Thursday, October 12, 2017

Girl Scout Cookies

Thin Mint, Homemade, Grasshopper, Food  I wondered what the first commercially marketed cookie was but got side tracked when I ran across some history on Girl Scout Cookies. I have bought them in the past even though we do not have any girl scout troops in the village.

Usually one of the teachers has a niece, sister, cousin, or other family member who is selling cookies so they place a sign up sheet in the teachers think tank for people to place orders.  They do charge a bit more because they have to be shipped out.

I love Tagalogs while others in my family love the thin mints.  I think everyone has their favorite.  So how long have the Girl Scouts been selling cookies?  For longer than I expected.

Girl Scouts began selling cookies back in 1917 as a way to fund their activities but the cookies were made by the girls and their mothers. 

In 1922, the Girl Scouts published a sugar cookie recipe in the groups magazine to be made by girl scouts for sale as a way of financing their activities.  One could argue this was the first cookie sold by Girl Scouts.  It was suggested these cookies be sold for 25 to 35 cents per dozen back then.  Each dozen were wrapped in wax paper bags and sealed with a seal before being sold door to door.

In 1934, The greater council of Philadelphia arranged to have their cookies commercially made for sales while a year later, the Greater Federation of Girl Scouts in New York had the words "Girl Scout Cookies" printed on the box of commercially made cookies they sold. In 1936, the National council began licensing bakeries to produce commercial cookies.

Due to shortages of sugar and other baking supplies, girl scouts could no longer bake cookies so they switched to calendars until the end of rationing after the war. By 1948, 29 licensed bakers produced enough cookies to meet increased demand.

In 1951, Girl Scout cookies came in three basic flavors, sugar, mint, and sandwich. At the time, cities expanded and suburbs grew up around cities. The Girl Scouts in the suburbs set up at shopping malls to sell their cookies.

In the 1960's the number of bakers dropped to 14 but more and more cookies were being sold due to the children born right after World War II were joining girl scouts.  In 1978, the number of bakers dropped to four to ensure lower prices and quality while all the boxes featured the same designs showing girl scouts in action.

As time passed, the number of bakers dropped to two.  Boxes and logos were redesigned and sales continued to grow. Girl scout cookies are now kosher and there is even a gluten free version being offered. 

I admit, I was one of those girls who went door to door to sell cookies.  I never sold enough to receive any award nor did I go much past the age of 15 due to moving overseas but I still buy the cookies, toss them in the freezer, and enjoy them through out the year, especially the thin mints.

Now for the Fun Facts.

1. There are only two licensed bakeries who make official Girl Scout Cookies.

2. They may make up to eight types of cookies but thin mints, peanut butter filled sandwich cookies, and shortbread cookies must be made every year.  This is one reason the varieties change from year to year.  Not all are made every year.

3. Each bakery names its own cookies which is why the same cookies have different names in different parts of the country.

4. Girl Scout cookies are sold for different prices in different parts of the country because the councils are the ones who set the price.

5. Thin mints are the best selling cookie of all the varieties.

6.  The girls sell over 700 million dollars of cookies each year.

I hope you enjoyed this quick look at history.  let me know what you think.

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