Tis the season for Girl Scout cookie sales, and all across the country, tiny uniformed pushers are camping out in front of markets and big-box stores to peddle their addictive treats. You may think you know everything about Thin Mints and Caramel deLites. Well, here are a few facts that may enlighten you:
1. The first Girl Scout cookies were sold in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1917, when troops baked cookies and sold them in high schools as a service project. These pioneers had no idea what they had just unleashed on the United States.
2. The ingredients for a Girl Scout cookie were very simple in 1922: Butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. That's a far cry from today's exotic Mango Crèmes with Nutrifusion, which feature a food concentrate made with shitake mushrooms. (Anyone want to bet these won't make a return appearance in 2014?)
3. In 1933, you could get a box of 44 cookies for just 23 cents.
4. Life was rough in the early 1940s; not only was there a world war raging, but there were also no Girl Scout cookies to be found. Due to shortages of sugar, butter, and flour, the Scouts sold calendars instead.
5. Today, one-quarter of all Girl Scout cookie sales are Thin Mints. There's just something about the chocolate and mint combination that is unbeatable (that, and the fact that Thin Mints have the most cookies in a box).
6. Two licensed bakeries are in charge of Girl Scout cookies: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. That number has decreased dramatically over the years; in the 1940s there were 29 bakers, and in the 1960s, 14.
7. Depending on your local Girl Scout council (and which baker they purchased from), your cookies are either creatively named or literal: Tagalongs are also known as Peanut Butter Patties; Do-si-dos are Peanut Butter Sandwiches; and Trefoils are Shortbreads. Ever so slightly bucking the trend are Samoas/Caramel deLites.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 of the scariest spiders in existence
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- It's time for the police to rethink 'shoot-to-kill'
- Why isn't 'Arkansas' pronounced like 'Kansas'?
- Internet piracy isn't killing Hollywood
- This 1,600-year-old Viking war game is still awesome
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
Subscribe to the Week