Tagalongs vs. Peanut Butter Patties: The Great Girl Scout Cookie Regional Naming Rift
If you live in certain parts of the US, your yearly Girl Scout Cookies have one set of names, and if you live in certain other parts of the US, they have another. This rift exists because two separate companies with two separate distribution deals make Girl Scout cookies from the same recipes: Little Brownie Bakers, and ABC Smart Cookies.
Here, for example, is what LBB calls their chocolate/peanut butter cookies: Tagalongs. Great name—friendly, playful, lends a pleasant sense memory to thoughts about the Philippine language Tagalog. Here is what ABC calls the same cookie: Peanut Butter Patties. That is a bad name for a cookie. No one wants to eat just a patty of anything. No one wants to even think about just a patty of anything.
The Nutter-Butter-style cookies that LBB calls Do-si-dos? To ABC, those are Peanut Butter Sandwiches. Now, I’m a fan of peanut butter sandwiches. I ate one for lunch today. But that sandwich was not a cookie. You can’t take the name of a sandwich and give it to a cookie. It will sow confusion among the people, about what is a sandwich and what is a cookie.
My personal favorites during Girl-Scout-cookie season are the coconut/fudge beauties LBB calls Samoas. I don’t know why they’re called that—maybe because they grow a lot of coconuts in Samoa, or maybe because when you eat one you always want samoa. Either way, I’m cool. Meanwhile, the barbarians at ABC refer to these cookies as Caramel deLites. Caramel is not the defining feature of a Samoa. Coconut is the defining feature of a Samoa. If anything, they should be called Coconut deLites. But even then, even then, why is “deLites” spelled and capitalized that way? The cookies are not low in fat or sugar, nor are they descended from Belgian nobles. It makes no sense.
Things get worse.
There are a few types of cookies that only ABC makes. One such cookie is called Thanks-A-Lot. Thanks-A-Lots are, according to Wikipedia, “shortbread cookie[s] dipped in chocolate with a thank you message,” which allow you to show gratitude to someone in the most sarcastic way imaginable. “Ugh, you wrote me a letter of recommendation. Thanks-A-Lot. Here, eat these shitty cookies.” There is, for the record, a totally different flavor of cookie from LBB called Thank You Berry Munch. Those don’t have thank-you messages on them, but they’d probably be better gifts, because you can’t be sarcastic while making two terrible puns in a row. You can only be very earnest and endearing.
What we’ve learned so far is that ABC has demonstrated an impressive amount of determination to ruin the good name of Girl Scout Cookies. But I’m sorry to tell you we’ve arrived at an issue that goes deeper than mere names. After all, a Tagalong by any other name still tastes as sweet, as long as it’s not called a Peanut Butter Patty and you’re not thinking too hard about the concept of a Peanut Butter Patty. But ABC had to take it a step further. ABC had to create Cranberry Citrus Crisps.
What, you ask, are Cranberry Citrus Crisps? In ABC’s own words written on its own website, they’re “crispy cookie[s], made with whole grain, full of tangy cranberry bits and zesty citrus flavor.” Everything after the word “cookie” directly contradicts the definition of a cookie. Cookies are sweet and buttery. They are not “zesty,” and they’re certainly not “tangy.” They’re made of fat and sugar, not “whole grain.”
A zesty, tangy, whole-grain item may be an appropriate snack at certain points in one’s life, but it is not a cookie, and calling it by that name dishonors every baker, grandma, and welcoming neighbor who’s ever mixed semisweet chocolate chips into a bowl of dough. There may be some liberties that can be taken with the cookie medium, but there is also a line that mustn’t be crossed, and ABC has vaulted over that line like a confectionery Evil Knievel—emphasis on the “evil.” To market a monstrosity, a perversion, like the Cranberry Citrus Crisp as a Girl Scout cookie—one of the highest forms of store-bought cookie!—is to spit in the flour-speckled eye of he who baked us all: God himself.
Also ABC calls them Shortbreads instead of Trefoils, which is boring.