The Girl Scout cookie craze

Parker Fox, Staff Writer

It’s that time of the year- the time when grown men and women find themselves hoarding cookies.  What kind of cookie is special enough to create such a buzz?  Only Girl Scout cookies.  What started when a young scout from Muskogee, Oklahoma decided to sell cookies to raise money for her troop has turned into a national obsession. 

            “I dedicate a minimum of $20 to Girl Scout cookies every year.  I know they aren’t high quality or anything but there is something about Thin Mints and Trefoils that I can’t put my finger on.  I try to make my cookies last for at least two weeks,” says sophomore Loren Whitaker.  Others are less radical fans.  Freshman Cooper Coughlin says, “They are good, but personally I prefer Publix bakery cookies.  They are a much better value and taste better.”  These cookies have caused quite a stir. Many parents of scouts even sell boxes for their children!  The Girl Scout cookie has become one of America’s most recognizable desserts, so we’re going to take a look at how they got there.

            From its humble beginnings in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Girl Scout Cookies took a big step to its current status as one of America’s favorite cookies in 1933 when Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in the city’s gas and electric company windows.  In 1934, Greater Philadelphia became the first council to sell commercially baked cookies.  In 1936, the National Girl Scout organization began the process to license the first commercial baker to produce cookies that would be sold by girls in Girl Scout councils.

            World War II disrupted cookie sales due to shortages in flour, sugar, and butter and necessitated the sale of calendars instead until the end of the war.  But by 1948, 29 bakers across the nation were officially licensed to bake the cookies.  By 1956, Girl Scouts sold four basic types of cookies: a vanilla-based filled cookie, a chocolate-based filled one, shortbread, and a chocolate mint.  Junior Brandon Jefferies says, “Thin Mints (the chocolate mint flavor) are the best thing that ever happened to me.  I have been eating them since my mom brought home ten boxes a few days ago.”  By 1960, several varieties of cookies were available. 

            In 1978 the number of bakeries was cut down to four to increase uniformity and decrease costs.  In 1979, marketing became more advanced as boxes contained messages about where your money is going and information about the Girl Scouts. 

            Today, cookie boxes are bright and colorful and only three types of cookies are mandatory for sale by a troop- thin mints, peanut butter sandwich, and shortbread.  Whether you’re a Girl Scout cookie fanatic or don’t enjoy them at all, you at least have had some experience with these cookies (unless, of course, you live under a rock).