Even those of us who "just say no" to Thin Mints can respond to this appeal
Okay, sure, sex is better than Thin Mints -- sometimes, anyway -- but Thin Mints you can buy by the box. If by chance somebody were to stick this plate of 'em in front of me, as they disappeared I would be wondering, "Are there any more?"
"Today, the Girl Scouts say they don't have the power to convince their bakers to do better. Ethel Jennings Newton wouldn't buy this excuse. . . . I wish my grandmother were here to join me in demanding that Girl Scouts CEO Kathy Cloninger do better than inexplicably claim her organization -- one that promotes girls' empowerment -- is itself powerless to better this situation."
-- Josephine Carothers, granddaughter of Ethel Jennings
Newton, inventor of Girl Scout cookies, on Huffpost Food
Newton, inventor of Girl Scout cookies, on Huffpost Food
Luckily, during the selling period(s), whenever they come, I rarely find myself in the path of junior tycoons selling Girl Scout cookies. I wouldn't buy them, because I don't dare buy cookies by the package (for someone with essentially no impulse control, the portion-control rule of thumb is: "portion size = 1 container"), but I would feel bad, both for stiffing the enterprising scout and for depriving myself of the pleasure of Thin Mints.
For better or worse, I do sometimes have access to purchasers of Girl Scout cookies who share their bounty. And I am hopelessly unresistant to Thin Mints. And the only thing I can ever think about when I'm eating one is eating the next one. So my attention was caught by a HuffPost piece by Josephine Carothers the granddaughter of Ethel Jennings Newton, the inventor of Girl Scout cookies, "Why the Inventor of Girl Scout Cookies Would Be Ashamed Today."
Here's the gist of it (additional links onsite):
Knowing my grandmother, whom we called "Angel," I can say this: Today, Ethel Jennings Newton would be ashamed of the destruction her inventiveness is causing in the lives of those powerless to stop it.Josephine adds that she has "signed on to their campaign on Change.org, and so have 60,000 others."
She would oppose the use of palm oil in Girl Scout cookies -- a degradation of the product, by the way, as they originally called for butter -- because the cultivation and export of palm oil is destroying rainforests in Southeast Asia and the lives of girls in those countries. She would abhor the fact that girls "overseas," as she would have put it, are made to suffer in poverty to benefit their American counterparts.
Certainly, she would stand with Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, two dedicated young girls from Michigan who are asking the Girl Scouts to rid Thin Mints, Trefoils and other beloved cookies of this harmful ingredient.
The Wikipedia article on Girl Scout cookies, which contains way more information than I dreamed, or perhaps even wanted, confirms that Thin Mints account for 25 percent of total sales. Oh yes, it also goes into transfat content, which has been much lowered in recent years, but not eliminated, except from the labels:
US Government labeling regulations require that trans fat contents be rounded to the nearest integer number of grams; therefore, one can conclude that there are less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per cookie of Girl Scout Cookies, though "neither the Girl Scouts of the United States of America nor its two bakers, which includes the Kellogg-owned Little Brownie Bakers, would reveal how much trans fat is in its three most popular cookies". In the case of the Girl Scout cookies, the popular Samoas, Tagalongs and Thin Mints are made with hydrogenated oil. But the amount falls below the 0.5 grams per cookie that the Food and Drug Administration requires on labeling. Hence the "no trans-fat" claim.
Apparently the Wikipedia writer has heard about my problem with Thin Mints:
For people who have considered eating a whole box of Girl Scout Cookies at one time, labels state that a single serving is two Tagalongs or four Thin Mint cookies. That may seem a little unreasonable. "Not true", said the Food and Drug Administration. The agency directs the bakers to base serving sizes on its chart of "Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed." or RACC. This chart is based on data from a national survey that indicates what people eat "under actual conditions of use." A Chicago Tribune story extrapolates: "In this case of Samoas, a serving is two cookies. So a person who eats eight of them could be taking in nearly 2 grams of trans fats -- a substance the National Academy of Science says cannot be safely consumed in any amount." The National Academy of Science says that there isn't enough research yet to recommend any safe amount of trans fats. Ban Trans Fats, Change.org and the Center for Science in the Public Interest are filing petitions to the Girls Scouts and the F.D.A. to ban trans fats altogether. [Footnotes onsite.](Oh wait, this is only about people who have considered eating a whole box of the things at one time. Doesn't say anything about people who, er, may have actually done it. Whew!)
Josephine offers an affectionate portrait of her doughty grandmother, and includes this paragraph from a letter of invitation sent to her mother and her three sisters by the Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia to a 60th-anniversary celebration:
It was the middle of the depression. The Philadelphia Girl Scouts owed over $7,000 on Camp Indian Run and had $3.36 in the bank. Ethel Jennings Newton, mother of four, matriarch of Daylesford, and Commissioner of the Council, was frustrated by her continual struggle against bankruptcy [for the camp]. She convinced the president of Keebler to bake a trefoil-shaped cookie which her 7,000 girls would sell door to door. This redoubtable woman and her Board made all the tough choices for this new enterprise including packaging, pricing, and creating a distribution system that works as well now as it did 60 years ago.
I don't worry too much about the transfats in Thin Mints, because I don't eat them anymore. Except the occasional package that happens to land in front of me.
Labels: Girl Scout cookies