Blogger's Bout: Girl Scout Cookies, Pro & Con

From Miami New Times Editor Chuck Strouse:
I hate Girl Scout cookies.
They started just as the first World War ended in Muskogee Oklahoma. That's right, the year of the Russian Revolution, they were peddled in a high school cafeteria. That was just five years after the Girl Scouts themselves got going. The organization is built on the hustle.

Soon GSA will be a century old. And they began contracting with commercial bakers in 1936, which may be why so many of the brands began to taste like they had been around for years.

Why do I hate em? Let's start with nutrition: According to, most get Ds and Fs as grades. Take the so-called caramel delights -- 70 calories each, half from fat. Or the reduced fat chocolate chips....better at 33 calories each, but half of 'em come from fat.

Another problem is history. The Girl Scouts were started in Savannah,

Georgia as a whites only group. Segregated black troops were later

started up. Of course today, there are many integrated groups around

the world, but that early damn racist history eats at me.

there's the money. By some estimates, the scouts earn $700 million in

revenues off 'em. While most goes to local troops, those commercial

bakers rake in 83 cents per package.
Not long ago, the NY Times

Nick Kristof penned a column complaining about "little girls intent on

clogging your arteries and killing you with their sweetness." I second

that emotion. Indeed, I'm boycotting this year.

From Miami New Times Minion Lee Klein:
Picking on poor, helpless little Girl Scouts for selling fattening cookies? I am shocked, appalled, and personally offended.

After all, as a young lad, yours truly shilled fattening cookies door

to door -- not as a Girl Scout but as a Jew, selling macaroons as part

of a Hebrew school drive for the same green paper that sends millions

of Girl Scouts out into the streets. I can still recall the pride I

felt for moving more boxes than anyone else and copping a pair of

cufflinks as top prize. Just for the record, there is absolutely

nothing on God's earth that is less useful to an eight year old kid

than cufflinks.

But I digress. First, let me set your mind at ease regarding the racist history. According to the Girl Scouts website, "Our

first troop for African American girls was formed in 1917, 47 years

before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, and by the 1950s, GSUSA

began a national effort to desegregate all Girl Scout troops. Not long

after, in 1956, Martin Luther King Jr. described Girl Scouts as 'a force

for desegregation'."

Granted, they're putting a nice face on things. But while the Girl

Scouts were later to the equality party than we would have liked, they

were solidly on board by the 1950s, which is more than most American

corporations can say.

And they brought those cookies with them, which perks up any party.

Healthy? Absolutely not. But cookies should be viewed as a luxury, as a

reward for maintaining an otherwise nutritious diet. Pass up the dinner

rolls and can of coke. Then enjoy the Thin Mints. And Samoas. And

Do-Si-Dos. Heck, that's three good reasons to support the Girl Scouts

and their cookie drive right there.

Finally, I don't deny that it is sad the Girl Scouts don't bake the 200

million boxes of cookies by themselves. It's likewise a pity that the

Keebler Elves don't really bake all those Keebler Cookies. Seriously

though, I don't doubt that the quality has gone down over the years -- what hasn't? At this point, we should just be thankful

the cookie-making process isn't being shipped out to China.

And so, in summation: God bless America, God bless cookies, and God bless the Girl Scouts. I rest my case.

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Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein