It’s that time of year where young girls tempt the American public. Okay, that sounds weirdly pedo. I’m talking about the Girl Scouts tempting us. No, that still sounds pedo. I’m talking about Girl Scouts tempting us with sugar and spice and everything nice. Cookies, I mean. I’m not talking about anything salacious. Get your minds out of the gutter.
Since my niece is selling these, I received orders from the matriarchal autocracy on high (my mother and my wife) that I was obligated to purchase literally dozens of these things. Diabetes be damned, it’s more important to educate the young in sales and marketing and all things capitalist and awesome. My personal health (at least according to the women in my life) is at best a secondary concern compared to this.
Now, I like Girl Scout cookies. Since I grew up in Savannah (where the Girl Scouts were founded), I’m sort of obligated by law to like them. But as I’ve pointed out before, desserts are probably something we should keep to a minimum. Having said that, cookies, due to their relatively small size, aren’t as bad as some of the alternatives.
Now, cookies by definition aren’t super nutritious, but one thing to keep in mind with all cookies is that you won’t be getting any Vitamin B12, A, C, or D. Because there’s no meat, vegetables, fruit, fish, or sunlight involved. Obviously. That would be weird. Only a rabid vegan would entertain the idea of vegetable cookies and only a rabid carnivore would think fish or meat cookies are a good idea. All though I’m sure there is at least one dark, horrible corner of the Internet where these sorts of abominations can be found.
And anyone who manages to successfully irradiate cookies in a way that it makes your body produce Vitamin D (as it does when exposed to the sun), is a mad scientist, Bond villain type who will one day lead the world to its inevitable destruction. So, Elon Musk, in other words.
Anyway, I figured I’d go through these cookies one by one and analyze the damage appeasing my mother and wife would do to me. Depending on which type of baked decadence the Girl Scouts are offering, the calories per cookie vary. So I’ll review the nutritional value for each of these in a 130-190 calorie helping, which is probably the most a snack should be, and analyze how much of my Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) it fulfills. Public Service Announcement: The amounts provided are for a man of…ahem…a certain age. Women and younger or older people may have different requirements.
So we’ll start with the least exciting cookie, the Trefoils. Which are really just shortbread cookies. Leave it to the British to invent the least exciting cookie in existence. These are so British that when you Google shortbread, it comes up as a “biscuit” and not a “cookie”. If we took standard British reserve and understatement and somehow incarnated it in baked sugar form, it would be shortbread. Although, strictly speaking, shortbread is Scottish, not English, so when compared to other forms of Scottish cuisine (like haggis, which I touched on in an earlier piece), they’re noticeably better than other foods the Scottish are famous (or infamous) for.
Five of these things which only barely count as cookies have 150 calories, about 15% of my thiamine RDA, and about 10% of my RDA in riboflavin, folate, and iron. And small quantities of the other essential nutrients. So, minimalist nutrition from a cookie with minimalist flavor.
Next in line are Lemon Ups and Lemonades. Which appear to be just shortbread with lemon flavoring or frosting. So it’s like the cookie version of the British, except with ingredients they found after colonizing the Caribbean. So it’s like eating Britishness plus imperialism.
Anyway, two Lemon-Ups have 140 calories, about 10% of my thiamine, folate, and iron RDA, about 15% of my selenium RDA, and little bits of the other nutrients. Also, according to the website, they’re “Naturally Flavored With Other Natural Flavors”. Which is disturbingly vague. And in no way mentions lemons.
Two Lemonades, on the other hand, have 150 calories and about 10% of my thiamine and selenium requirements, and de minimis amounts (sorry, I’m an accountant, and we occasionally like to show off the only two Latin words we know) of various other nutrients.
The next cookie in line involves one of the few things British people are known for (although I don’t know if they invented it) that is not dreary and reserved. And that is…toffee. Two of the Toffee-Tastic cookies have 140 calories. And virtually nothing else. Literally tiny bits of all of the other nutrients. Excepting the ones I mentioned seven paragraphs ago that come from tropical fruit, vegetables, sunlight, or animal sacrifice. Apparently, toffee is so British even its nutrients are understated.
So for slightly more American cookies, we have Tagalongs. They’re American because they involve peanuts. Which are from South America. But they were grown heavily in North America (thanks to George Washington Carver’s excellent contributions to agricultural science), especially in my home state of Georgia. We even had a president from Georgia who was a peanut farmer. So I’m officially culturally appropriating them from the South Americans. Also, it doesn’t matter that the Chinese now grow more than us. They’re totally Murrican. Your argument is invalid.
Anyway, these chocolate-covered peanut butter delights have 130 calories for every two cookies. And about 20% of my copper RDA, 10% of my manganese RDA, and not much else. Which is a bit disappointing, since one would assume that nut products have more nutrients. But as I’ve pointed out before, peanuts aren’t really nuts.
And then there are the Do-Si-Dos, a strange mating of boring British shortbreadiness with appropriated Murrican peanut butter. Three of these have 160 calories about 10% of my thiamine, niacin, iron, phosphorus, and selenium RDA, and 15% of my manganese. So adding American awesomeness to British boringness appears to have made the nutritional value noticeably better than just British boringness alone.
Then there’s the hotel room/hospital bed cookies. And by that I mean, Thin Mints. Generally unimpressive baked sugar-coated with minty chocolate. The only upside is that you can eat more because they’re small. Four of these yield 150 calories, and about 10% of my thiamine, folate, iron, and selenium requirements. So the nutrition is about as unimpressive as the cookie itself.
Now on to cookies made from ingredients appropriated by non-British people from the Americas. Such as caramel and chocolate. Three of the Caramel Chocolate Chip cookies have 170 calories and about 10% of my vitamin E, copper, iron, selenium, and phosphorus requirements, and about 20% of my manganese needs. So, still not a big deal, although given that vitamin E can be hard to come by, it’s better than some of the other options.
And now for the thing that Girl Scouts almost certainly culturally appropriated from the Boy Scouts. S’mores, the hardcore Murrican fattening agent regularly celebrated around campfires. Two of these cookies have 150 calories, about 25% of my manganese RDA, about 15% of my selenium requirements, and just under 10% of my vitamin E needs.
And the vest-wearing little minxes have a second variant. They found a way to make them more tempting. S’mores with chocolate coating is a thing now. Two of these have 190 calories, about 10% of the thiamine, iron, and selenium requirements. So with increased temptation comes…less nutrition.
And of course, I’ve saved the best for last. The most tempting and colonial of them all. Caramel and chocolate and coconut and almost nothing boringly British. The most seductive of the girl scout desserts. And I realize, saying “seductive” and “girl scout” in the same sentence is sort of creepy. I admit it makes me feel sort of dirty.
But face it, Samoas are the single greatest cookie in the history of humanity. A testament to the greatness of American ingenuity. Small, baked atolls of sugar, infused with coconut and caramel, and then carefully drizzled in chocolate. And despite all of these exotic ingredients, no real nutrition. Two of these have 150 calories. Bits and pieces of this or that vitamin or mineral, but not much. But honestly, if I were to slide back into obesity because of Samoas, it would almost be worth it.
So I suppose Girl Scout cookies, like most desserts, aren’t completely terrible. But only if you eat one or two. And I shiver at the thought of the sort of dark, maniacal, twisted soul that could only eat one or two. It’s simply inhuman. Seriously, anyone with that sort of discipline is likely an alien invader in disguise, and you should run away from them.
And whatever nutrition these cookies provide is nothing that you can’t easily get from other, more healthy sources. So, in general, these should be avoided. But I’ve already been forced to buy large quantities, and I’m not the type to just throw stuff out. So I guess for the next few weeks I’ll need to exercise like a lunatic. Because I can’t eat Girl Scout cookies like a lunatic (I.E. just one or two), so I’ll need to make it up some other way.
So if you, like me, have been dragooned into buying these delectable doses of premature diabetes, stay active. Fortunately for me, I’ve recently added weight lifting to my normal routine, and it’s making it easier to stay in shape. But I’ll discuss that in a later piece.
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