Dieting/WLS, Fat, Food, Self-Image

Attack of the Samoas

All right, I have a confession to make: I really don’t like Thin Mints.

Judging by some recent posts about Girl Scout Cookie season (and their comments), I guess this is a little heretical. As is the fact that I’m not too fussed about Girl Scout Cookies in general. I do like me some Caramel deLites (that’s what Samoas are called around these parts), but there are plenty of very similar cookies I could get at the grocery store year-round if I really wanted them. And I usually don’t. They’re tasty, but… so are a gazillion other things. Not to mention, the older I get the less I’m inclined to go for highly processed, packaged cookies at all. They were never all that high on my Favorite Treats list to begin with, and these days, living in a city where I can get awesome homemade (or close to it) cookies at several locations within 2 blocks of my apartment, I rarely find myself craving the kind sold by little girls or elves.

(Please note that this is not me getting on my food snob high horse. My food snob horse is built more like this. Packaged cookies just don’t happen to do it for me.)

So I’m feeling rather left out as I observe all the OMG THIN MIIIIIIINTS! comments sweeping the blogosphere these days.

And also, rather angry.

Why angry? About cookies? Well, let’s start with the FAQ at the Girl Scouts of America’s site.

Q. Obesity is at epidemic levels, particularly childhood obesity. Does it concern you that by selling cookies you are contributing to a very real health threat?

Q. How do you answer concerns of those on low-carb diets?

Okay, so who wants to bet me a nickel that first question was submitted by MeMe Roth? As for the second, I cannot even believe this is a real question, let alone a frequently asked one. You know how I answer the concerns of those on low-carb diets? DON’T EAT FUCKING COOKIES.

And that’s just the tip of the ol’ ‘berg. Yesterday, Shapeling Stefanie sent me a link to this post at Ken Levine’s blog, by his daughter Annie, about how Girl Scout Cookies now come in those infernal 100-calorie packs — and, get this:

On the back of each of the cookie packs it says this:

Girls can burn calories and have fun with 30 minutes of activities like these: Ice Skating—126 calories. Gymnastics—72 calories…


Why don’t they just start giving out merit badges for weight loss? Or maybe their uniforms could only go up to size “medium” …y’know, for incentive. Why can’t they just call them “fun packs” like the good old days? When these little girls start thinking they’re fat and asking how many calories are in their graham crackers and juice box, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

*epic headdesk*

But on the positive side, at least I’m reading that and thinking, “Yay, this Annie person is sane! And funny! That makes me want to stick my head in the oven a little less!”

Then I get to the comments.

I would worry less about the kids, and more about all those adults who are so weak in the face of sugary, fat-laden empty-calorie treats that they can’t face a normal-size package of them without eating the entire thing.

Some might think that it’s a bad thing to introduce kids to this stuff, but with so many bad options for (fast) food, I think it’s best that they learn about healthy eating when they’re still young.

At the same time, kids are exercising less and less and getting fatter every day. And here they are selling cookies. I don’t condone anorexia, but it might be a good idea to teach kids that you can’t eat box after box of cookies and never gain any weight

You don’t condone anorexia. That’s… nice.

And, finally, we get the full-on OBESITY EPIDEMIC BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA Concern Troll:

Really!?!? Don’t you think it’s about time we start teaching kids how to manage a healthy lifestyle though good eating habits? Teach them how calories are a measure of energy and how that is converted once we eat it. We spend way too much time marketing food to our kids it is no wonder that obesity has become a problem in our country. Over the past 20 years, the proportion of overweight children ages six through 11 has more than doubled and the rate for kids 12 through 19 has tripled (CDC).

You’re misplacing blame here Annie… Eating disorders are not a result of teaching kids to eat healthy. Generally teaching healthy eating habits would include teaching kids about the dangers of not eating enough. I think the only thing Girl Scout cookies teach kids is how to push product. You’re way off base here. Honestly, the Girl Scouts should probably be selling fresh fruit.


Where to fucking begin? How about the assumption that without the aid of 100-calorie packs, people will be helpless in the face of the dreaded (but oh-so-desired) Girl Scout Cookie, and just eat BOX AFTER BOX? Children, even. Children with their child-sized stomachs. There’s certainly no way they would naturally figure out when to stop, based on cues like, oh, I don’t know… feeling satisfied? Or, failing that, eventually feeling like they’re gonna barf — which, for the vast majority of kids, will happen well before they get through one box? (And also might just teach them a valuable life lesson like, “Don’t eat so damn many cookies,” without parents, educators, or MeMe Roth ever having to say a word?)

For the gazillionth fucking time, eating “box after box” of cookies is called Binge Eating Disorder, not “What every human being would naturally do if we weren’t all bugfuck crazy about calorie-counting.” But if you don’t have BED, and instead you just have some insane fucking nightmare/fantasy about how you TOTALLY WOULD eat box after box of cookies if you ever stopped rigidly controlling your diet for ten seconds — and accordingly, you assume that that is how all fat people eat, all the time, so not only do you have to rigidly control your own diet, you’re morally obligated to make sure everyone else is equally vigilant? Well, you might have an eating disorder, too, come to think of it. But you also might just be a giant douche. In which case, please eat 10 whole boxes of STFU and call me in the morning.

Having said that, in the case of Girl Scout Cookies, this kind of hysteria is a little easier than usual to understand. As the Rotund points out, the fact that the cookies only come around once a year is a brilliant marketing plan — which is to say, it’s a brilliant recipe for making people fucking fetishize a bunch of frankly lackluster cookies.

This is one situation in which I think people freak out and eat more than they planned as an overreaction to deprivation. Meanwhile, because I’m allowed to have a fucking cookie whenever I want, I’ve had the same box of Thin Mints in my freezer since LAST Girl Scout cookie season. I only eat them with vanilla ice cream and only when that is what I really want.

They are just cookies.

I mean, of course we all know she’s lying about that box of Thin Mints, seeing as how she’s fat and all. Fat people can’t keep a box of cookies in the house for more than 15 minutes! Especially not GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! But she has a point.

If you feel powerless in the face of Girl Scout Cookies in a way you don’t when you go up against, say, Keebler or Nabisco or Mr. Christie’s products? That is not because they’re just that good (they’re really, really not) or because they have crack in them, or — listen up, this one’s important — because you are secretly harboring a hideously undisciplined, morally suspect Fat Person inside you, who’s just dying to get out and ruin all your hard work. It’s because they ONLY COME AROUND ONCE A FUCKING YEAR. You know the desired object will soon disappear for a long time, so you flip out and hoard it. It ain’t rocket science. I mean, how many Shamrock Shakes have I ordered in my lifetime purely because, you know, it’s March! It’s green! It’s special! — only to be reminded with the first sip that I don’t even like minty stuff that much? (Which is why I don’t dig the Thin Mints. I do make an exception for mojitos, though.)

And now, I hope you’re sitting down and have some smelling salts and a trusted friend nearby, because I am about to BLOW YOUR MIND…

People tend to want what they can’t have. It’s true!

For Maude’s sake, y’all. As I’m reading all this blog-talk about Girl Scout Cookies, I keep thinking of the non-American readers who must think either A) We have all lost our goddamned minds, or B) “Damn, those cookies must have solid gold in them!”

Dear non-American readers,

It’s A.

Love, Kate

And as for trying to teach little girls to “eat healthy” by encouraging them to count calories consumed and burned, I will leave you with a quote from this brilliant (if not entirely fat-friendly) article La di Da linked to in comments the other day (emphasis mine):

Health and education professionals who work in the treatment and prevention of child obesity also need to be aware of the fact that their best intentions may have the potential to inadvertently do more harm than good. The unintentional creation of body image and weight concerns, dieting, disordered eating and eating disorders is a probable outcome of child obesity prevention programs that focus on the ‘problem’ of overweight and refer to issues of weight control. The vast majority of overweight children and adolescents know that they are fat and subsequently develop a poor body image and a fear of food (O’Dea et al., 1995; Neumark-Sztainer et al., 2002Go), as do many normal weight youth who incorrectly perceive themselves to be ‘too fat’ (Croll et al., 2002Go). It is a common myth that overweight children and adolescents are unconcerned about their weight or make little effort to try to control their weight. Health education messages about overweight and weight control are likely to make young people feel worse about their bodies and themselves in general.

Put that in your 100-calorie pack and eat it.

147 thoughts on “Attack of the Samoas”

  1. For the record their uniforms might as WELL only go up to a size medium. They never fit me. They are not designed for little girls with bellies or who are tall for their age. By the time I was a junior girl scout I would just wear something green that I found because they didn’t have a uniform that fit me. (They’ve changed them since I was a girl scout, so hopefully they are better.)

  2. Never dug the Girl Scouts (except for when my little sister was a Brownie) and never dug their cookies. You can get a million other kinds of cookies that taste exactly like box and plastic. In my opinion, they’re really not worth it.

  3. Well said, Kate. And that from a woman who waits all year for her Thin Mints fix! LOL!

    In my case, it’s more nostalgia than flavor. I was a Girl Scout, and I won the troop award for selling the most cookies two years running. When I see the kids out selling, I see a little bit of my childhood and buy cookies. Are they really good cookies? They’re okay for mass manufactured, hyper processed ones, yes, but I know absolutely that I can make better cookies at home.

    Do I binge on them? A little bit, yeah. I tend to eat the entire box of Tagalongs in one sitting. It’s not that I can’t stop; it’s more of a tradition at this point, like deliberately overeating a little at Thanksgiving. I can stop, but I choose not to. Then I keep my Thin Mints in the freezer and have a couple whenver I feel moved. Sometimes the box lasts a week. Sometimes it lasts for a couple months.

    Would I buy them at all if they were available all year long? Probably not. As I said before, if I want cookies, I can bake much better ones. The combination of nostalgia and limited availability, though, sells them to me every year.

    That and it’s hard to turn down cute kids selling something sweet to support an activity one doesn’t actively disapprove.

  4. Among the many, many reasons I love Cacie (of “tiny pants” fame) is this: She knows I really like Samoas. She has heard me do my little rant about how there are only like eight in a box, so if Dan eats even one I get all territorial because then I only have seven left, even though the chances of him eating all my cookies are virtually nil. So what did she do? She bought me two boxes, and bought him a box of his own. TAKE THAT, FALSE ECONOMY OF SCARCITY!

  5. *applauds*

    Embarrassing Secret: I am still a Girl Scout. As of last spring, I have officially have been a Girl Scout for longer than each year’s crop of graduating Seniors have been alive (and I probably put most or all of the local ones through camp/Program Aide training/CIT training/First Aid/Small Craft/whatever).

    I can also say from experience that a kid might eat an entire box in one go, if her parents aren’t looking, but she sure as hell won’t do it twice. I still can’t look a Peanut Butter Sandwich cookie (aka “Do-Si-Dos” in some parts of the world) in the face without feeling sick.

  6. I generally agree with a lot of the points here, I just wish this didn’t take on such an undertone of slamming Girl Scouts, which for me (also a lifetime girl scout) and a lot of women has really served as an organization of emancipation, especially with regard to my body, because GS has always emphasized a wholist approach to recreational activity involving skill, self-challenge, and enjoyment of nature. GS was one of the few places that I got a positive picture of myself as a teenager. GS was also the only, and I stress the only, organization in my area as a youth that stressed any kind of racial or ethnic integration of growing girls, including Hmong and Native Americans.

    As far as cookies, I think the organization has gotten to some extent caught up in a bit of a maelstrom. There are historical explanations for why they sell cookies, and even if they switched to something else now, they would be undercutting a huge nostalgia element of their own appeal in doing a fundraiser. Think what you want about the cookies, but I don’t think the organization deserves the kind of negative attention it is getting either from MeMe Roth or fat acceptance people. Its record on women’s issues is better than you suggest.

