman-Marcus Cookie." (And Neiman Marcus no longer has a hyphen in its title.)
  • Neiman Marcus does not take Visa.
  • Any fashion cognoscenti would know immediately that you couldn't buy a scarf at Neiman Marcus for $20 as the letter writer stated. Scarf prices start at $40 and quickly run as high as $215.

    The Neiman Marcus Cookie caper is remarkably similar to another rumor that circulated several years ago about the recipe for Mrs. Fields' Chocolate Chip Cookies. And veterans of the food world say the story formula goes back to the 1930s, when a similar tale was told about the Waldorf Astoria's Red Velvet Cake.

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