Boston’s Girl Scout Cookie Scandal

Is Western Massachusetts getting a better version of the cookies?

There’s a scandal rocking the Girl Scout cookie world, thanks to an LA Times report that’s sure to dazzle this year’s Pulitzer Committee: Western Massachusetts is getting better Girl Scout cookies than Boston. Grave injustice! Most bitter inequity!

How did this cruel abuse come to pass, you ask? Well, Girl Scout cookies are made by two different bakeries, and it’s up to each region’s Girl Scout council to pick which one to use. According to the LA Times‘s interactive map, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts use ABC Bakers, based in Richmond, Virginia. The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, meanwhile, use Little Brownie Bakers, based in Louisville, Kentucky. All over the country, councils are split between the two bakeries.

Each company puts out different versions of the same basic cookie. Boston gets Caramel deLites while Western Massachusetts gets Samoas. Boston gets Peanut Butter Patties. Western Mass. gets Tagalogs. Both regions get Thin Mints, the only cookie to share a name across both bakeries, but the two companies use different recipes.

“So what?” you say. “Doesn’t a Samoa by any other name smell as sweet?” Actually, it’s sweeter. The Caramel deLight has an extra gram of sugar. Nevertheless, CityLab’s Laura Bliss uses the cookies’ descriptions and nutrition facts, published by the Times, to put forward a persuasive argument that ABC Bakers versions of the Girl Scout cookies are just plain worse.

“More cookie than caramel”; “milkier chocolate”—the ABC version’s flavor profile [of a Samoa/Caramel deLight] is just a jumble of euphemisms for “cheap.” Little Brownie Bakers clearly wins.

What about Thin Mints? Surely they are an American classic that no baker would dare degrade.

Wrong. ABC is underperforming once again. Who wants “more mint than chocolate”?

Okay, so maybe your taste preferences trend toward what ABC is putting out. Maybe you want a crunchier, mintier Thin Mint. And if that’s the case, well … you are wrong, and you should keep your opinion to yourself.

For the rest of you, there’s help. You can input zip codes into this interactive graphic to find out which bakery its Girl Scouts use. After that, a short amount of travel is all that stands between you and a superior Girl Scout Cookie. Central Massachusetts isn’t so far away, right? At least you’re not in the heartland of ABC Cookie distribution, somewhere like Kansas, where hours and hours on the road lay between you and the proper Thin Mint. No, you are blessed to live in such a dense region with such diversity of Girl Scout cookie choices. Truly #blessed, indeed.