  7. I was in girl scouts. Most of our outings where to go shopping (not something I squee over) and I think once we went camping. I thought girlscouts would allow me to go camping/hiking more often. Thats what the boyscouts did all the time, why not me too! It would seem thats not the case. Boyscouts grow up into survival man and girlscouts grow up to lead troop beverly hills.

    The cookies my family haven’t really touched or missed for years now.

    I remember one of the last times I sold them though, they had this little brown cookie with white icing. We got to try it because it was a new cookie, and something about being lowfat. The agreement among our group junior high age girls was that it tasted like someone had put a small amount of crispy icing on a circle of cardboard. It seems to have been dropped from the line up now though.

  8. I’m kind of confused. In your rebuttal to the people who want to shut down the cookie sales or make 100-calorie packs (heh, a couple weeks ago I watched a woman at work eat a whole box of 100-calorie Oreo packs in a single morning–just buy the 1-lb bag and don’t delude yourself), you seem to imply eating a whole box of cookies once a year is some sort of shameful/disordered “bad fattie” behavior, and that “good fatties” don’t do that.

    Sounds like the usual “fat people should be dieting/eating veggies and made to feel bad about eating normal food” claptrap.

  9. We bought GS cookies again this year, but only because 2 of DH’s granddaughters were selling them, again. If it were up to me, I would have said no. They’re ok, as far as any non-homemade cookie can be, but I prefer the cookies I make to any that can be bought, at the store or from Girl Scouts. I know it’s a fund raiser and all that, but really, I would just rather give them the money and not get anything in return (well, maybe a sticker saying I donated, like you get from the sheriff’s association). I like the Samoa’s, but I can get the same thing at the Wonder Bread store, 365 days a year, if I really want them (and I usually don’t). I can get a thin mint cookie elsewhere too if DH really wants them (and he would rather have my butterscotch walnut tollhouse cookies most of the time).
    I really think all the brou-ha-ha over them is the fact that you can only get them once a year, not because they are spectacularly good.

  10. As a young girl, I was a member of Girl Guides (pretty much a Canadian Girl Scouts). I was a big girl, having hit puberty at 10 AND being overweight. The uniforms wouldn’t fit me, unless i wanted to show everyone my butt and if I forsake breathing.

    My mom spoke to my leader about it who suggested I buy pants and a blouse – and those didn’t fit either. The only solution was me getting a pair of navy pants and a GG Tshirt.

    I was told I couldn’t wear that, that it broke uniform policy. I continued wearing it, and was eventually told I couldn’t return unless I wore a “proper” uniform. I got kicked out of girl guides for essentially being fat – they had official uniforms that fit me properly without being embarrassing, yet I was made to me in the wrong.

  11. Just reading the comments now.

    My mom is still a girlscout. She takes girls on hikes in the woods. She loves it. Don’t be embarrassed :)

  12. you seem to imply eating a whole box of cookies once a year is some sort of shameful/disordered “bad fattie” behavior, and that “good fatties” don’t do that.

    Actually, I implied nothing of the sort. I said pretty explicitly that eating “box after box” in one sitting would be indicative of an eating disorder. And I agreed with The Rotund that people who wouldn’t otherwise overeat cookies sometimes do with GS cookies, because of the whole scarcity thing. But there’s nothing there about “eating a box of cookies once a year.”

    And please, if you think I have any interest in distinguishing between “good” and “bad” fatties, you can feel free to piss off.

  13. i am a Girl Scout and have been for 25 years, I’m 30.

    1) Thank gods my council doesn’t have 100 calories packs. Not all councils use the same baker.

    2)what your troop does depends on your leader. my troop does camp my troop does NOT go shopping. this is why even though i don;t have kids i am a leader. i like the outdoors. too many adult women telling me how boring and sucky their GS experience was and i kept thinking WTF that’s not the Girl Scouts *I* was in!

    3)i LOVE thin mints and i can’t even eat 1/2 a box without feeling ill. seriously. Kate is right on about binge eating disorders.

    IMHO as someone who went through 12 years of scouts as a girl and earned my Gold Award (thats the equivalent of the Eagle) and has as i said been a scout for 25 years, the cookie program is not about EATING cookies it’s about learning to set goals, market, make change, public relations and much more. it makes me insane when people make cookie sales about obesity OMG!

    PS yes uniforms are better now (and way cooler)

  14. I really don’t crave sweet things all that much – my cravings tend to be of the salty/crunchy and/or protein variety – so Girl Scout cookies aren’t a big deal to me. My b/f brought home some Thin Mints last week and I ate a few, but…meh. I even like minty stuff (I go through Altoids like they’re crack), but the Thin Mints were merely OK. I like the Samoas better (mmmm….coconut).

    Shinobi, I had the same experience with uniforms, only I was in Camp Fire. Substitute red, white, and blue – oh so patriotic – for green, and selling candy instead of cookies; otherwise Camp Fire and Girl Scouts are pretty much the same thing, so far as I could tell (and I was in a GS troop, briefly). I loved Camp Fire (we did lots of artsy craftsy stuff and went camping occasionally), and stayed in it through high school – but had to make my own uniforms by late elementary school.

  15. Wow, now I really want to make some cookies.

    I don’t get excited about Girl Scout Cookies either, mostly because when I was a Girl Scout they were expensive at $2.50 a box and now they’re like eight bucks or something, and I’m really cheap.

    However, I thank Girl Scouts the organization for some portion of whatever sanity I have as an adult fat woman. When I was in middle school, it was decidedly Not Cool to be a girl scout. As a result, my entire troop of eight or so girls was fat. We didn’t talk about it, but there we all were, doing stuff and enjoying each other’s company, and being fat. When I was in 9th grade we planned a trip to Pennsylvania and all went on the trip. I think there were 9 of us and 7 out of 9 were fat. Of the other two one was very thin and decidedly geeky, and the other was conventionally beautiful and we hated her (which I’m not proud of ).

    I also had really good experiences at Girl Scout Camp, and I wish I could recreate that for every girl who gets picked on in school – two weeks out of every year when people want to be your friend and think you are awesome just as you are.

  16. Why do I love Do-Si-Dos so? I don’t know. There’s just nothing like them, for me. The oatmeal with the peanut butter, NOOMMMM. I normally don’t even go for boxed cookies at all, but if they were available year-round I’d be buying ’em, sure. Maybe not constantly, but they’d be bought and eaten (and not just by me but by C. too). Thin Mints are okay, but I go through them much more slowly. When I lived alone, two boxes in the freezer would last me until December. Now that I live with a freelance cookie fiend, not so much. (And chew on this, haters, he’s REALLY THIN.)

    I’m not sure why people feel the need to torture themselves with the idea that kids are less physically fit and eat more “junk” than a generation ago. It’s absolutely false. See here for starters. And on JFS, Sandy posted a study done by a CDC researcher in 2005 that tracked children’s activity and said this:

    He found that active transport, as in walking or biking for transportation or to-and-from school, is not a major source of activity for young people and that there has been little change over the past several decades. In fact, since 1977, children are bicycling nearly three times more and their walking trips have increased from 12% to just over 13%…For younger children, time spent in organized sports and outdoor activities increased by 73 minutes per week between 1981 and 1997.”

    The strange thing, though, is that most people would NOT be happy to hear that. They somehow have this need to believe that everyone else’s children (not theirs, of course, whether they have them or not) are spoiled rotten and being murdered slowly by joysticks and HoHos. It’s, like, almost an erotic fixation for them.

    I can tell you, having been in one of the vaunted “prior generations” that was (marginally) thinner and therefore ipso facto soooooo much healthier (NOT), that it was almost unheard of for children to eat fresh vegetables (other than iceberg lettuce and tomato salads) and whole grains in the 1970s. My mother was considered a FREAK for only letting us have “brown bread.” My brother and I were LAUGHED AT for not being allowed Twinkies in our lunches and Wonder Bread for our sandwiches. LAUGHED AT. Yet most of my classmates were thinner than I was, Twinkies and all.

    People really hate not being able to explain shit in ten seconds, don’t they?

  17. Seriously, who keeps setting the insanity bar lower for these people? If I lacked self-control I can think of a whole bunch of things I would do, but eating a whole box of cookies is pretty goddamed low on that list..

    Why is it that these same asshats who trust me to teach their future fucking doctors anatomy (although, some of the future doctors scare me far more than my teaching ability) can’t trust me to know when my stomach is fucking full? It’t the same people who sit on the Food Network’s comment board and comment on how irresponsible it is to show people cooking with – *GASP* BUTTER – but hot damn, wasn’t Saw III a great movie?

  18. i agree with Twistie — for me this year, it’s a nostalgia thing. i haven’t had GS cookies since i was a kid because there was a period in my teenagedom when there were no little girls in the neighborhood, and thus no girl scouts, and thus no cookies, and then i went to college, and well… 15 years later and i haven’t had a GS cookie in that long. i don’t live in the U.S. anymore, and when i read the rotund’s post i thought hmmm… i remember the good old days of vanilla ice cream and frozen thin mints… so i e-mailed my mom and she summoned back the little neighborhood girl scout for a second order (new generation, the scouts are back) and there will soon be a box of thin mints, one of caramel delites (we call them that too) and a box of peanut butter patties in the mail. they should be here in two weeks, and when they get here i pretty much expect to have a few of each and be underwhelmed. so kate, i’m with you more or less about the quality being not that great, because i definitely am a food snob 90% of the time. but there are things that i eat occasionally — sour gummy candies, PB cups, kinderbueno eggs — that also aren’t very good but there’s something fun and nostalgic about them that makes them fun to eat every so often. too often and you realize they aren’t that good.

    P.S. when i went on the GS cookie website to peruse the merchandise before emailing my mother, i was HORRIFIED when i saw that they had not one, but two diet cookies. one was a sugar free chocolate chip cookie that i suppose you could argue was put there for diabetic customers, but i doubt it, and then there’s that 100-calorie pack. and needless to say i felt like going back to bed when i read this bullshit about little girls being urged to think of ice skating in terms of caloric burn. i do not UNDERSTAND why so many people have their heads so far up their asses to think something like that doesn’t contribute to warped behavior/disorders. just don’t understand…. arrrrrrggggg……..

  19. While it’s definitely that I can make much better cookies at home… I love me a box of Samoas and Tagalongs. I like Thin Mints, I haven’t ever tried any of the other varieties.

    However this year I am short on Girl Scouts selling cookies so I guess I will miss out.

    I was a girl scout for a few years, we did mostly craft projects, no shopping. We had a 3 day camping trip but it was cut short as there were black bears visiting the camp so they made us all go home.

  20. Thank you so much for this post. I was at dinner last night (with a large group of people so not everyone was talking to everyone) and the conversation from the other end of the table that drifted down to me was “A friend of mine is doing psychology research and she found that dieters have a stronger gut reaction to good food they can’t have than other people! That’s why they can’t stay on their diets!” followed by “Oh my God, that’s so horrible, can they change in any way to become less like this?”

    Yes! It’s called not dieting! How can you have all the damn pieces but never connect the dots like that?

