Why I Hate Girl Scout Cookies

The Butch's DilemmaJust when I thought I had finally worked off the weight I put on between Thanksgiving and New Years, just when I was shaking off the end of winter sluggishness, just when I had dreams of spring asparagus and Alphonso mangos, Girl Scout Cookie season arrived.

I hate Girl Scout Cookies.  I hate everything about them. I bought four boxes at four bucks a pop because my office mates sold them for their daughters. My policy is to comply with most forms of work place extortion. I buy something (magazine subscriptions, crappy chocolates, raffle tickets) from everyone in the office who asks; I don’t want to be accused of being cheap or playing favorites.

According to the Girl Scouts, they sell 200 million boxes of cookies each year. Hundreds of them end up in my office. There are open boxes of cookies everywhere. For weeks. I can not get away from them. And, like a perverse version of the kid’s game Go For Broke, I have to get rid of my boxes without eating anyone else’s cookies. This year I have zero tolerance. I am not going to eat a single one.

There was a time (two years ago) when I ate the cookies. I trolled the maze of cubicles looking for them. Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Samoas. If there were cookies out there I was going to find them and have one. Or two. I bought a half-dozen boxes and ate a sleeve of cookies at my desk. A box never lasted more than two days. I wasn’t into sharing, I was into numbing the pain.

Since being on Weight Watchers my attitude has changed; or maybe my attitude changed and I went to Weight Watchers. I don’t want to be chubby. I don’t want to stuff my face. I don’t want to swallow down my feelings. I’m at a good weight and I want to keep a boyish figure. I don’t want to be sabotaged by a bunch of happy girls in green uniforms selling hydrogenated crud that doesn’t even taste good.

The pictures on the Girl Scout Cookie boxes represent everything that I hated about girls and tried to avoid. Whenever I was with a  group of girls, I was picked on. When they looked at me they saw a fat awkward tomboy and a target. When I look at the cookie boxes I see my tormentors.

I knew enough to find after school activities that minimized my chances of being bullied. Music school was the best because it did not require getting undressed, picking teams, or wearing skirts, leotards, or tutus. There was very little socializing and a lot of music. I also took a couple of cooking classes at the YMHA. I learned how to bake pareve kosher cookies using margarine (Girl Scout Cookies are certified kosher, but dairy). I learned how to make fruit salad out of fresh fruit instead of opening up a can.

I’m not a big baker. I have three go-to cookies that are way better than Girl Scout Cookies. Baking and cooking are not gendered activities for me. I feel my best butch-transgender self in the kitchen. I make full butter versions of gingersnaps and oatmeal raisin cookies from an old annotated copy of The Joy of Cooking, and I make a dark chocolate chunk cookie based on the Nestle Toll House recipe (but with better chocolate). If you want to be the hit of a pot-luck party, bring homemade chocolate chip cookies. You will be invited back.

There are no mass-produced cookies that are worth the calories (or Weight Watchers points) to me anymore, with the possible exception of Tate’s Original Chocolate Chips. A good homemade cookie, that is a different story. One I will make an exception for.

30 thoughts on “Why I Hate Girl Scout Cookies

  1. amediablogger

    I always enjoy reading your posts, Jamie. They’re always deep and meaningful and it’s great learning a bit about you; past and present. I may just have to invite you to a dinner party someday with the hope you’ll bake some cookies 😉

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      If I find myself traveling through London I will take you up on it! I’m a better savory cook than a baker, but I’ll bake for pot lucks – once went to one and all of the main-course/salad dishes were tabbouleh.

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      1. amediablogger

        I’m hoping that you’ll fly this way sometime soon. I’ll promise to make a delicious selection of vegetarian mezzes and some tabbouleh, which is my favourite salad. How funny though that most of the dishes were tabbouleh.

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  2. anexactinglife

    In Canada they always sold just one type of Girl Guide cookies, so it was easier to limit myself to just one box! I sold lots of cookies when I was in Guides. I don’t think it helped me with entrepreneurial skills – we never saw any results from our labours! It does raise lots of issues about the scouting movement, though. In my day, the girls did crafts while the boys learned survival skills and went winter camping. My child (FTM) refused to join Brownies or Guides because it was girly.Their list of activities to attract new recruits featured spa days! Have you seen the latest hubbub about Mattel’s sponsorship of a Girl Guide badge?
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/06/girl-scouts-barbie-partneship-mattel

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Thanks for that link to the Barbie-Industrial-Complex meets Girl Scouts article. Scary, you don’t want to get me started on my feelings about Barbie. I don’t buy the entrepreneurial skills argument for selling cookies either, since most people buy them because they know the child/parent. I think the kids are being used to support the scouting bureaucracy.

      Some kids loved Girl Scouts (see underfrog, below), but I was saved by music.

