Appetizers
February 25, 2011
Are Girl Scouts Taking us to the cleaners?

Girl Scout cookies.JPG
By Blair Anthony Robertson
brobertson@sacbee.com

OK, so we don't want to jump all over the Girl Scouts. We love their cookies -- at least we used to.

But check out this photo: On the left is the peanut butter sandwich cookie sold by the Girl Scouts. On the right is a peanut butter cream cookie made by Back to Nature, which we bought at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

Not only does the cookie on the left have "partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil," but the amount of filling is just insulting. Bernie Madoff wouldn't sell these cookies.

Perhaps now is the time for the Girl Scouts to learn a little something about quality control and get more involved in the oversight of the cookie process. According to the box, the cookies are made by ABC Bakers/Interbake Foods in Richmond Va.

Sure, it's great that the Girl Scouts raise money by satisfying the nation's sweet tooth. They've been doing so for 100 years. In fact, being accosted by moms at folding tables outside grocery stores while their daughters talk amongst themselves and barely pay attention is one of the great American traditions.

But let's reinvent these woeful cookies. First, we wouldn't feed partially hydrogenated oil to terrorists, so let's get it out of these all-American cookies. It's pretty much a consensus that this stuff is sinful. Looking at the list of ingredients of both cookies, the worst culprits appear to be vegetable shortening and corn syrup.

Then let's add actual filling that amounts to more than a dollop. Perhaps it's time to contract with a baking outfit that aims to produce a significantly better product, one that mimics the original Girl Scout home-baked cookies of generations past.

Certainly, cookies are never going to be mistaken for health food, but they don't have to be this bad.

Make a better, marginally healthier cookie, Girl Scouts, and next year I won't pretend I'm answering my iPhone every time I walk past your folding tables.

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