  21. What Eve wrote definitely could apply to me. Not all of the girls in my troops were fat, but it was a haven from a very unfriendly life at home and school. I did all manner of things that I would never have done through my family — camping, water and snow skiing, hiking, and other travel. By the time I got to high school, there was a fair amount of democracy — within the rules — but we were often the ones deciding what we did, elected officers, ran weekend camps for younger girls, etc. And Girls Scout sleepaway summer camp was great — slept out under the stars in a very rustic setting — few frills — but had wonderful experiences. These days, I prefer a decent hotel over a well-equipt campsite, but I’m so grateful that I learned that I could camp in a tent I set up myself, and it really saved my life. I know this isn’t everyone’s experience — so much depends on the troop leader and other parents involved, but I think it’s worthwhile to support organizations that provide space for kids to socialize and learn outside of school — especially something centered away from sports for the athletically challenged — whether it’s 4H or Campfire or scouting. This is also the recommendation of the author of the book “Please Stop Laughing At Us” and the web site It’s Not Just Joking Around. I haven’t read the book yet, and she’s not a mental health professional, but I heard an interview with her, and I think she has some good insights into the experience of the teased/tormented child — she subtitles her site: A suvivor’s guide to joking and peer abuse.

    Hey, if you don’t like the cookies, for whatever reason, don’t buy them. The Girl Scouts will manage. If you feel guilty about not buying them, well, that would be in the realm of your problem.

  22. Eve and WRT2, that was my experience, too. CampFire – both the regular meetings and the summer camp – provided a refuge for me of sorts. Most of the group members were fat, one was disabled, one was black (one of maybe 5 at my very white, suburban school), and the rest were considered geeks or were otherwise outside the “popular” group at school. At one point I had belonged to a different group that included all the kewl kidz and focused more on shopping and beautifying, and I hated it – I begged my mother to let me drop out. Instead, she became a leader and started our own group. Her camping experience was virtually nil, but she tried – resulting in some amusing memories involving mice scares, fires that wouldn’t light, and half-cooked ground beef stew. But the group kept me sane through junior high, providing me a group of friends and a few hours a week, at least, where I could be free to be myself. It was an invaluable experience for me.

  23. While I am generally very good at politely, cheerfully, and firmly deflecting pint-size sales people, my iron-clad rule is that I will buy at least one box of cookies from every Girl Scout who comes to my door. That’s because when I was in Girl Scouts I had to sell cookies, and I remember how hopeless and miserable it was. Buying the cookies was a way to comfort the child I was who HATED the whole business.

    But now they don’t do door to door sales around here anymore. They’re all set up at warm tables out of the weather at the entrances to supermarkets with chairs to sit in, and it’s very easy to walk on buy or smile and say “no thank you” when directly accosted.

    They’ve also made it easier by cheaping out on the cookie ingredients. Maybe the bakers in other regions haven’t, but the last time I had a Thin Mint it tasted like wax over cardboard. No chocolate, no mint. I used to love Thin Mints.

    It sounds like many commenters had vastly different experiences than I did in the Girl Scouts – I had a perfectly miserable time for the 7 years or so I was a member. (My mother’s insistence. I finally said NO.)

  24. The unintentional creation of body image and weight concerns, dieting, disordered eating and eating disorders is a probable outcome of child obesity prevention programs that focus on the ‘problem’ of overweight and refer to issues of weight control.

    I would only add, “unintentional” my wide, jiggly ass. Maybe parents don’t do it on purpose, but there’s money to be made and social/financial advantages to be had out of women’s insecurities. Start ’em young! Make ’em crazy!

  25. I’m in Canada and we have Girl Guides as opposed to Girl Scouts. We also have different cookies – half the box is vanilla and half is chocolate. They’re pretty tasty, and my mum always buys a couple boxes and gives one each to my brother and me. I enjoy them but they tend to go stale before I finish the box because cookies just aren’t really my thing.

    I was in Brownies (ages 6-8) and Guides (ages 9-11) and I loved it. We did all sorts of cool outdoor activities and because I’m not and have never been all that enthusiastic about team sports, it was a social thing for me with girls my age. My leader was very down to earth and just all kinds of awesome, and I have great memories of that time.

  26. I was in Girl Scouts, but didn’t last long because my troop leader was the female equivalent of Hitler and quite a few parents pulled their girls out of her group. But I digress.

    GS cookies were definitely better back in the day., but Thin Mints still remain my fave and I bought a box this year which I shared with my grandfather.

    It’s sad when people can’t even let girls sell these cookies and have support for their organization without bringing up the obesity PANdemic and once again stereotyping all fat people and children as nonstop eaters. When will they freaking get it? You don’t put children on restricted diets unless they have food allergies, period!

  27. Hey, if you don’t like the cookies, for whatever reason, don’t buy them. The Girl Scouts will manage. If you feel guilty about not buying them, well, that would be in the realm of your problem.

    Who is this directed at?

  28. I was in Girl Scouts. Thin Mints were my favorite – and no, I never have had a full box in one sitting, besides being OMG OBESE. I don’t remember the other cookies – I prefer homemade stuff now.

    But it’s sad that people cannot even eat a simple cookie anymore without some idiot whining about OMG OBESE kids and adults. IT’S ONE FREAKING COOKIE!

    And what, kids in past times didn’t eat cookies and other treats? Damn, my mom was making cakes by age 9 and cooking dinner by age 15.

  29. DH brought home a box of Thin Mints several years ago, he bought it from his boss’s granddaughter. I asked him why he didn’t get chocolate chip (assuming they have them) since he likes that kind. He said it was because all the women in the office raved about the Thin Mints. We each ate a couple of them and then the rest sat around until they got stale.

  30. Kate, sorry, it’s directed at the people who protest too much. Not you, or anyone here, but the cookie-haters out there. I am really sorry if anyone here felt that was directed at them.

  31. People like M*M* Roth make my head explode.

    Look, we’re all gonna die sometime. You cannot put it off just by not eating cookies. There is something to be said for taking a little joy in life – and sometimes, for some people, cookies are part of that joy.

    Because for all I know, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Or I could live to be 102. But either way, I’d like to be happy during my time here, and not-starving and occasionally having a treat is part of that happiness.

  32. different bakers, different sets of cookie products: Little Brownie Bakers put out the ones with the good names (like Samoas, Do-Si-Dos, etc. )…ABC Bakers put out the yuckier ones (Caramel DeLites and Peanut Butter Sandwich, etc.)..but for some reason they can all use Thin Mint–must be that important to sales! (nothing you can do about the baker who makes for your area though)

    If it weren’t cookies, the Scouts would just be selling more of that other fundraising stuff you don’t want: How many of you need some more wrapping paper?? And most councils are struggling–the sales mattter to the particular troop and to the larger organization.

    Was a Scout all through high school (got silver, but not gold). My best friend’s mom was our leader and it was one component of what saved me from my childhood. Still register as a scout and help my daughter’s troop as much as possible (yep, I’m the cookie mom). I’m just hoping it’s as great an experience for her.

    So Kate, I won’t put you down for any boxes :-)

  33. I guess it’s also directed at those who want the Girl Scouts to stop selling cookies. If people stop buying the cookies, the market for cookies dries up, Girl Scouts will find something else to sell. If people want to support the Girl Scouts but don’t want to eat cookies, they can always make a donation.

  34. I never got the hysteria about these cookies (especially not the damn Thin Mints….fer chrissakes, Keebler makes a copycat cookie that’s stocked at your local corporate chain grocer year round!). Only time I ever bought them was when my sister was stationed overseas and begged me profusely to send her some Samoas.

    The whole 100 calorie pack thing, though, is disgusting and ridiculous and infuriating.

  35. Yep, the Keebler Grasshoppers…they’re pretty tasty too.

    As for the 100 calorie packs, I haven’t seen them in GC cookie form, but I do buy the Keebler goldfish packs all the time. It sure ain’t for weight management though. I buy them because they make great mid-morning snacks at work.

  36. You know, I was a Girl Scout, and I remember winning awards for selling many, many boxes of cookies (mainly because my mom took the order form to work, where like a million nurses simply signed up, haha) but I don’t remember eating tons of them or being particularly fascinated by them. Maybe because, once a year, our living room was filled with like 8-foot high stacks of Thin Mints, etc. I ate my fair share and liked them, yeah, but maybe their availability is what makes me sort of indifferent to them as an adult?

    Anyhow, to get to the POINT of your article — I don’t think Girl Scouts should get a badge or something for learning how to count calories. I agree that snarfing boxes of cookies either describes binge eating disorder or a rebound from a bad bout of food restriction. And I think it is of critical importance that kids learn how to feed and take of themselves in a positive manner, not a restriction-ridden, guilt-inducing manner that is full of infantilizing rules and directives.

    I loved what you said in an earlier post about food having become so scary to people that we truly believe we cannot navigate feeding ourselves without professional assistance. 100-calorie packs and encouraging calorie counting among children only reinforces that complete lack of agency people come to have around food.

    And that is scary. That is a step backward from what we’re supposed to be doing, which is promoting critical health literacy so that people are fully able to make independent, autonomous decisions about their eating and health, based on analyzing the evidence and balancing that with how they want to live. Instead, we’re effectively hobbling people by continually telling them, at earlier and earlier ages, WHAT TO DO OR ELSE.

  37. Oh, and this?

    But if you don’t have BED, and instead you just have some insane fucking nightmare/fantasy about how you TOTALLY WOULD eat box after box of cookies if you ever stopped rigidly controlling your diet for ten seconds — and accordingly, you assume that that is how all fat people eat, all the time, so not only do you have to rigidly control your own diet, you’re morally obligated to make sure everyone else is equally vigilant? Well, you might have an eating disorder, too, come to think of it. But you also might just be a giant douche. In which case, please eat 10 whole boxes of STFU and call me in the morning.

    SERIOUSLY. Overarching, controlling busybodies have always been with us, but I guess people are “allowed” to be busybodies about relatively little anymore, so they focus it all on food.

  38. WRT2 — gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.

    Suzi, I’ll totally buy cookies to support your kid’s troop. I just won’t go OMG GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!!!! about it. :)

    And Peggynature, you just reminded me of one reason why I might just be bitter about GS cookies deep down. I was only a scout for one year*, and the cookie sale was the only interesting thing about that year. (I had a “let’s tour the bank and the post office!” kinda troop, not a “let’s make fun crafts and camp out” kinda troop.) Unfortunately, I barely sold any fucking cookies, relative to other girls — I don’t recall if I came in dead last, but I might have — because my parents staunchly refused to sell any of them for me. They were of the opinion that the whole point was for ME to do the selling, so taking the forms into work would be cheating. Naturally, I was literally the ONLY kid in the troop whose parents enforced such a rule, so I came nowhere near winning cool prizes.

    Child-scarring curmudgeon that I am now, I kinda respect my parents for doing it that way. But at the time, I wanted to kill them. There was a 10-SPEED on the line, for Christ’s sake!

    *I did, however, spend 2 years in the Y’s father-daughter “Indian Princesses” program, which I fucking loved. The cultural appropriation aspect makes me cringe now, but it was really fun — perhaps because the dads flatly refused to do anything boring just for our edification. (See the year we went on a “camp out” to a golf resort.) That only went from grades 1-3, so I joined Girl Scouts after that, expecting it to be just as fun, and boy, it wasn’t.

  39. Awesome.

    In Canada, the Girl Guides have three flavours of cookies, and they are available at two different times of year. And I’m pretty sure no one likes them that much, though they’re ok. This hysteria over GS cookies strikes me as very strange and effective marketing.