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  3. urbanmythcafe

    We have a well thumbed cookie recipe book with all the pages falling out. It is amazing how much butter can go in a batch of cookies.
    I get asked to buy cookies when leaving the supermarket. I am usually prepared with a few dollars in my pocket for a donation. There is value in not eating the cookies, and I am willing to pay for that.
    The girl scouts organization has won me over, when you compare it with the boy scouts. From what I understand, they have never been concerned about sexual orientation. A couple of years ago, it was reported that a spokeperson said that the girl scouts would accept any child who identifies as a girl. This is good, forward thinking. The reality of how girls who may be a little outside of the norm actually get treated is a whole other issue.
    I won’t give money to the boy scouts. Eventually, maybe, when they get their act straightened out. I don’t give money to the Salvation Army either, although in many ways I would like to.

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      1. Jamie Ray Post author

        I don’t have a grudge with the Girl Scouts, just the cookie selling and the cookies.
        What did you do with the cookies? I had enough trouble getting rid of 4 boxes.

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      2. middleagebutch

        We have 3 boys so they ate anything with chocolate or peanut butter. Plus, the boxes aren’t that big. They’re like a single serving for a teenage boy. We ended up tossing a bunch of boxes of lemon cookies.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Everything tastes better made with butter, especially cookies. The nutritional information on the box of Girl Scout Cookies is scary; they are pretty junky.
      I don’t have anything against the Girl Scouts as an organization, my beef (bad metaphor) is with the cookies. Girl Scouts was unappealing when I was a child – but politically they are pretty good (so they are boycotted by some anti-choice activists) – and they are light years ahead of the Boy Scouts (and yes, I did want to be a Boy Scout because they had cool uniforms and I did not know any better, but I am over that now – probably the only kid thing I am over).

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  4. RonaFraser

    I hear ya. I don’t know how you resist all the flavours! Like An Exacting Lofe said, in Canada we just had the 1/2 vanilla sandwich cookies, 1/2 choc box. I used to love them, though the recipe seemed to change a few yrs back. I once had choc mints… and they were SO addictive!!! And I’ve seen recipes for Samoas… Man, I would have NO control!!! I just did a month without sugar/chocolate, and it showed me just HOW addicted I was. Kept thinking about it! I also had to work at finding other comfort. Better get going! Have a good one!

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      I don’t know if I could do a month without sugar or chocolate; there is some really good chocolate out there (bad cookies and bad chocolate – no problem). The office is a problem because it is one thing to say I won’t buy them for myself, but then I have to avoid all the ones that are already out on plates unwrapped and calling out to me.
      Today there were peanut butter cookies (Do-si-dos) and lemon shortbread (Savannah Smiles) so it was a little easier…

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  5. Mrs Fever

    I love to bake. And I don’t make anything from boxes; it’s all from scratch. I have a recipe for homemade double fudge brownies that calls for a whole bag of chocolate chips (melted in, over the stove) and if I have a signature dish, *that* is it.

    I eliminated corn syrup (all forms – not just HFCS) from my diet about four years ago, which is also when I became a vegetarian. Between the two dietary changes, most pre-packaged sweets became a non-thing for me. So I haven’t been tempted by Girl Scout cookies in years.

    And honestly, even if I *was* tempted, I don’t think I would buy. I have a problem with the way they are sold, you see. When I was growing up, the kids in Girl Scouts had to do their own leg work. They took orders. They pestered their friends, families, neighbors, coaches, and other community members to *place and order* and then delivered when the goods arrived. The cookies are a fundraiser after all, and the scouts had to EARN their money. Nowadays, I see parents selling cookies instead of / FOR their kids. And instead of taking orders ahead of time, I see groups of girls with large tables set up outside of grocery stores, hocking their wares. Or – more often than not – the parents are hocking the wares while the kids are either (a) not present, or (b) not engaged. I don’t see how anything is being learned by that, unless the point of the exercise is to reinforce the idea that “My parents will do everything for me.” Ugh.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      The brownies sound very decadent, as I would expect.
      I also avoid all mega-processed foods and read anything canned to make sure they haven’t snuck corn syrup in – it is added to some things you wouldn’t expect (canned tomatoes?). I also won’t eat/drink any artificial sweetener. So in the interests of disclosure, I will confess that I used to have a six pack a day Tab habit (the precursor to Diet Coke if you are young or not in North America) and I traded it in for high test coffee with a little milk in it.
      I agree with your analysis of cookie selling; they’ll probably still be living with/off their parents when they are 30.

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      1. Mrs Fever

        Oh yes, I remember Tab. It was the subject of much controversy in my household back then. Have you seen its new incarnation? I noticed a can labeled ‘Tab’ on the shelf that houses energy drinks (blech) at my grocery store. o_O

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      2. Jamie Ray Post author

        I had a regular can of Tab about a year after I quit. It tasted so vile that I could not finish it or believe that I drank so much of it every day. I think either the saccharine was addictive, or they secretly spiked it.

