They're here. I'm sure you've seen them. Colorful rectangular boxes touting Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Samoas and more are taking over households all over America as we speak. Three boxes made their way into my kitchen, and last night while sitting on my couch I was horrified to discover that an entire sleeve of Thin Mints disappeared before I finished one side of a Cannonball Adderley record. This, of course, was after I ate four Samoas.
I flipped the record and sat down looking at the spent cellophane in shame. This happens every year.
There's something special about the way Thin Mints disappear in your mouth, I'm sure of it. I thought perhaps the law of Vanishing Caloric Density I recently learned about from a New York Times Magazine article might have been behind the cookies' disappearance. Had food scientists been at work to "optimize" Thin Mints (much the way crack is "optimized" cocaine)? I called the Girl Scouts to find out.
Amanda Hamaker is the manager of product sales for the Girl Scouts. She shares my Thin Mint weakness, but denies there is any sinister cookie chemistry subconsciously forcing us to eat more boxes. "It's because they're really, really good," she told me. At this point I broke the cellophane of the second roll of Thin Mints and continued my interview. "Yes, they are very, very good," I replied.
Hamaker told me the cookies are baked at two different commercial bakeries. The cookies you buy here in Dallas are baked by Little Brownie Bakers, based in Louisville, Kentucky. ABC Bakers, which is owned by Kellogg Co. and oddly enough supplies cookies to the Girl Scouts based in Fort Worth, is the other bakery working for the Girl Scouts. The bakeries own their own recipes and develop the snacks using the "best ingredients available" Hamaker said.
"Still, they're just a little too addictive aren't they?" I asked as I picked the remaining crumbs from the second spent sleeve from my keyboard. I asked how the recipes were chosen (Girl Scout tasting). I asked how the cookies were marketed (to adults not children). I asked lots of questions and had a hard time finding a conspiracy behind the mission of financing the dreams of young girls.
Hamaker's answers were squeaky clean. Of course the cookies aren't healthy; they're cookies. "Girl Scout cookies are a once a year treat," she reminded me, when I asked her if the Girl Scouts were concerned about growing pressures and negative stigmas associated with processed snack foods. "We also focus on healthy snacks in the fall," she told me, putting the last nail in my cookie conspiracy coffin.
"Why mess with Girl Scout cookies?" she asked me. And I had no reasonable answer. My thoughts had shifted to box of Samoas I stashed in the cupboard. I'd had four the night before: that means there should be eight Samoas left. "Enjoy your cookie season!" Hamaker called out as she hung up the phone.
I hope this season is a short one, or I'm in big trouble.