  40. Way to make me overthink my bad habits. ;)

    I’m one of those Thin Mint obsessives — I love them to death and make a point to buy a box or two every year. And sometimes? I will even eat the whole box in one day. I know, I know, it’s gross! And they’re not even very good cookies! And I’m buying into a deprivation marketing strategy! And… dude, I don’t care, because I love those cookies and haven’t yet found a good year-round equivalent. I will continue to believe that they have crack and/or solid gold in them, and I will continue to not give a shit that fat girl + box of cookies = some moron’s idea of WHY AMERICA IS OBESE. If these idiots can’t remember that thin people love and pig out on the cookies too, then I don’t need to bother explaining that my eating habits overall are pretty excellent and I get lots of exercise, or justifying my habit of eating a bunch of cookies once a year. They’re called “treats,” and even a bunch of them will not make a person fat when only eaten once a year. Also? It’s called a “treat” because it’s not really about rewards or earning or whatever — it’s just something you get to have, fat or not, because it’s nice. Gahhhh.

    (The original version of thta paragraph included the phrase “fetid chunks of dickcheese” regarding people who think cookies are teh evil fatty-makin’ devilz, so… there’s that, anyway.)

    I loved this post, Kate, but I also love Thin Mints. I propose a cage match. :D

  41. I have observed recently that when the subject of “100 calorie packs” or pre-made meals like from WW or JC comes up, some folks in the fatosphere defend the practice, saying “well I’m trying to learn portion control and I find that really helpful because it tells me what a realistic amount of food is.”

    Which makes my head explode. Because the idea that “a realistic amount of food” is the same for every single person on the earth, and is the same every time one sits down to eat, is more of the eating-disordered diet industry mentality. What defines a “realistic” amount of food (and what’s with that word, anyway? the dictionary definitions… confuse me in this context) is how much food meets your physical, emotional, and social needs at any given point in time.

    I don’t know how many Thin Mints are in a 100-calorie pack, but what’s “realistic” for me in terms of packaged cookies is almost always no more than 1 or 2 because I just don’t like sweets that much. Except that the other night, I took out a wedge of cheesecake that had been in my fridge for about a week (OMG a fattie was able to not eat her piece of cheesecake for a whole week? what is this world coming to?) and ate it in one sitting rather than spreading it over two or three sittings like I normally would. Why? Because I’ve been sick with flu for a week, and my appetite has been barely functioning plus my throat has hurt and I’ve been too exhausted to make eating sound very good. And when I had a few bites of cheesecake, I realized that it went down very smoothly, and it was filling, and it tasted delicious, and that was so awesome after a week of looking at food and going “meh.”

    (I lost 5 pounds. Anybody wanna get in on the ground floor with me for my brilliant new idea? “The Influenza Diet.” We’ll open a chain of clinics across the country where people will come to be infected with a new strain every couple of weeks, and the pounds will just melt away!)

    So normally for me, a pre-packaged “single serve” portion of cheesecake is way too much, which is not something I learned via the packaging, it’s something I learned by eating cheesecake and figuring out when I was done eating cheesecake. “Portion control” is not taught by letting someone else control your portions. It has to be internal.

  42. Kate, I thought I *loved* Samoas. Since starting Intuitive Eating, though, I am learning that a) I don’t like a lot of the things I once thought I loved (and binged on the moment my “willpower” cracked and I fell off the diet wagon again) and b) I *am* a MAJOR cookie snob. Give me bakery fresh cookies over boxed, processed crap I used to gobble up any day.

    I like Do-si-dos, the PB sandwich ones okay. I have a box of Thin Mints and another box of Do-si-dos in my kitchen. They’re still in the bag the nice little Girl Scout’s daddy (yes, this surprised me, too) put them in. That was a week ago yesterday. I’ve been meaning to find out if I still love Thin Mints. I’ve been meaning to have a couple of Do-si-dos with a glass of Ovaltine made with *gasp* 2% milk (because I’ve sworn off skim forever and can’t drink whole). I just keep… forgetting.

    Yes, I am a fat woman – a really fat woman, mind you – with a kitchen that has two boxes of Girl Scout cookies that have been in my possession for a week and I haven’t even cracked open the boxes.

    “Fat people can’t keep a box of cookies in the house for more than 15 minutes! Especially not GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!”

    To anyone who thinks that, I say bite my voluptuous ass. When I was dieting, I couldn’t have kept them in my presence for more than 15 minutes. I gave up dieting, and now it’s like, eh, whatever.

    But I’m glad you brought this up. Today I will find out if I actually like Thin Mints. ;)

  43. I wonder if prizes for selling the most cookies is an American thing. Because I did the whole program, and none of my troops ever had anything like that. Now I’m a leader, and we don’t have that either. I don’t like the idea of it, because a lot of it is luck, and how many your parents can sell, and to a certain extent how cute you are.

    Like a few other people here, Girl Guides was a great experience for me… I wasn’t fat, but I was awkward looking, and really weird, and Girl Guides was the one place I felt like I could really be myself and be accepted for who I was. So I’m definately a big supporter of the movement (well, that’s why I’m a leader despite not having any daughters.)

    Oh, and the uniforms (at least in Canada) now are cargo pants and tshirts, so definately more fat friendly than the old ones. We have a couple fat girls in my Brownie group, and their uniforms fit well and look cute.

    As for the cookies… yeah, I think a lot of it is the special treat aspect. Although sometimes I wonder if they do put crack in the thin mints, because they’re really not that good (the chocolate isn’t even real chocolate) but I can’t stop eating them! Maybe it’s just that I love love chocolate and mint.

  44. Maybe because, once a year, our living room was filled with like 8-foot high stacks of Thin Mints, etc.

    peggynature: One year, my cousin’s troop leader managed to forget entirely that there are twelve boxes of cookies in a case, and rather than ordering seventy extra BOXES for booth sales, she ordered seventy extra CASES. My cousins and I built forts out of the boxes for about two years. :)

    Elusis: No kidding. 100-calorie packs are totally unrealistic portions for me – my body files them under “joke,” not “snack.” My mother, on the other hand, can practically substitute them for meals.

  45. Just a few random, Girl Scout Cookie-related thoughts & experiences:

    My daughter is a Girl Scout and we’re both fat. I bought 8 boxes for us this year. We got them about 3 weeks ago, and we have 4 left. So much for the “eating box after box” theory.

    Kate, her troop has totally turned into the “lets tour the bank and post office” troop this year. The troop leaders announced at the beginning of this year (5th grade), “We’re going to focus our energies on earning the Bronze Level Award.” And with that went 98% of all the fun of being a Girl Scout, at least for my daughter. She now dreads meetings and begs out of them frequently. I’ve told her she needs only keep it up until the end of this year, just so she can go on the end-of-school trip the troop is planning. And next year (middle school) I hope to find her a different troop with leaders who aren’t so damn serious about the whole thing.

    I was also in Indian Princesses with my dad, and also had a blast with it. I loved the goofy costumes our mothers made, I loved the weekend campouts (where the dads all stayed up late drinking and playing cards), I loved it, period. I was genuinely sad when I “aged out” of that program.

    To the ladies who mentioned the lack of plus-sizing in GS uniforms. I had the same problem as a girl myself, but the Girl Scouts have now addressed that issue. Girl Scout uniforms for Junior scouts are available in 22 1/2 (girls plus size). Uniforms for scouts 11 – 17 are available up to women’s 3X. So yay for them for being size-inclusive!

    Oh, and one last important point about the Girl Scouts. I really appreciate that their cookie boxes, literature, etc., show photos of actual Girl Scouts of all shapes and sizes (yes, even fat ones) and not picture-perfect child models. They are among the few places my daughter can see photos of girls who look herself!

  46. Luckily, I didn’t get any really cool prizes for selling lots of cookies — just a lapel pin. Or I would have (and likely would still) feel horribly guilty about the whole thing. I felt sort of bad at the time, too, but it was for the benefit of the troupe, and my mom wasn’t the type to do it so that I’d be THE STAR or anything. She just knew nurses love them some cookies, and would give us the jing-a-ling for them, which they do and did.

    I did some selling door-to-door myself, and it was HORRIBLE for me, because I was pathologically shy. I made my older brother come with me so I could hide behind him. He would then be forced to recite my pitch for me. Once, a really nice (but firm) neighbor lady insisted that I come out from behind him and pitch the cookies myself. I did. It was probably good for me.

    As for other Girl Scout memories, camping was definitely the best part of the entire experience. I also liked that the meetings were held at a girl’s house who had seemingly unlimited access to Fruit Roll-Ups — for some reason, those things were like the Holy Grail of my childhood. And we stood in a circle around a mirror on the floor decorated with plastic foliage and pretended it was a reflecting pond, held hands, and sang “Make New Friends” and then, oddly, “Taps.” But maybe they do that in all troupes?

    I recall wearing my green Girl Scout cardigan (from third grade) several times in high school. I thought it looked nice!

  47. I have to admit, my first-glance read of the blog title was “Attack of the Samosas”, and I was wondering whether I wanted to read a post about the bilious aftershock of an evening of Indian food.

    Then I reread the title and saw it was ‘Samoas’, and wondered what was going on in the Pacific.

    When I got into the post and realized it was about GG/GS cookies – which I have never tasted nor been offered to buy – I can safely say that the correct answer is indeed “A” (although to the GG/GS organization the answer is clearly “B”).

    It was only a matter of time. The chocolate covered almonds will be the next to get serving packaged – and good luck to them on that one!!!

  48. I’ll buy a few Samoas or Tagalongs if any of my friends’ girls are selling, but I’ve never recovered from my horror the year that they changed the Trefoil/Shortbread recipe. Blasphemy!

  49. Kate I have a whole blog post about Shamrock Shakes and now one on this. Thing is, #1 I don’t like Peppermint, I like wintergreen or spearmint. #2, Shamrock shakes AREN’T that good – they’re a memory – one of the few pleasant memories from childhood, one that I seek out when it’s available. This year, sadly, it isn’t. GDI – they had ’em last year! #3 I like Grasshoppers better than Thin Mints. I, too, am a heretic.

    And I thought the question you mentioned WAS from MeMe Roth – who else could it be from? Hehe. Dumbass.

  50. Oh #4, I like homemade cookies. Packaged almost never do it for me – the only package cookies I’ve bought in the last 20 years were Oreos (when I have a craving for it – happens once in a while), Thin Mints or Grasshoppers. Other than that, yeah only homemade will do for me. I’m such a horse food snob. Or food snob horse. Or something – whatever, that horse is cute.

  51. Girl Scout cookie time mostly just gives me flashbacks to all those years of trudging door-to-door in knee-deep snow and reciting my feeble canned sales pitch, only to get rejected because I’d waited until the last moment and everyone had already bought cookies from someone else. I was that kid who disgraced the troop by selling only two boxes – one to my mom and one to my grandma.

    Thanks to my Scouting-induced PTSD I’m not a big fan of Thin Mints either. I like Samoas, but I’m allergic to the caramel. They taste so good I could easily eat a whole box (hey, there aren’t that many cookies in a box these days!) but I know if I do I’ll feel like crap, so it’s easier just to ignore them.

    It’s been refreshing this year, living in a country that’s oblivious to the cookie madness. Everything I’ve been reading online about them, though, is starting to give me that too-many-Samoas feeling.

  52. My daughter used to be a girl scout, and my husband and I hated cookie time because neither of us like the fucking things, she doesn’t even like them, and yet we were surrounded by buffoons who were in a FRENZY over these damn overpriced things.

    We still have a few boxes in the freezer, having finally thrown away the ones in the cupboard. I keep forgetting they’re there. I need to get rid of them before they multiply and overrun the house.

  53. I haven’t had a GS cookie since I dropped out about 20 years ago when I was 8. I just had some Samoas ice cream the other night at a friend’s house, but it’s hard to go wrong when you mix cookies into ice cream.

    I’m going to go bake my own damn cookies now. PB Oatmeal chip.

