When I was a kid, I loved being a Girl Scout. I can’t remember a single moment I wasn’t having a great time hanging out with my troop. I loved meetings. I loved earning badges. I loved playing games. I loved the Girl Scout Olympics. I loved camping.
Yes, that’s right, I loved camping…and even running…as long as it was through Girl Scouts.
I remember time spent at international food festivals where each troop member would research other countries and cultures, prepare food to share with each other and spend the evening pigging out. My mom and I picked France and she helped me make gateau au chocolat…or chocolate cake for those of you not in the know. It was fun and delicious.
I remember camporees where we would make “swaps” to, well, swap with girls from other troops. Each swap would be some tiny crafty thing that somehow tied into the theme of the camporee and had our troop number on it. The goal was to collect as many different swaps as possible, all while getting to know girls from the surrounding areas.
I remember learning how to lash (I have completely forgotten how), how to make hobo stew (I could totally still make this) and how to make those strange plastic lanyards and keychains every kid whoever goes to camp ends up making.
Girl Scouts was amazing.
I also remember Girl Scout cookie time. Aw…the joy of being surrounded by all the delicious different varieties of cookies.
When I was a kid, Trefoils still had sugar crystals on them, one of my favorite cookies was called the Chocolate Chunk,* and they were only $2 a box. Every year I busted my butt to sell as many cookies as possible. My mom was a stay at home mom, so she had no work friends she could sell cookies too. My step-dad worked in a place that did not allow people to bring in any kind of fundraising materials, so he couldn’t sell them either. Unlike most of my fellow scouts, my cookie sales were all on me. Thankfully the majority of my extended family bought TONS of cookies and not only paid for the cookies, but then paid to have my mom ship the cookies to them, all the way from California. While I was never a top seller, I was able to fall solidly in the middle.
This year I got to experience Girl Scout cookie time like never before: as the mother of a Brownie. Yes, that’s right, my second grader is one of those fairly cherubic looking little girls who no doubt bombarded you as you walked out of the grocery store, or hardware store or craft store, or super hippy breakfast place in that really trendy section of town, and asked if you want to buy a box of these delicious and addictive treats.
I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I haven’t had a box or two of cookies stashed in my pantry or fridge. For the past 6 years, I’ve bought them from one (or both) of my nieces. Before that I bought them either from a host of colleagues whose daughters were selling them or in few rare cases, from students who’d stuck with scouting into high school. Those years were wonderful. I’d buy four or five boxes, they’d last for a few months and I’d be satiated for a few months more. Then, around January, fresh out of Christmas goodies, I’d start wondering when cookie time was going to roll around again.
But this year, everything changed.
This year cookie season started off not with a call from one of my nieces asking me to buy a box, but at a cookie rally on a Friday night over winter break. My daughter and I joined her troop members in one of the most crowded meeting rooms I’d ever been in, trying desperately not to get overwhelmed by the three ring circus that was the rally. Not only were there six craft tables with girls packed so tightly they could hardly move, but there were adults circulating around the room with trays of cookies for everyone to try. On top of this, there was someone constantly making announcements and drawing numbers for a raffle.
My daughter, who has some major sensory issues managed exactly two craft tables before she couldn’t take it anymore. Even the prospect of more cookies (she’s already managed to sneak 6 and we generally allow one cookie for dessert) and raffle prizes couldn’t make her endure a few more minutes of the chaos. We were out after 20 minutes.
Then came the selling of the cookies. My daughter will proudly tell you she sold over 300 boxes of cookies, which was enough to get the turtle music speaker she really wanted. This is not true. My husband and I sold most of those cookies. Sure, she sold about 70 of those boxes, but that was mostly because she worked a cookie booth at a local Kroger on the day of the Superbowl. In two hours, the three girls sold 165 boxes.
What all this meant was a TON of cookies piled in my den. I don’t remember exactly how many cases we had once all was said and done (we had to go back for five additional smaller orders), but at one point I know we had 16 cases in there. It was nuts!
All of this did mean I got to try every single variety of cookie this year. Although they were all the same as last year, I tend to be a creature of habit, so I usually only get Samoas for myself and Do Si Dos for my husband. This year, though, I let my kids each pick a box of cookies (Thin Mints for my daughter and Toffee Tastics for my son). We had to try the S’Mores cookies since they were pretty new as well. Plus, I couldn’t remember if my husband liked the peanut butter sandwich or chocolate peanut butter, so I got some Tagalongs too. At the cookie rally I grabbed a Savannah Smile and a Trefoil to round out my collection.
Although I found I really enjoy the S’Mores (not as good as the real thing, but pretty tasty nonetheless), in nearly 35 years of eating Girl Scout cookies, my favorite cookie has not changed.
My heart forever belongs to Samoas.
*For a trip down Girl Scout cookie memory lane, check out these old favorites too.