Happy first Monday of Lent.

Okay, so back to that Thin Mint post that I intended to write last week.  In the meantime, I’ve done a quick survey through the inter-web and couldn’t find a similar complaint to what I’m about to present.  That being said, my survey did reveal a possible explanation for my complaint… but one thing at a time.

About a month ago, a friend at work had Girl Scout cookies in her office that she had purchased with some sort of “early bird special” deal.  As she passed the sleeves of Thin Mints around, I eagerly took one, thankful that Lent was a little late this year.  (Does anyone else wonder why Girl Scout cookie season always corresponds with fasting season?!)  Biting in to it, I immediately noticed a difference.  The texture was all wrong.  It was crumbly and less dense, almost like an extremely stale brownie.  I looked at it carefully.  Instead of a dark black cookie, it was brown… and just looked all wrong.

I carefully examined the rest of the cookie.  Something was definitely different, and I was not a happy camper.  It’s bad enough that I’ve had to deal with a new government this past month, but a new Thin Mint?  Is nothing sacred?

When I vocalized my distaste (imagine that, me vocalizing anything), my friend commented that maybe they were just stale.  Maybe the “early bird special” was just a sneaky way of getting rid of last year’s cookies!  We decided that we would put the Thin Mints in the freezer and hope for the best.

Not tempted by the stale cookies, I didn’t eat another Thin Mint until I went home a few weekends later.  Fortuitously, it was the weekend that my parents received their order of Girl Scout cookies.  Once again, I vocalized my disapointment with my first taste of the year and hesitated giving them another chance.  My mom ripped open the package and we had another taste test.

The same problem.  Consistency of stale brownie.  Not as minty.  Middle was a dark brown instead of the traditional so-black-everyone-will-know-you’ve-eaten-one-until-you-floss-and-brush. 

URGH.  I guess all things have a bright side– I haven’t eaten the customary sleeve-a-sitting, and I haven’t missed them at all once Lent rolled around.  But I thought it was rather bizarre that no one else seemed to notice.  I know I pick weird crusades that no one else cares about, but really… Girl Scout cookies?  How could you not notice a taste difference in those beloved Thin Mints?

Then I found it… one of the results of my google search was a flickr photostream detailing the two different Thin Mints that are produced by two different companies, Little Brownie Bakers and ABC.  The first photo was a picture of the two boxes.  I have no idea what the boxes I tried looked like, but I definitely remember that the cookies I ate, both in TN and IN, were both “Little Brownie Bakers” and I remember thinking I had never noticed that logo on the box before.   The next picture was a close-up of the different cookies.  

Ha!  Bingo.  The cookie on the right (aka the ABC bakers’ cookie) was definitely the cookie of my childhood.  Heck, the cookie of my last-year.  The one on the left looked like those counterfeit cookies I had eaten.

After consulting Wikipedia (where you know you’re getting the best information possible), I found that ABC cookies have different names than Little Brownie Bakers cookies.   The familiar companions of my youth, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, and Shortbread are all ABC cookies.  Not to be confused with “Tagalongs,” “Do-Si-Dos,” and “Trefoils,” whatever the heck those are.  (Who in the world thinks, “Hey, there’s a sandwich cookie with peanut butter.  You know what we should call it?  Do-si-do.  Because there’s nothing like a four-square call to make me crave creamy peanut butter between two oatmeal cookies.”  But leave it to a company that names themselves after a dessert they don’t even make.) 

Mystery solved.  All my life, I’ve eaten ABC cookies.  Now Little Brownie Bakers came along and ruined Girl Scout season.  Sure, it would be one thing if by moving, I entered Little Brownie Bakers’ territory.  Then I couldn’t complain.  But how did those Little Brownie Bakers trespass onto ABC turf in Indiana without an uproar?

Now that I understand the problem, nothing could be clearer.  ABC cookies look completely different than Little Brownie Bakers cookies.  And Little Brownie Bakers don’t even carry one of my favorite cookies, the shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate (once the Animal Treasures, now the “Thanks-a-lot” — a name almost as dumb as the “do-si-do.”  Come on, ABC.  Are the Little Brownie Bakers rubbing off on you?) 

PS If anyone knows where I can buy real Girl Scout cookies, let me know.  Once Easter rolls around, I’m going to need some.