  54. Suezette – thanks for that info about the different bakers. When I sold GS cookies in the Texas Coastal Bend, I sold “Do-Si-Dos” and “Tag-a-Longs” but here in the Central Texas area now I buy Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Peanut Butter Patties. I thought maybe there had just been a marketing change in the 15 or so years since I left the Scouts.

    Sarawr – a good equivalent for Thin Mints my boyfriend and I have found are Oreos’ Pure Milk Chocolate Covered Mint. Not quite the same, but still yummy!

    I *loved* GS! We did lots of camping trips, public service (helping crossing guards, etc), bike riding, Christmas caroling, etc. I was surprised when I moved to another town at age 11 that no one was in GS. Everyone was in 4H instead. And I freaking hated 4H, but that’s a whole other story! :)

  55. I was a Girl Scout for 12 years, and I loved it. There were fewer and fewer girls in my troop the older we got, and by the time high school rolled around, there were only four of us. By this point, our “meetings” had evolved into hanging out and BSing about school, boys, and whatever else struck our fancy. And those other three girls are still some of my closest friends.

    And today, if I were going to go on a rant about Girl Scout Cookies, it wouldn’t be because OMG we can’t let people decide ALL BY THEMSELVES how many calorie to eat; it would be because they’re a rip-off for customers AND scouts. When I was in high school, cookies were $3.25 a box, but the girl’s individual troop only kept like 25 or 50 cents (I can’t remember exactly). It’s like, Hooray, you sold a whole case! Now we can buy, um… three packs of gum to chew on our way to Camp…

  56. Hey, thanks, ginviren! I’d been wondering if those mint Oreos were any good, but I’d been too lazy to try them because I only feel like having sweets about four times per year — I’ll definitely try them out next time it’s sugar day.

    And can I just say… trading cookie tips on a fat blog? Scandalous! It’s like we’re autonomous individuals with the right to decide for ourselves what we want to eat! Kate, something is awry!


    Reading all these comments kind of makes me wish I’d been a Girl Scout — even the “shopping” type troops sound a little intriguing now. When I was a kid I thought GS sounded horrendously boring, but something about camping/visiting post offices/going to the store with a big group of giggly girls sounds pretty appealing now.

  57. I loved Girl Scouts. It was the only possible way I was friends with the ‘popular’ girls. That, and we did awesome things like camping. For a year I was a Boy Scout, too (they had this joint venture but I forget what it was called), and we went canoeing and camping, which was super-awesome.

    (Also, they made scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, and then scrambled eggs with salsa. The ham ones were ‘girly eggs’, and the salsa ones were ‘manly eggs’. Naturally, all four females on that particular trip had scrambled eggs with salsa.)

    I never sold more than a hundred boxes of cookies though . . . and that was a whopping once. I wasn’t cute enough. The problem is, when you stop being cute, you actually need the money. Just to brag, though, I got a Silver Award, too. Didn’t finish the Gold Award project — dropped out as an eleventh grader.

    I almost bought a box of the sugar-free cookies, but I wouldn’t without tasting them first. In my defense, I was going to give them to the diabetic IT guy we’d been abusing at work for the last few days. The best thing about Girl Scout cookies is that they’re safe: almost everyone likes them.

    And this: For the gazillionth fucking time, eating “box after box” of cookies is called Binge Eating Disorder, not “What every human being would naturally do if we weren’t all bugfuck crazy about calorie-counting.”

    Yes. So yes. Every time you say it, it’s still YES.

  58. Gawd I hated selling those damn cookies, in hindsight it was the drudgery training necessary for the long string of low paying “pink collar” sales jobs. I never learned any “leadership skills” in GS, or any survival skills, or anything useful beyond hand sewing, all we ever did was have meetings where we did pointless crafts and learned techniques for selling the blankety blank cookies. It was like bizarre some pyramid scheme. Good on ya if you had a good GSA experience, all the Girl Scout Council did for us was take our cookie sales money and leave us high and dry.

    I do loves me some Thin Mints, and I can make the entire box disappear (usually because I don’t realize that I haven’t had lunch yet). The last time I bought a box it was $3 each, and I seriously doubted that the troop was going to see any of that money come back. Probably costs more per box now than my husband makes in an hour of work. I’m all for supporting the local troop, I think I’d rather just give them cash directly.

  59. Great post Kate.

    I still have the Girl Guide (or Brownies) PTSD going on as well. In 1981 I had someone tell me they wouldn’t buy a box of biscuits because then they would get fat like me. So yep, the fatphobia is not just confined to this time period or to specific countries. No wonder I was traumatised. Of course, I never spoke about it because it was all my fault for daring to be fat.

    A few years ago when my daughter was a Guide. Biscuit selling time was during my one adult dieting period where I was restricting like crazy. You can see where this is going. I ate and ate these horrible plain tasting biscuits (yep, these are awful in Australia) non stop for days and there started a new disorder of bingeing and purging. This ABSOLUTELY happened because I had been dieting and restricting.

    I still struggle with food but it is much easier with intuitive eating and because I am NOT WEIGHT LOSS DIETING ANYMORE it will never again be like it was.

    I just know all these children are getting their heads fucked up now by all this ‘cookie hysteria’. (See, I said cookie and it nearly killed this Aussie).

  60. Chalk up another deprivation marketing/nostalgia combo zombie.

    As a former GS whose uniform looked like a bell on her as a result of kidbelly — but led my grade in the troop in badges, mmm-hmm *nods* — I have been known to stop at the tables in front of supermarkets and converse with the girls about alternative marketing strategies and business school scholarships. Yes, I am a big dork.

    What I haven’t figured out, though, is that each year I’ll buy like, two boxes, and eat, like, one cookie. Not one box, but just one cookie. And then have to throw them out because I didn’t refrigerate them and they’ve gone stale. That can’t be intuitive eating; it seems more like sleep-deprived overworked forgetfulness. Does anyone have a lesson in that for me plz?

    I also am aghast that no one else on the board says they purchased Shortbread Trefoils. What is wrong with you people? :D

  61. I’m not crazy about the cookies, so sometimes I just make a donation to the scouts.

    Hey, here’s a wacky idea: let’s NOT force young girls into the diet mentality and eating disorders by talking about calories. How about we let them play and be active and have fun? Crazy, I know, but it’s just crazy enough to work!

  62. The last time I had Girl Scout cookies was probably the year I dropped out of Girl Scouts (it was a political statement…my troop leader yelled at a whole group of girls, including me, for one girl cursing; I found it supremely unfair that the whole lot of us should be in trouble when she only heard one voice, so I never went back). But I totally bought into the deprivation mentality at the time.

    I loved Samoas and I remember trying to sneak them because I knew they wouldn’t last forever. For whatever reason, I had issues with the idea that food would actually still exist later so something like this, where I really couldn’t get more later if I wanted to, that made me want to eat as many as I could, even at age 11.

  63. The Girl Scout experience can be very different depending on what part of the country your from. Each council has its its own way of doing things. I was a girl scout until i graduated from high school then went on to do two years in a boy scout program in college. I had some of my best and worst times during scouting events.

    I was part of the first rock climbing and caving group in my council (we demanded that our council allow us to do the climbing activities since boy scouts half our age were allowed to climb). My council was very over protective due to an incident in the late 70’s when a group of girls were murdered in our area during a camp out. Like most other groups they have the girls best interest in mind, but actual implementation is lacking sometimes.

    I think I officially lost faith in my council when one of my favorite councilors, that had grown up in our council , was fired because she was gay. All of the girls had a good idea but we didn’t care because she was a great person but when the head of the main local girl scout camp figured it out she was immediately fired with no official explanation. We all knew what was going on.

  64. Apologies for redundancies – didn’t read all the comments but it seems this one hasn’t come up: why Girl Scouts are selling the cookies.

    I mean, this probably all came from some Girl Scout leaders’ kitchen back in the day, right? When baking was the pinnacle of womanhood for little Scouts to aspire to? That alone makes me shameful of the cookies in my house, though I didn’t buy them this year… And if the Boy Scouts did sell cookies (they sold popcorn occasionally when I was young), I wonder if they’d have all that calorie-counting hoo ha on them? Harumph.

    Exhibit ZZ-17 on how misogyny and fat hatred overlap.

    Oh, and I also don’t like Thin Mints. Samoas, I do dig – but again, the older I get, the less exciting they are (same thing with Cadbury Cream Eggs and other childhood fetishes–and WHY? Because chocolate was a SPECIAL-TIME treat and these things were seasonal to boot.)

  65. You know, back in the day when I was a Girl Scout I used to look at the pictures on the cookie boxes and wonder why my experiences were never quite like theirs…

  66. What I remember learning from Girl Scout cookie sales was that cheaters win. It was supposed to be about the girls selling cookies (some sort of hard work equals prizes?) but at least in my troop it was a competition between parents to see who could sell the most at work.

    And the cookies used to be better.

  67. I still love Cadbury eggs, Laurakeet. I’m always a little embarrassed buying them (because i feel like they’re for kids and I don’t have any, though of course the supermarket cashier doesn’t know that). I buy them anyway, but I feel a little like I’m buying strawberry-scented bubble bath for myself. :) The GS cookies, though, have never been a fetish for me. I eat them about like I eat any other cookies, and if I buy them, it just means one less box of (likely better-quality) ones I’d buy normally. I much prefer the organic oatmeal-raisin cookies my supermarket carries, which are sweet and snacky but also nourishing and filling. GS cookies are empty calories, so even if I don’t care about the calories, they’re still empty, and then I just have to find some real food to eat. But I love mint, so I do enjoy the occasional box of thin mints.

    I wasn’t allowed to be in GS because my mom thought the whole thing was militaristic. Of course, she did let me be in Pony Club, which is sort of like GS but with more horses, but by that time I was old enough to make my own decisions, and when I realized I had unintentionally enlisted in the Marines, I quickly became less enamored of the whole thing.

    Oh, and Kate, that poor miniature horse (or Shetland pony, hard to tell) whose pic you linked to (My food snob horse is built more like this. ) is NOT healthy. Cute as a button, but fat for reasons that have to do partly with too much fresh grass and too little exercise, but partly because of a disease called Cushings, which is similar to diabetes.

    As with humans, it isn’t clear whether the weight gain and the disease have a causal relationship either way, but it is crystal clear that for some horses (and some breeds are more prone than others, pony breeds being especially susceptible) cannot tolerate sugar, period. It’s not an issue of getting fat (though that pony is, in addition to being very fat, quite unfit to my eye). It’s an issue of insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome/Cushings leading to a very, very painful condition called founder (somewhat interchageable with “laminitis”), wherein the hoof swells internally, killing off delicate structures that hold the whole thing together.

    Depending on severity, the horse may have to be euthanized, but at the very least, it’s very painful–think of the last time you injured a nailbed or got an infection under a nail, and then picture putting all your weight on that spot every time you move, and then picture weighing 1000 lbs (the size of the average riding horse) and putting all that pressure on the injury.

    I can tell by looking at that pony, with a furry winter coat in the midst of clear-not-winter lush grass, and I know he isn’t healthy. Minimizing sugars (and fresh grass is full of sugars that horses digest) and supplying appropriate medication is essential, and I don’t think it’s cute when that isn’t done.

    Sorry, that was way, way, way OT. I just don’t like it when the FA community makes assumptions about things it knows nothing about, like animal health. I mean, I don’t like it when anyone makes such assumptions, but I actually care about FA folks not opening themselves up to being thought ignorant. That’s all.

  68. To clarify, shaggy hair that doesn’t shed at the end of winter is one of the “duh” symptoms of Cushings. So if that were my pony, I’d get it off that grass and onto some meds posthaste.

