Monday, January 16, 2006

Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!

It should have been an Elvis movie. A stray drifter gets lost driving down the road and he pulls into a small shopping center to ask directions (I know, men don't do this, but it's an Elvis movie).

So he meets up with a cute little girl selling...Girl Scout cookies (or, in an Elvis movie, it would probably be Green Girls Cookies or some imaginary girl organization). Naturally, Cute Big Sis is helping out with the sales, and Elvis finds a reason to stay around, sing a few songs, get into a fight with her jealous ex-boyfriend, and duly impress Dad, who is a sour curmudgeon who owns the shopping center (whose mortgage payment is overdue, of course, so Elvish helps do a fundraiser).

What could go better with cookies, besides milk?

Yes, it's that time of year again. Moms and Dads (and cute big sisters, maybe) are out in force selling Girl Scout cookies. No office or grocery store entrance will be safe for the next six weeks, give or take.

I'll order a few boxes and maybe give one to my girl friend (unless I'm not in the mood for the "Are you trying to make me look fat?" discussion). I'll hoard them at work. I'll store them at home. If I am feeling generous, I may give some to friends (although I don't do that much any more). One year, I spent $70 on Girl Scout cookies (and that was just one order for 35 boxes). People thought I was crazy. They all said I should be about twice the size I am. Problem was (and remains) that every time people get around your GS cookies, instead of breaking out into song and trying to win your heart, they just dive right in and help themselves.

Alas! The glory days are over. I'm not able to chow down on half a box of cookies a day and stay at the same weight as I was 20 years ago. I have to work out twice as hard for twice as many weeks to keep the weight off.

And to add insult to injury, the Girl Scouts changed their supplier contract about 20 years ago. Now, the current cookie provider has some nice recipes and all (love the Peanut Butter creme cookies), but the old Chocolate Chip cookies were to die for. You just cannot find anything like them any more (Chips Ahoy and Keebler don't count). About the closest I've come is Mother's Chocolate Chip cookies, which I buy at a local H.E.B. Never heard of the brand before. Have no idea of who makes them. But they are almost like the old Girl Scout cookies.

I went to the store for bread, milk, cheese slices, and aluminum foil last night. Somewhere along the path of product-laden isles, I actually put those four things in my cart. But I also acquired a few other I-can't-live-without-this things, including Mother's Chocolate Chip cookies. Why? Because I remembered that a guy at my office had promised his wife he would start taking orders, but he keeps forgetting to bring in the order form.

Every year I anxiously browse the order sheets and cruise strange, unexplored grocery stores, hoping beyond hope to stumble across that one treasure the Girl Scouts lost and seem destined never to recover: those delicious Chocolate Chip cookies they used to sell. I think the company was based in St. Louis. I don't know if it's worth making a pilgrimage to St. Louis, but I've been sorely tempted to organize a Million Cookie March just to demonstrate to Girl Scouts of USA that, yes, there is a market for chocolate chip cookies.

Then again, as long as I can grab a bag of Mother's, Chips Ahoy, or Keebler's chocolate chip cookies, I suppose I'll just make sure I keep enough milk in the house and hope for the best. Who needs to walk off all those pounds anyway? I get exercise just dodging all the little girls trying to take my money as I go to the store for bread, milk, cheese, and aluminum foil.


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