Girl Scouts and cookies

Of course, I was a Brownie, no Daisy then and Junior Girl Scout who tried to sew badges on my Girl Scout sash…to no avail. Mom was not the sewing type. I remember attending some meetings in a friend’s basement and do remember attending a talent show with my troop at McCormick Place. Ultimately, though, it was all about cookies and awards even back in the 1960’s. Our favorite question was; would you like to buy a box of Girl Scout cookies? We sold sometimes outside of stores like Goldblatts in South Chicago or the Jewel in Downers Grove in later years. But most of the time, we went door to door. There was no internet or fear of strangers but there was thin mints which the neighborhood seemed to enjoy the most. We didn’t sell at school and my Mother was a firm believer to not call her friends. I traipsed through the neighborhood, trying to pick out homes where I knew people would buy especially if I was doing this yearly. I don’t remember winning anything.

During the 1960s, it was a huge time since Baby Boomers really expanded the Girl Scout Troops and cookie sales boomed. Fourteen licensed bakers were mixing batter for thousands upon thousands of Girl Scout Cookies annually. By 1966, a number of varieties were available. Among the best sellers were Chocolate Mint (now known as Thin Mints), Shortbread, and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.

Juliette Gordon Low began Girlscouts with small group in 1912. She was also known as Daisy. According to the Girl Scouts main site, there are over 2.6 million Girl Scouts (1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults) in 92 countries and more than 50 million alums, united across distance and decades by lifelong friendships, shared adventures, and the desire to do big things to make the world a better place, During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Girl Scouts did fight for racial equality and Girl Scouts elected its first African American national board president, Gloria D. Scott. Girl Scouts established the Daisy level for kindergarten-aged girls as interest in Girl Scouting expanded in the 1980’s.

In the 1990’s my daughter was not interested in Girl Scouts but there was always somebody in the neighborhood selling cookies and I always bought from the first that still came to the door. Girl Scouts received a technology badge since computers were making there way to every home and business. Girl Scouts entered the first few years of the new millennium focused on the healthy development of girls, establishing the Girl Scout Research Institute to conduct studies and report findings. And most of all, there were eight cookie varieties including low fat and sugar free cookies to chose.

Today technology still plays a huge a role in learning but outside activities such as climbing and swimming are extremely important for the health and welfare of young girls as well as cookies!!!!!! I just bought them a few weeks ago from a teacher at school whose daughter sells them and has won awards. Today, there are Toast-YAY, Lemon Ups, Lemonades, Shortbread, Tagalongs, Samoas, Toffee Tastic, Do Si dos, S’mores, Caramel Chocolate Chip and still……….THIN MINTS!!!! Always and forever!

Want to buy a box of Girl Scout cookies?

Saluting lovers of peanut butter

By Caryl Clem:

Savored American foods have a special recognition day.  I felt guilty about missing one of my favorite all American foods on its special day January 24th.  After reading the holiday list for March, I discovered my chance at redemption.  March 1st is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day.  My favorite 1950’s lunch, a peanut butter and banana sandwich nestled in my brown lunch bag alongside an apple and a homemade cookie. I refused to eat pink, slippery meat or anything that came out of a can. Even when high school offered cafeteria food, I kept a jar of peanut butter in my locker as a backup against hunger. I had learned that during World War I and II, peanut butter sandwiches were a military staple. The icon, Mr. Peanut, was shown wearing a uniform during WWII ads.  Today, Care Package Instructions for our honorable soldiers still suggest a jar of peanut butter.

We peanut butter lovers can claim kinship with Elvis, The King, who would fly a private jet to a restaurant in Colorado that featured his favorite peanut butter sandwich concoction on its menu. Even though the restaurant is closed, our modern social information network offers several how to video’s on YouTube explaining how to create Elvis’s Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon sandwich. Remember the detective Colombo’s trench coat with deep pockets he would slip food into during his scenes?  His snacks included hard boiled eggs, peanut butter with raisins sandwich or chili.  If you are a devoted older fan of peanut butter, join the adult Peanut Butter Lover’s Fan Club, and read posts from celebrities written by Texas hauntings.  Current celebrities range from Tom Selleck , Barbara Walters, Billy Joel, to Madonna.

John Harvey Kellogg (founder of Kellogg cereal) patented the first process for making peanut butter in 1895 by steaming the nuts and served it to his patients at his sanitarium. By 1897, the magazine, Popular Science News did an article covering “Recent inventions” suggesting that peanut butter could be used in cooking just as a shortening replacing butter or lard.  By 1902, a Mrs. Rore in her New Cook Book, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania published a peanut butter cookie recipe.  At the 1904 World’s Fair, D.H. Sumner successfully sold a peanut butter treat at his concession stand. New methods evolve, a Californian patents churning peanut butter and using roasted nuts improves the taste.

As a source of protein that was economical and tasty, in 1927 Peter Pan Peanut Butter was noted as one of the most popular snacks for that year. Are you a crunchy or creamy fan? The West section of the U.S. and males usually favors crunchy style while the Eastern section and females favor creamy.  Peanut butter becomes the new star in a cookie recipe dessert in 1932 published The Schenectady Gazette. A section of the cooking instructions includes the distinctive fork crisscross technique used to flatten the peanut butter cookie mound, to ensure evenly distributing the heat while baking.

Proving the popularity of peanut butter cookies today is the statistic from the National Peanut Board reporting 230,000 pounds of peanut butter are used a week to bake the Girl Scouts Do-si-do’s and Tagalongs.  Pillsbury recommends the best recipes for peanut butter cookies in 1933 and 1936. The Peanut Blossom claims fame in 1999 in the Pillsbury Hall of Fame Bake-Off. This recipe was from Freda Smith of Ohio who had no chocolate chips to add to her peanut butter/chocolate chip cookie recipe so she topped the mound with a Hershey Kiss.

Saving the best for last, Peanut butter (or its taste cousin flavor blending caramel and peanuts) with chocolate lay next to each other in a candy bar. Love and marriage mates in the candy world, ingredients that stick together with ease.  According to current Google statistics, Number 1 candy bar debut in 1930 named after horse-Snickers, closely followed by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup first invented in 1923 by a Hershey employee. To keep his invention from being stolen, Reese first appeared in vending machines. By the 1940’s Reese started commanding the store market. Butterfinger bars were dropped from planes to introduce the new candy. Babe Ruth from the same candy company as Butterfinger comes in last. In an age of changing food tastes, candy bars created nearly 100 years ago are going strong.

The standard composition for peanut butter requires 90% no matter what your brand choice.  The oldest peanut butter company, Krema Products Company, is still operating in Columbus, Ohio. No matter what you combine peanut butter with; you will never have to worry about biting off more than you can chew.  Holidays celebrating the influence of the peanut include,  National Peanut Butter Day-January 24,Peanut Butter and Jelly Day-April 2  (,Peanut Butter Cookie Day-June 12,Mr. Peanut Day-April 20, Peanut Butter Cookie Day-June 12 Peanut Butter Month-November