  69. I loved the article you linked to, about the pitfalls of dealing with child obesity.

    You would think things like not shaming or guilting children about their weight would be common sense. It reminds me of an episode of House, where House let this mom have it, cause she wouldn’t let her daughter have a ice cream cake for her birthday.

    I agree with you on the subject of 100 calorie Girl Scout cookie packs. I love the 100 calorie pack Oreo Candy Bites candy though. You can’t expect me to give them up, on behalf of the greater issue of it being a part of calorie counting! NOOOO!!!

    Hi, I’m Jackie, and I’m addicted to Oreo Candy Bites.

    “Hi Jackie!” – Other people

  70. I was in the pet store on Friday to pick up some cat treats so that I’d stop getting the evil eye at home. While I was waiting in line I spied something that really brought home all of this hysteria–100 calorie treat packs–FOR DOGS! WTF?

  71. Hey, if you don’t like the cookies, for whatever reason, don’t buy them. The Girl Scouts will manage. If you feel guilty about not buying them, well, that would be in the realm of your problem.

    Well, we take donations! :D

    But seriously, if this was really about people wanting to support the Girl Scouts but not wanting to eat cookies, there are several very simple options. When you are asked to buy a box of cookies, say: “No thank you, but here is a $5 donation.” Or buy the cookies and give them to someone else. Or toss them into the food bank donation bin (that way you’re supporting the Girl Scouts and the food bank – win-win!) Or bring them to work and put them out in the break room (dieters may cluck about how you’re trying to sabotage them, but any student interns will be extremely excited about the free food). But I don’t think that’s what it’s about at all. I think it’s about two things – restricted eaters who are so terrified of devouring the world that they don’t even want to be exposed to cookies, and busybodies who don’t think it’s enough not to eat cookies themselves, they want the whole world to stop eating cookies because of the “obesity epidemic”.

  72. Criss, wtf?

    GS cookies are empty calories, so even if I don’t care about the calories, they’re still empty, and then I just have to find some real food to eat.

    So you don’t care about the calories, but you’re still using the language of “empty calories”? It sounds like what you’re trying to say is that Girl Scout cookies aren’t a fulfilling meal. Which, you know, okay. That’s not in doubt. But that doesn’t mean they’re magically making you fatter while providing absolutely no nutritive substance to your body, which is what the phrase “empty calories” implies. (Don’t drink your calories, anyone?)

    About the horse: Look, I don’t know anything about horses, so I’m not going to weigh in on the health of the adorable one linked. But seriously, I’m suspicious of the claim that you can tell just by looking at one profile photo that this horse has Cushing’s. And even if you can because you’re a vet or a horse expert or something, even if the horse does have Cushing’s, so what? It’s still a cute horse. There are lots of people who have Cushing’s, too. There are lots of people who have various diseases, disabilities, and medical conditions. Should we make a policy never to link to a picture of any of them because we might “open ourselves up to being thought ignorant’? Is it really a fucking problem that Kate linked to a picture of a horse that might have a health problem? Do you seriously think that people are going to take FA, which is about the dignity and equal treatment of human beings, less seriously because Kate thinks a horse that happens to have Cushing’s is cute?

    I just don’t like it when the FA community makes assumptions about things it knows nothing about, like animal health.

    Kate is an individual, not the FA community as a whole, and she didn’t make any claims about animal health. She just linked to a picture of a fucking horse. If that horse is not the picture of horsey health, so be it. Like people, it has no moral obligation to be healthy just so other people don’t feel sad when they look at it.

  73. The Boy Scouts still sell the popcorn here. And the Girl Scout troop my friend runs usually has a jar out for donations to the troop if you don’t want to buy a box. The ran into people all the time who maybe didn’t want the cookies, had already bought their allotment for the year, or only had a dollar on them and wanted to help out. She’s also pretty good about telling people that you can freeze the little suckers and you can keep them for months.

    Personally, I’m willing to write off the sugar-free GSC to diabetes anyway, even if a good portion of the intent was to make something more socially acceptable, just because they CAN now eat them.

    100 Calorie packs seem like a good way to have a little baggie of something in the purse for the munchkins, but I’m all about corrupting the system to work for me.

    When I was fresh out of my parents house I totally ate a tube of Thin Mints a day until both my boxes were gone, but that was almost entirely because I didn’t have someone telling me to eat some dinner first. This year, I only got one because I really do like Thin Mints, but I’m not over fond of keeping sweets in the house. The kids always eat them before I get any, so its just depressing. And, two overly active boys on sugar is not the best way for me to retain my sanity.

    Honestly, my father in law had a policy of telling my husband that whatever it was he didn’t like to eat was the healthy part, and I really don’t think it did him any favors. My father’s policy was eat until you’re done, don’t worry about finishing, and I’ve always had a fairly healthy relationship with food. But my dad can be very naturalist in the, “doctors aren’t God” kinda way.

  74. Coming onto an FA blog and saying “I can tell by looking at that picture that he/she/it is very unfit and unhealthy,” whether it’s about a person or a horse, has GOT to be a fucking joke.

  75. Oooh, more before I was done. I want to butt in on the empty calories thing! Pleeeeeease?

    See, I have a minor little problem with hypoglycemia. Nothing major, but if I go, oh, about 6-8 hours without eating I get shaky and nauseated. The ONLY thing that will get me un-nauseated enough to eat “real food” are those “empty calories.” The only thing that helps me is getting something I can use for energy into my system just as absolutely fast as I can, and nothing does that like a candy bar. Or even just one cookie. But if I don’t get my cookie, and give it a few minutes, I will barf up whatever “real food” I put in my stomach. Because its just too hard for me to deal with at the moment. Sugar, however, is easily converted into energy, because it is so close to glucose.

    See, the problem is, “calorie” is a unit of energy, not a statement of nutrition. In order for a calorie to be “empty” we must first decide that it is no purpose of food is not to impart energy. In that case, you could survive quite handily on vitamin supplements, since that would be the only reason you’d be eating if you took energy off the list.

    For more information energy without food, please look up “breatharianism.”

  76. weightlessone–My dog agrees. He’d like me to get the 10 pound bag of treats and he’ll eat it in one sitting. He would make a marvelous competitive eater.

    But, seriously, you can’t do portion control for your pets without excessive packaging to put 100 calorie portions each into their separate little bags? Have I gone mad or has the world?

    I did not enjoy Girl Scouts, hated selling the cookies, and was never a big fan of their cookies. I do love baking cookies. Something about the process makes them that much more satisfying.

  77. I also am aghast that no one else on the board says they purchased Shortbread Trefoils. What is wrong with you people?

    Well as I implied earlier…back when they were actually shortbread, I loved them. Now that they’re cardboard, not so much.

    But, seriously, you can’t do portion control for your pets without excessive packaging to put 100 calorie portions each into their separate little bags?

    I have this little thing called a scoop. :-)

  78. Karen, am also dealing with that hypoglycemia thing.

    So when I get up in the morning and I am stiff and aching and shaking so hard I can hardly take my meds, me and a nice slice of lemon bundt cake go well together. I make my own, so I know there’s not weird crap in it.

    I’d rather have it then than at dinner anyway. It gets overshadowed then.

  79. *sigh* Of all the times of year to be an expat, Christmas and Girl Scout Cookie Season have to be the two hardest. I may have to go bake something now.

  80. They’re back to being called Caramel DeLites, I believe. Or maybe I just got a really old box. I ate half a package when they came in, then I realized that they were sort of disgusting and was nauseated for the rest of the day. Yes, I was a big stupid sucker for the myth of the Girl Scout cookie. But no more!

  81. Oh never mind! I just got to Suzette’s post, where she explains the difference between the bakers. So the Samoas and Caramel DeLites do both exist in our one world. I’m glad that no universe-ending paradox is imminent.

  82. sumac, There are a couple of different bakeries that the Girl Scouts use, and they have different names for their cookies. We see it a lot in the DFW metroplex (Dallas/Fort Worth) because the FW area and the Dallas area are in different councils and use different bakeries. In the Midcities they actually brief the scouts and leaders about which are which so that people don’t feel like they have to cross council likes to get their cookies. That said, some people still have arguments over which bakery is better.

    Alexandra, I usually have that super sugary cereal that is supposed to cause diabetes. Fortunately for me, my body seems to have this survival thing well in hand and I haven’t dropped dead from a sugar reversal yet.

  83. Coming onto an FA blog and saying “I can tell by looking at that picture that he/she/it is very unfit and unhealthy,” whether it’s about a person or a horse, has GOT to be a fucking joke.

    No kidding.

    Also, what Sweet Machine said.

  84. I liked the trefoils as a kid. I spread vanilla pudding on the back of one cookie and topped it with another cookie for a Very Special Dessert Sandwich. :-)

    I bought two boxes of them this year (for the first time in about 12 or 13 years). They will be delivered later this week. I hope they aren’t cardboard, but it sounds like I may be disappointed.

    Oh well. Vanilla Pudding covers a multitude of bad flavors. Hmmm…butterscotch pudding would probably cover even more. :-D

  85. Funny, I thought the cute little horse looked more pregnant that fat . . . but that could be a bias toward my own condition.

    And, for the obviously unfit and unhealthy, there’s always Fat Girl on a Bike. I mean, I’ve got to be, like, half her size, but you don’t see me running, biking, or swimming, ever. At best I get up to a quick walk. But, obviously, she’s the unfit one. I MUST be doing something right, ’cause I didn’t get eated by TEH FATZ. Even though I sit on my buns reading the intarweb instead of exercising.

    Multiple posts=insufficient caffeine absorption. MOAR PEPSI!



    Karen, I initially thought you were calling for “moar peeps,” which would fit right in with the “seasonal food” thing. :)

  87. Only if I get to light them on fire before I eat them. Charred: Its the only way to eat a marshmallow.

  88. My god. All the upset as if the Girl Scouts are totally responsible for the state of the world? As if. I am a binge eater. Yes, I could eat an entire box in one sitting. Not the thin mints, because I think they’re gross, but some of the other flavors? Yeah. And you know what will happen if the Girl Scout cookies aren’t around? I’d find something else to eat. Really. Taking away the cookies from the Scouts wouldn’t help. Binge eating isn’t triggered just by certain foods being there, and it’s not dependent on what food is available. There are a lot of ways to cope with/treat/understand/cut down on binge eating, but blaming it on the Girl Scouts isn’t one of them. Ugh, people are so stupid sometimes!

  89. I ate three Samoas while reading this post. Yum. I was a Girl Scout. We camped and sold cookies. That much I remember. I am a cookie buyer because I love my little neighbor, who actually comes to my door to sell the cookies. And I enjoy the cookies for a little while. I once worked with a woman who bought her daughter’s cookie quota herself each year. And then my coworker brought the boxes to work for weeks to get rid of them. It pissed me off – not to have cookies in the office (that was a bonus), but because I thought her daughter learned nothing from that experience (at least no Girl Scout lessons).

  90. I’m not a fan of Thin Mints either; I like those chocolate covered peanut butter things.
    I could rant about this issue with the rest of you, but I lost all my Sanity Points the other day when I saw a commercial of Queen Latifah promoting Jenny Craig (or Weight Watchers, I forgot which one of those she’s sponsoring) and presenting weight loss as a end-all-be-all cure for diabeates. If that really were the case, my Dad would have been cured a long time ago.
    Kate, you’re right. We need to calm down, their just cookies. They (and any other food) does not need some moral incentive attached to it.

  91. Hello, when I was a kid, eating a bunch of Girl Scout cookies until you totally barfed was a rite of passage! It was like you had to go out into the wilderness and find out which kind of cookie was your own personal barfy cookie, your cookie kryptonite. For most of my friends it was Thin Mints, I think.

