Southern Sweet: Mr. Lance & His Backward Cookie

Image via Lance®

In 1913, a food broker in Charlotte, North Carolina got stuck with 500 pounds of unwanted raw peanuts. Where others might have seen a wholesaling blunder, Philip L. Lance saw opportunity.

After roasting and selling those peanuts proved a runaway success, Lance chose to expand his product line even further to include peanut butter. And peanut butter would be the building block of one of the most recognizable names in American snack foods … and the heart of this Southern Sweet.

(Then again, maybe peanut butter was the mortar that held the building blocks together … and the crackers were the blocks. I don’t know; this analogy is falling apart. Let’s move on.)

By 1915, Lance had begun to slather peanut butter into two varieties of snack sandwiches: between two saltine crackers for a little salty; between two crispy cookies for a little sweet. Thus the Nekot cookie was born.

But what about the name? What in the world is a Nekot?

It turns out that Lance had wanted to make a peanut butter version of a popular cookie at the time, the Token. When the Token company refused to let him alter their cookie or even use the Token name, Lance made the cookie anyway … and spelled the name backward.

There are few things more comforting for this Southern man than a hot cup of coffee and a sleeve of Lance Nekot Cookies to dunk therein. Now, my five-year-old son has acquired a taste for them. Many is the afternoon that he comes down to my office with a hankering to watch cartoons and a pack of Nekots in each hand – one for him and one for me. If you want to make a Southern man a lifelong fan of your cookie, offering a little bonding between father and son is a dang good way to do it.

The Nekot Cookie. It’s a humble packaged snack, but it’s also a delicious Southern classic … no matter how you spell it.

To vote for Nekot Cookies in our Southern Sweets Showdown, visit our Facebook page or take our poll.

18 Responses to “Southern Sweet: Mr. Lance & His Backward Cookie”

  1. What I think I love most is how you compile the history of said southern treats!! I love these things and I always wondered about their unique flavor (and name). I love this website and I’m a freakin girl…

  2. I grew up in North Carolina and Nekot crackers have always been a favorite snack of mine. Life, love and work has transplanted me in California for many years now. I’m not complaining, mind you, however stores out here do not carry Nekot crackers. I can find Toast Chee and Toasty crackers. I guess I could order them online and perhaps it will come to that. Whenever my eldest daughter travels to visit family in the Midwest she always manages to bring back a Nekot “fix” for me. My wife, born and raised in California, has taken a likin’ to them now so I have to share. Now that’s love I tell ya and I don’t think I’m getting all the credit I deserve.

  3. I fondly recall, during my boyhood, impatient afternoons spent waiting on my mother at the hair salon and all the coins I dropped into the Lance ‘honor box’ (I know, I’m dating myself!) for packets of Toastchee, Van-O-Lunch and Nekots. All those riches were mine to inhale while engaging in a futile attempt to find ANYTHING interesting to a young boy in the pages of Woman’s Day, Better Homes & Gardens and Redbook (as that was the only reading material to be found in the salon and I was forbidden to go to the five-and-dime by myself for comic books). I recall asking the assembled ladies more than once how to pronounce “nekot” and found this — the consensus opinion of Southern ladies in the mid-20th century was that “nekot” was a “Frainch” word and therefore properly pronounced “NEE-coh.”

    So, ladies. You stand corrected.

    I’m older and wiser today, but Lance snacks still have a special place in my heart, not to mention my desk. I’ve always got at least two or three different boxes of Lance nibbles hiding in there, just waiting to attract my attention and to provoke some memories. 🙂

    And in case y’all weren’t aware, there are now CHOCOLATE Nekot cookies; Lance makes them with either peanut butter or chocolate filling. I do so love the original Nekots, but the chocolate versions are surely deserving of an honorable mention.

  4. I love,love me some nekot cookies but lately I ve gotten cookies without peanut butter. That will not stop me from buying them. Keep “em coming.

  5. Ya know, I was sitting here at my desk, munching on a package of Nekots, when it occurred to me that I hadn’t a clue what the name meant. So I Googled it, and found this sight, for which I am grateful.

    Growing up in the Northeast in the late 50’s and 60’s, I wasn’t really exposed to Lance snacks. That changed in 1975, when my best buddy went to work as a Lance distributor, and I was introduced to all manners of delicious treats. From Michigan Cherries, to Oatmeal Creams (still a favorite), to Toast-Chee, Nekot, and on and on, I was hooked. Later in life I worked for Snyder’s of Hanover, selling a variety of awesome salty snacks. Still later in life, Snyder’s of Hanover and Lance merged, to become one big, beautiful company.

    I know all of this is apropos of nothing, but thanks for letting me share. I’ll be a Lance (and Snyder’s) fan until the day I, well, you know.

  6. I am 44 years old and I’ve just had my first Nekot cookies! I thought I was grabbing generic peanut butter crackers from the vending machine. When I got to my desk, poured my fresh hot coffee, and pulled out the first cookie, I immediately noticed this was no generic cracker. The taste, texture, flavor were such a surprise! I have lived in the New England my entire life and I honestly cannot remember ever hearing of Lance or Nekots. I had to do some investigating. I found this web page and I am so happy for the wonderful information here, and I laughed out loud to see that I was enjoying my Nekots with the correct beverage! Thanks very much for this!

  7. Interesting post. I just ate a pack and noticed for te first time that Nekot is Token in reverse. Thinking that’s too simple an explanation, I did a search no found your interest in article. Now I have to find out what a Token is. By the way, cousin, we Yankees enjoy Lance products, too!

    Take care,

  8. I’ve loved Nekot cookies for many years. I’m a born and bred Southern girl, and I was right alongside Tom M. with his pronunciation of “Frainch.” I got curious a few years ago and called Lance about the origin of Nekot, and your explanation is what was given to me then. I’ve recently tried the lemon Nekot, and they’re nice, too. So far, the chocolate ones haven’t made an appearance in my line of sight, but I’ll be lookin’ for ’em.

  9. You had the best oatmeal cream cake! Nobody beats it! Bring it back please!

  10. My grandmother named those cookies…she was the paymaster for lance

  11. I used to eat and enjoy Nekot cookies.
    They were delicious!
    Was thinking about them and decided to try to find some- not available here that I can find.
    Just read the taste has changed from original- WHY?

  12. I used to eat and enjoy Nekot cookies.
    They were delicious!
    Was thinking about them and decided to try to find some- not available here that I can find.
    Just read the taste has changed from original- WHY?
    First and only comment to you – ever!

  13. What were the Token cookies?
    And where are they available today?

  14. I was familiar with Lance even before I moved to NC, but now they are available in stores pretty much everywhere around here and in more varieties. I always keep some packs handy in the glove compartments of both my vehicles in case I get hungry out on the road and don’t want to stop for a meal. I always suspected Nekot was token spelled backwards, now I know.


  1. Southern Sweet: Mr. Lance & His Backward Cookie | Rambling of a Pointless Nature - January 23, 2015

    […] Southern Sweet: Mr. Lance & His Backward Cookie. […]

  2. Quora - August 22, 2015

    What is the origin of the word “Nekot” in Lance Nekot Cookies?

    It seems to be the word “Token” backwards. Apparently Token was a popular cookie manufacturer in the 1910s and Lance approached them about making a new type of cookie. When they refused, and wouldn’t let him use the name, he made the Nekot instead.…

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