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  6. underfrog

    I was in Girl Scouts for 12 years as a kid before heading off to college and then afterwards into the land of transition. Despite it being a “girl thing,” it was actually the safest place for me as an awkward middle school/junior high/high school student. It didn’t matter that I was confused by attraction or didn’t understand how make-up worked, because when we were out in the forest, or sleeping at our local museum in a lock-in, or whatever, what mattered was that you could handle going without a shower, and that you were a great storyteller when the lights went out. Leadership also wasn’t really determined by how “pretty” you were – it was decided by something else – I’m not sure exactly what – but I know whatever it was is what allowed me to begin to think of myself as one, since I was elected patrol leader for multiple years and later held board positions and whatnot. This was in sharp contrast to middle school at school, where the popular girls put gum in my hair, drew on my coat, told everyone I had fleas, etc, and the popular boys were asking me out (whatever that means when you’re 13) because they would dare each other to ask out the ugliest girls at school. After about 7th grade or so, Girl Scouts really became a haven, because by that time, the only girls who stuck around were also queer of some stripe or else awkward in some other way (“normal” girls were too busy chasing boys or being cheerleaders or whatever to want to spend their weekends and weeks of time in the summer with a bunch of other girls, learning how to pee in the woods without creating a salt lick for deer that would destroy the environment.)
    We also managed our own money, not our adult leaders, so we were actually able to see the profits we made from cookie selling, and would draw up a budget and so on.

    All that said, though – those cookies have crack in them, I’m convinced. I don’t buy them either. They are WAY too addictive. I don’t want to eat 20 thin mints in a sitting. And if I buy them, I will! And once you start down that road, there’s never enough to feed your addiction, and then they’re gone for the year, and you’re going through withdrawals for months.. No need for that! When and if I want to financially support the organization, it’s better for everyone if it’s through a direct cash donation.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Thanks for writing about your Girl Scout experiences – it is interesting to find out how others survived their childhood and what activities or organizations were their life savers. I think middle school is a horrible time for most kids, but for queer and/or transgender kids it can be very painful. I got through because I went to a public all girls high school (7-12 grades) for academically gifted kids; it was a serious place and there were no vicious cliques (compared to my elementary school where I had cooties and got pushed around). I don’t know how I would have turned out if I had stayed at my local school.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      100 lbs? That is amazing and fabulous. It took me a year to lose about 25 pounds (I’m down 50 from my historic high) and I’m still struggling to eat healthy food and not eat when I am not hungry. My cookie problem is in the office where I have no control of what kind of cookies are out, how many people put them out, and how often (everyday until the last box is eaten).
      Thanks for the support!

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  7. Widdershins

    Mrs Widds makes the best cookies evah! … she has a cookie dough making binge – fifty thousand different varieties (curry cookies are divine) – then rolls the dough into logs and freezes them. Whenever we feel the urge we bake a roll, which works out to about four cookies each. Perfect.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      I googled curry cookies to see if I could find her recipe, and there are a lot of very serious curry cookie recipes out there (a little extreme for the Girl Scouts though). They’d all probably go down well with a mango lassi (WordPress keeps trying to make it a mango lasso) or cup of tea.

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  8. Georgeann

    Good for you for fighting off the Girl Scout cookies this year! Not a fan of Girl Scout Cookies either. I think they taste gross, and as a parent trying to encourage healthy eating habits in my own daughters, I have a hard time rationalizing the sale and consumption of the nasty little things. Oh well, free country and all. What I really want to know is whether or not we will see your famous cookie recipes on your blog anytime soon? Or are they secret recipes? I LOVE making gingersnaps, and prefer to make homemade cookies! Homemade always tastes better, and the process of cooking is healthy and therapeutic in many ways.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      You can use the excuse that you are gluten free, I am using the excuse that I am trying to watch my weight. But the reality is I don’t want to eat them because they are, as you said, nasty.
      I’m not the recipe posting kind, but the gingersnaps are out of the 1970’s era Joy of Cooking with a note to remind me to “double the spices”. It is a great recipe on its own.

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  9. chronomatrix

    Jamie, the “A boy and HER dog” is practically strange… boys are “his”, and GIRLS are “her”. Why did you say a boy and “her” dog? It feels strange, well, it’s a creative name. Just curious about why you put “her” instead of “his”.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      I can see from your blog that English may not be your first language – and that you don’t have an about page.

      First, if you ever want to know more about a blogger, look to see their about page (you may want to make one for your blog).

      If you look at mine, you will see that I am a butch lesbian who feels very boyish, and always wanted to be a boy.

      In practical terms, that makes me transgender but not transsexual (maybe genderqueer?). So I am both a boy and an adult woman, which is confusing, but makes for a good blog, and sometimes inconsistent pronouns.

      Hope this clears it up.

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