    Of course, the girls in my troop thought trying to pierce their own ears was a good idea, too.

  92. My mom and i always had a love/hate relationship with the GS cookies until the year we bought about 12 boxes and put them in the freezer to last (because we each didn’t realize the other was purchasing some, we had 2x as many as normal) and forgot we had them. About 11 months later, we remembered them and opened a box. OMG they were nasty! I don’t think either of us has eaten one since.

    On a more “healthful” note (and as a shameless plug), my SIL makes amazing home-made cookies. She’s trying to start a home-based business to support her family. So if you’re in the State College/Altoona/Huntington area of PA, let me know if you’re interested in the world’s most amazing Oatmeal Raisin cookies (among other flavors).

  93. I have never really understood what all the big deal is with Girl Scout Cookies. Although thin mints would probably be my favorite, I can definitely live without them. I, for one, have always preferred the Camp Fire candies myself but America just isn’t as obsessed with them, for some reason. It’s practically the same marketing…

  94. *howls with laughter, tears pouring down cheeks*

    ms kate, you are often too awesome for words of praise to do justice:

    “accordingly, you assume that that is how all fat people eat, all the time, so not only do you have to rigidly control your own diet, you’re morally obligated to make sure everyone else is equally vigilant? Well, you might have an eating disorder, too, come to think of it. But you also might just be a giant douche. In which case, please eat 10 whole boxes of STFU and call me in the morning.”

    bwa!hahahhahaha! *gasp, snort* bwaaahahhahahahhaha!!!

  95. I hate this shit. As a fleshy daughter of an obsessed mom, it’s taken me a lot of self-training to be able to eat a thin mint or two a day, when the mom would think I should have NONE AT ALL, while she hides them so we won’t know she eats the whole pack.

    Between shit like this and the sexualizing of children, we’re going to have a lot of fucked up daughters/girls.

  96. Dude and I was just contemplating getting some Samoas’ since it’s been like 12 years since I had any and I remembered them fondly.

    Christ is there any place we can go without controversy? I know I know stupid question but it’s bad enough to see the 100 calorie packs everywhere in the grocery store now I have to worry about my kid being afraid to have a couple cookies?

    I have a problem with sugars because my mom -made- it a problem. They were illegal horrible and the root of -all- my problems. My son has it different. We have treats regularly, but not crazily. The family shares a dessert at dinner, if someone gets a candy bar everyone gets a taste, it’s ok to have a couple of jelly beans and leave the bag alone. We don’t freak out if we have a big dessert, we don’t say things like ‘no you can’t have any chocolate it’ll make you fat’ we say things like..

    “You can have some dessert later if you really want it” or “Maybe after dinner if we’re still hungry we can have a treat.”

    The only food rule in my house is that you have to eat at least half of your -appropriate- portion sized dinner to have a treat and not every meal automatically comes with a treat. Treats are anything from fresh fruit to biscuits with honey or jam or pudding or perhaps cookies or cake. It depends on what is in the house or what I feel is appropriate.

    Heavy fatty meal? how about oranges, grapes, and perhaps a banana?

    I encourage my son to go outside, to play whenever he wants and the only thing I worry about is when he doesn’t eat enough.

    I’m hoping that my attitude to food will make him have a different relationship with food than I have. So far he’s a fairly picky eater who only eats any sort of food from junk to good stuff whenever he wants it and only as much as he wants. I hope that keeps going.

  97. Karen – thanks for making that point!

    hypoglycemia or not, calories are, by definition, not EMPTY. they have…. CALORIES. which means ENERGY.

    for fuck’s sake.

  98. Kate, you nailed it yet again. So much crazy.

    As for the quality of the cookies… I used to like the thin mints. But the formula has changed, as does all commercial pre-prepared food over time. Whatever it is, if it doesn’t taste as good as it did when you were a kid, that’s not just your imagination. It’s a direct result of making it cheaper to produce in the interest of increasing profit, which means further artificializing it. You’d think people would stop buying what doesn’t taste good, but that’s what marketing is for — to distract with things like nostalgia and feelings of scarcity.

  99. I was a Girl Scout, and did win awards for selling the most cookies, but I can still remember the living room stacked with cases of cookies as my mom was the troop leader. I haven’t bought any cookies yet, but when I do, I’ll keep the Thin Mints in the freezer where they’ll last for a week at the least, for nostalgia.

  100. Oh, Jesus H on a cracker. I’m sorry I’m not fucking politically correct enough for y’all. I’m so angry I can hardly bear even responding, but then again, I can’t really stand not to, so here goes.

    First of all, way to drive someone away from the community. You know nothing about me–I’ve commented maybe three times or something, uneventfully until now–and yet you feel the need to come out swinging, and cursing, the first time I say something that isn’t in the “right” words. Fuck that. That’s just rude and uncalled for.

    Anyway, “empty” calories=calories after which I will still feel empty. Not calories which will make me fat. I eat plenty of sugar, trust me, I just happen to prefer eating things that will make me feel full and satisfied for longer than half an hour. To each her own and all that, but things that contain only simple carbs are, to me, pretty “empty”. I’m sorry that’s a problem for y’all, but I would submit that you’re the ones with the problem here.

    As for the horse–yes, I absofuckinglutely can tell by the fact that the horse has a winter coat in the middle of summer (and a big belly, which is different than “just fat”) that this is a horse who needs medical treatment. I ain’t makin’ this shit up, y’all. If you don’t want to do the research, fine, but don’t make like there’s no possible way I could know this. I’ve had horses for 22 years, been an equine professional in several different capacities, and I have a pony with Cushings who is so far founder-free thanks to good management of his diet and medication. I’ve also seen what happens when people are not careful, as when they let breeds predisposed to Cushings gorge themselves on lush grass. It’s not pretty. They suffer and die because their owners are ignorant.

    People can choose whether to get treatment. Horses can’t. It isn’t about starving them back to some sort of “proper” size–my Cushings pony is chubby, has always been chubby, and is in perfect health–but it *is* about seeing the signs of life threatening disease and fucking TREATING them, not awwwing over how cute the furry coat and big belly are. I’ve seen horses suffer the agony of not receiving treatment, and that isn’t cute. That’s abuse.

  101. I am a binge eater. Yes, I could eat an entire box in one sitting. Not the thin mints, because I think they’re gross, but some of the other flavors? Yeah. And you know what will happen if the Girl Scout cookies aren’t around? I’d find something else to eat. Really. Taking away the cookies from the Scouts wouldn’t help. Binge eating isn’t triggered just by certain foods being there, and it’s not dependent on what food is available.

    Car, I think that needs to be tattooed on the inside of M*M*’s eyelids. Seriously.

  102. Well, since no one else has mentioned this particular recipe change (watch, someone will mention it in the time between when I last refreshed and when I hit submit), last year was when they went trans-fat free across the board.

    As it so happens, I had had a box of Samoas (never heard of these descriptive names y’all are mentioning before, it’s always been Samoas and Tagalongs and Do-Si-Dos in my experience, across various metro areas around the southeast) in the deep freeze from the year before. So, we had heard that all the trans-fat was going to be gone last year, and were curious as to whether or not we could really tell the difference. Figured, well, the old ones might be a little freezer-burned at this point, though they LOOKED ok, it was good enough for a basic taste test.

    So, we opened the box of old (trans-fat containing) and a box of the new (trans-fat free), and took blind taste tests. One was really as divine as they exist in our memories, crisp, light, etc, the other, well, tasted like it’d been sitting in the bottom of the freezer for a year. TASTED pretty much the same, but the whole cookie experience just wasn’t there. It was good, but compared to the other one, was very meh.

    Of course, the ones that felt like they had a massive case of freezer burn were the fresh/new/trans-fat free ones. The ones that actually HAD spent a year in the bottom of the freezer treally did it for us. Alas, they are now but a memory, but it was a fine experiment. And gives us something to think about whenever anyone mentions trans-fats or GSC.

  103. I didn’t berate her. I was attempting to inform her.

    I guess those of us who are fat, and constantly working on accepting (because, like you said, Kate, it’s hard!), can just suck it if we make a comment you don’t agree with? Where’s my fucking support network? I guess only fatties who measure every word the way we used to measure every bite deserve any self-esteem, huh?

    I realize you are done allowing me to comment here, and I assume this comment won’t see the light of day, but I think it’s pretty shitty of you to decide, based on one comment that YOU chose to misunderstand, that I’m secretly a dieting apologist and should be shuuunnnned.

    If I were recovering from an ED and this was the first time I’d ever found anyone to help me have some self-esteem, I promise you this would send me right back off the deep end, because clearly I’m not even good enough to be fat properly. I’m not–I’m pretty emotionally healthy most of the time–but you might want to think about the potential fragility of new commenters here before you start bitching ’em out for opinions that differ in any way from yours.

  104. Criss, maybe your first post here shouldn’t have automatically pointed out what an uptight asshole you are. Then maybe the community would have been more receptive.

  105. Oh, good, now I’m an uptight asshole because I want people to be informed?

    And it wasn’t my first post here.

  106. Criss, in case you’re still reading…

    You know nothing about me–I’ve commented maybe three times or something, uneventfully until now–and yet you feel the need to come out swinging,

    That’s part of the problem. Seeing as the owners of this blog don’t know you well enough to know how your comments were meant, maybe you should have phrased them less confrontationally, and refrained from accusing Kate of being ignorant.

    Anyway, “empty” calories=calories after which I will still feel empty. Not calories which will make me fat.

    Phrases have colloquial meanings, and the phrase “empty calories” in our society usually means: “Food that makes you fat without providing any nutritional value”. Which is a way of grouping foods into “good” and “bad” foods, something that is not done around here because it leads to disordered eating behaviours.

    As for the horse – it’s good that you’re so passionate about its health, but I’m not sure you understand – that horse does not belong to Kate. It is a picture she found on the internet and used to make a pun about “high horses”. Kate does not have the power to get medical help for that horse. So berating her and accusing her of ignorance is not going to help the horse.

    I’m sorry you felt attacked, but you have to realise, the owners of this blog get a lot of trolls, and a lot of people attacking them, so I really don’t think you can blame them for being defensive.

  107. Criss, I think that their problem was with your terminology. “Empty calories” is a loaded phrase, that is understood to have a certain meaning – calories that are wasteful and don’t do us any good – in other words, calories that we won’t eat if we are good. As you’ve explained it in your second post here, you didn’t attach that meaning to the term when you used it. However, it was reasonable for others to assume that was the meaning you intended, given that it is the meaning that is almost always intended when we hear the phrase (which has been, for me, exclusively when talking about diets).
    Also, Kate never made an assumption about the health of the horse – she just said that was what her food snob horse looked like. Given that, your saying “I just don’t like it when the FA community makes assumptions about things it knows nothing about, like animal health” seems pretty argumentative. Not to mention the fact that it was a post by one lady, not by “the FA community” as a whole, and so the FA community wasn’t making any assumptions. I’m glad that you are concerned for this horse – but no one here held up the picture and said “Now this is a healthy horsey!” And it seems a little strange to be angry at someone for linking to a picture of a horse because that horse might have Cushings…

  108. Yes, I’m not stupid, i can read. The horse doesn’t belong to Kate. That said, this is the third or fourth time I’ve come across something about cute fat animals in the fatosphere, and what I’ve seen in those comments is an extreme lack of any knowledge about the care of animals. Animals suffer and die because people think various things are “cute”–the list of such instances could easily be made into a book, so I won’t get started–and I think that’s just a little more important than making cute visual puns.

