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In Defense of the Trefoil, a Perfect Girl Scout Cookie

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Each year, the Girl Scouts of America emerge from their campgrounds and crafty shadows to remind the people of this nation that some things are still good and true. Young ladies care about the community and the environment. They can learn to become confident leaders while conquering the tricky mountain of girl-girl social relations.

Also: cookies.

The Girl Scouts stand at street corners and office doors selling crinkly sleeves of antidepressants. We citizens have no choice but to support them. Anyone who was once a Female of a Certain Age will remember that there is no more Sisyphean task than waking up daily and bearing the absolute idiocy of every grown person who crosses your path. It takes a lot of inner strength for girls to come together outside a busy Publix and smile at repulsive adults. Repay them.

This year, my husband ordered nine boxes. That amounts to seven different varieties, as he doubled up on Thin Mints and Samoas. In the mix on my kitchen counter are Adventurefuls, Girl Scout S'mores, Tagalongs, Toffee-tastics, Caramel Chocolate Chips and my sleeper favorite, Trefoils.

"The older I get, the more I like a Trefoil!" I professed in a work chat.

"The Trefoil is an elderly cookie," replied someone I thought was a friend.

"They're buttery and salty!" I professed at home.

"Just like you," replied my stepdaughter (do not know where she gets it).

A brief history of the Trefoil: These crispy shortbreads are inspired by the original Girl Scout cookie recipe. In 1935, according to organization lore, the group's New York federation bought its own cookie press in the shape of a trefoil, the cloverlike logo of the Girl Scouts. The next year, the national council started licensing commercial bakers to sell cookies nationwide.

 

So, yes, the facts bear out that I do have a penchant for a Greatest Generation delicacy, but that's OK, as I am not ageist. It wasn't always this way. In my younger years, I would swear by a handful of ooey-gooey Samoas or go HAM on a sleeve of my mom's Thin Mints stored in the freezer.

Now, though, I argue that a well-executed shortbread cookie is much more alluring than an overcomplicated, pick-me bite such as the Adventureful, which, I'm sorry, is a Thin Mint in a bad wig. These high-wire sweets bring diminishing returns to my maturing palate. All I need in this life of sin is a bucket of flour, butter, sugar and salt. Or at least a mix of processed ingredients that approximates that combination.

Furthermore, Trefoils are practically a health food. Disclaimer that I'm not counting calories, especially not during one precious cookie season per year. And we're not mentioning bodies to Girl Scouts or talking about ours in their presence.

That understood, let me break down the numbers: Per the box, a single serving of Trefoils equals five cookies. Most of the other cookies come in at a disappointing two cookies per serving. Even Thin Mints top out at a mere four.

Trefoils are basically kale! I am simply a woman in STEM who likes to eat her cookies in nice, clean multiples of five. I see no further need to defend my choices. Now if you'll excuse me, I must make a nice cup of World War II-era tea and turn slightly to my right where a mood-boosting plastic sleeve awaits.

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Stephanie Hayes is a columnist at the Tampa Bay Times in Florida. Follow her at @stephhayes on Twitter or @stephrhayes on Instagram.

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