    But thanks, I appreciate your attempt to cast all this in a less suckeriffic light. :)

  109. Criss: Not to pile on, but dude SRSLY, you may know horses, but you apparently can’t see pictures. If you take a cruise through the rest of the series it’s extremely obvious that those pictures are taken in very early spring — not summer. Most of the trees don’t even have any leaves yet.

    And all of the ponies have their winter coats, not just that one.

    So basically you’ve come onto Kate, fillyjonk, and sweetmachine’s space and made an ass of yourself for no reason at all.

  110. “So basically you’ve come onto Kate, fillyjonk, and sweetmachine’s space and made an ass of yourself for no reason at all.”
    In your opinion, on both counts. I don’t feel that I’ve made an ass of myself, despite your kind assessment, and I don’t feel it was for no reason.

    For the record, every horse in my barn is shedding up a storm, many of them almost down to summer coats already, and there’s nary a bite of fresh green grass to be had yet.

    Though I guess in a case like this, the facts are sorta irrelevant.

  111. Though I guess in a case like this, the facts are sorta irrelevant.

    No, in a case like this, the facts are UNKNOWN. And your assumptions are way the fuck beyond the scope of this site.

    Criss, all you’ve done in this thread is stir up shit and tell me how to run my own blog and my non-existent farm. If you don’t see how that’s making a huge ass of yourself, I really can’t help you.

  112. Uh, criss, u kinda summed up the point pretty well urself:

    “my Cushings pony is chubby, has always been chubby, and is in perfect health”


    So maybe not every chubby pony you see is sick? Maybe their owners are treating them just as responsibly as you treat your pony?

    Hmm. grass for thought, wouldn’t you say?

    Not that any of this discussion is even worth the cyberspace its written on but i couldn’t resist.

  113. incidentally – kate can i please come to your imaginary farm and ride your imaginary pony?

    (i had an imaginary 3 legged zebra when i was a kid. rode around it all the time.

    it was best friends with my imaginary baby elephant.

    they were both in perfect health, besides the leg thing with the zebra but what’re you gonna do…)

  114. I’m having a hard time with the idea that the climate, temperature, plant growth cycles, and weather are exactly the same everywhere in the world all at the same time.

    But at this point I’m mostly just crabby because the time change has fucked up my ability to sleep. So I’ll shut up now.

  115. cggirl: I have a much younger cousin (he’s all growed-up now, but he was about 4 at the time) who brought his imaginary baby elephant to bed when he visited and fed it imaginary peanuts. It’s tough to be the mature, well-behaved teenager and go to sleep when you’re giggling that hard. :-)

  116. I have a pretty good run of experience with horses, and if you have them out on grass and not getting groomed regularly and sheltered in a barn they get a coat like that and keep it much later than a more sheltered animal. I worked at a low-rent kind of stable and the ponies all looked like wookies on hooves until well into spring. I worked at a much higher class stable with blanketed show horses that had barely a winter coat and that shaved off in a minute!
    Also, considering that the picture was indeed well played in service of a pun, this is reminding me of Monty Python credits. Now, those responsible for the comment on the lack of comment on the pony have been sacked.

  117. And the credits have been completely changed at the last minute and at great expense. Kudos to Ralph the Wonder Llama! ;)

  118. Also…for what it’s worth, I see that the meaning of “empty calories” used originally here wasn’t what I normally think of, but cggirl totally beat me to pointing out the obvious reality – there is no such *thing* as an “empty calorie.” By definition. There are 3 ways to take a calorie into your body – a fat, a carb or a protein. Just because something contains calories mainly from one or other of those sources and has no fiber, does *not* make it “empty.” If it were empty it wouldn’t be a calorie at all.

    You want empty calories? Go to hungrygirl (google it, it’s a site) and read some of the faux recipes for splenda-flavored air that’s “just as good as” real cocoa. All the diet versions of REAL food that are made from no flour, no butter, no sugar, no fat – what the hell is IN them? It’s beyond bizarre.

    You know, I have a view or two that is rather controversial within fat acceptance. I don’t go out of my way to hide them, nor to trumpet them where others aren’t of that mindset. The worst I can accuse FAers of is seeming (and I do mean seeming) to ignore me a bit at first – who can blame them? These are sensitive issues; people are quite naturally defensive, and trolls abound. If they wish to exercise a little caution at first with an unknown person, that is entirely logical and sensible.

    Criss, look, I don’t know much about you, but I think perhaps if you took a break for two or three days, went back and read through this again, and allowed for the possibilities contained in the replies, you might see it differently. I know you care about animals, but we honestly have no really good reason to believe that that animal is sick. And…obviously it was merely a picture used to illustrate a pun or analogy – not to make any point about how fat is cute! (Even though yes, it often is – lemme tell you, babies are naturally fat – rightly so – and hell yes it’s cute. It’s also protective and necessary.)

    I’d say utilize your off button (it’s on the computer somewhere, I promise) and come back with a fresh mind, and look at it anew. You’ll likely feel a bit different. (This is not meant to be patronizing, either. It is a time-honored method of stopping in your tracks when you’ve gotten mired in something like this online and you fully believe you’re seeing it clearly when you probably aren’t, or probably could use more tact.) Just a suggestion.

  119. and accordingly, you assume that that is how all fat people eat, all the time, so not only do you have to rigidly control your own diet, you’re morally obligated to make sure everyone else is equally vigilant? Well, you might have an eating disorder, too, come to think of it. But you also might just be a giant douche. In which case, please eat 10 whole boxes of STFU and call me in the morning.

    I love you.

  120. If I were recovering from an ED and this was the first time I’d ever found anyone to help me have some self-esteem, I promise you this would send me right back off the deep end, because clearly I’m not even good enough to be fat properly. I’m not–I’m pretty emotionally healthy most of the time–but you might want to think about the potential fragility of new commenters here before you start bitching ‘em out for opinions that differ in any way from yours.

    Criss, the fact that this blog has become a community doesn’t mean we are responsible for the health of its individual members. Guess what? People disagree here on SP all the time. Here’s what you’ve done that doesn’t get filed under simple disagreement:
    -accused us of being ignorant and undermining our cause (this, btw, is why I said you “berated” Kate even though you think you just “informed” her)
    -called us PC in a pejorative way
    -assumed your comment would be deleted before you posted it
    -made up a StrawCommenter so you could accuse us of worsening her ED
    I recommend you take anniemcphee’s advice and just step away for a while. Though in the tradition of all flouncers, you’ve claimed we’ve driven you away and yet here you are, still commenting.

    Just for the record, we love animals here. I think that some of the breeding practices that have been done for cuteness are horrifying. But that doesn’t mean I lecture my friend every time I see the Persian cat she adopted. Good lord.

  121. Though in the tradition of all flouncers, you’ve claimed we’ve driven you away and yet here you are, still commenting.

    Just for the record, I banned her right after her last comment, which interrupted the 85 flouncy farewells.

    I appreciate everybody’s efforts to be sympathetic to her, but… I’m not. Every word she wrote was classic troll, quite frankly — just a new twist on very old, familiar behaviors.

    If she wasn’t actually a troll, well… bummer. But you know, if you’re really just trying to have a normal conversation, and yet somehow your comments carry multiple hallmarks of trollitude? Then you need to stop fucking commenting until you read a whole lot more of the internet and learn how grown human beings talk to each other.

  122. Btw Horse lady? if you actually go to the flicker page and look at the horse picture, and the multiple pictures of its herd mates you would see they -all- had shaggy coats which would indicate early spring..since an entire herd of cushing horses would be nearly impossible.

    Stop making ignorant assumptions. Then you won’t look like an ass when you accuse others of doing the same.

    Snarky moment for the day over.

  123. actually, both bakers of GS cookies use transfats. so, everyone, freakout!
    Per the USDA and FDA, food manufacturers can still list something as “zero trans fat” as long as there is equal to or less than 0.5 grams per serving.
    so for someone like me who enjoys a sleeve of thin mints at one sitting (so that’s two servings per box, yes), that’d be somewhere in the ballpark of 10g of xfat per serving.
    oh, the humanity.

  124. Thanks sweetmachine! He needed a good home. :-) Even if he has some health problems and I can’t for the life of me keep up with brushing him – i mean good god, what a ridiculous way for someone to breed an animal. But he’s still a huge fluffy cuddle monster that is hard not to love!

    ANYway, I loved Girl Scouts and it was a huge part of what shaped me as a teenager. I doubtless would never have considered going to a women’s college if GS hadn’t been such a fabulous experience, and that was the best thing I ever did! But I had a pretty good council, and chose troops in the area where I felt comfortable (fyi if you have/know girls interested in girl scouts – you don’t have to be in the most local troop if there are others in the area). We did our badges independently beyond juniors, and several of us cadette and senior scouts led a local brownie troop. We were seriously the best, most enthusiastic leaders ever.

    And OMG, of course I could eat a couple boxes of Tagalongs in one sitting – there are 15 of them in a box and they are as filling as air and more delicious than Reese’s peanut butter cups! Not only did this not make me fat or make me develop BED, but beyond a once-a-year tummy ache there were no serious repercussions. It’s like Halloween! And besides, now I can’t eat wheat so no more GS cookies, and it’s really just not a big deal.

    Interestingly, councils and troops can choose to have cookie sales twice a year, or once in either the spring or fall season. When a lot of troops in our council made the switch from fall to spring, suddenly there were cookies everywhere, and they definitely lost a lot of their charm! Go figure.

  125. Oh, and might I suggest that if they stopped using trans fats and went back to lard, instead of low-fat whatever-whatever (sorry to any vegetarians), pastries and cookies would taste even better, not worse! Lard makes totally awesome food, despite its horrible name. mmm delicious lard

  126. Lynne, you’re totally right. As does butter. But i suspect they don’t want to alienate their vegetarian / vegan fans. That’d be my guess. Oh, and of course it’s cheaper to use test tube fat.

  127. Also I think because before the trans fat scare was the saturated fat scare. Lard and butter are high in saturated fats, so part of the drive to switch to plant based fats was that they are lower in saturated fats. Then of course, trans fat turned out to be bad for us too, so they had to switch it again. (Not sure if they went back to saturated fats, or to another kind of fat). Although apparently in Canada our cookies still have trans fats.

  128. But ours do too still, thanks to labeling loopholes. Canada’s may just have a greater amount. I would imagine they just switched to partially transfat / partially saturated after the whole transfat debacle.
    If they did switch to saturated, the fat grams per cookie probably increased, which may be why they introduced the ‘low fat’ versions. Total speculation on my part. I hope they did switch it back to sat fat, being that it never really was the demon the media made it out to be. Like coconut/coconut oil? delicious. and good for us. but highly saturated also.
    In any event, girl scout cookies are only sold once per year, so have at them if you wish, and quit the yapping if you don’t. I saw a great bumper sticker years ago – it read “don’t like abortions? don’t have one”. I believe that logic can be applied to most things, including GS cookies.

  129. I thought I was one of the few people on earth who weren’t afraid of butter and lard – they do a far better job than the phony stuff. :)

  130. Oh, god, I love this. Thanks so much for ranting and telling it like it is.

    “But you also might just be a giant douche. In which case, please eat 10 whole boxes of STFU and call me in the morning.”

    Beautiful!!!! I could cry for joy! YAY.

  131. i am just stunned and amused that once again, controversy in the fatosphere has come down to OMG FAT HORSES.

  132. Elusis, I know, right? That was cracking me up.

    But seriously, some of my best friends are fat horses.

  133. But are they black, Fillyjonk? That is the crucial test. If they’re not… [shrug] well, I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to hound you to death now. Because we’re mean like that.

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