When I growing up, my mother would buy cookies from Pepperidge Farm or LU at the grocery store. I would sneak a few for my lunch or as an afternoon snack, with a glass of milk. From Pepperidge Farm, there would be those mint or orange Milano ones, or the lacy Brussels cookies that had chocolate sandwiched between two fragile rounds, or those big chocolate-chunk cookies, almost equal parts chocolate and nuts and cookie. Sometimes there would be biscuits from LU, those plain biscuits topped with chocolate that had a schoolboy imprinted on their glossy dark surface, or those multi-layered chocolate wafers, with or without a sleek coating of chocolate that melted all over your fingers, or the Pim's that had an orange-flavored jelly center covered with chocolate. (I swear I remember a soft round biscuit filled with honey and capped with chocolate, but these have vanished off the face of the earth and now I wonder if perhaps I imagined them).
But any of those can be bought anywhere, anytime. (Now I only buy them during late-night supermarket raids when I see them on sale, otherwise I would be living on cookies). Girl Scout cookies are something else. Part of their allure is that they, like the holidays, only come around once a year. When I see little girls in front of grocery stores with their cases and cases of cookies I know, just as I know when I see the plum trees blossoming along the avenues, that spring is here. It used to be that the doorbell would ring and some little girl scout (or a group of them) would be standing there with a stack of order forms. Or a friend was a girl scout, or the daughter or niece of a friend. Now I live in a high-rise condominium, not a house in a neighborhood full of young children (some of them, of course, Girl Scouts). So I have to search for them like one of those knights on a quest for the Holy Grail.
Ah, Girl Scout cookies. Which do you choose? Those plain shortbread ones, or those peanut-butter-filled ones, either plain (Do-Si-Does) or topped with chocolate (Tagalongs), or those addictive Samoas, all coconut and chocolate, chewy and sweet and the perfect accompaniment to a tall glass of milk. But there is nothing better than the Thin Mint. Oh, the Thin Mint. I buy these every year, boxes of them, and I am so afraid that I will run out that I keep a few spare boxes in the freezer just to make sure I'll have enough to last me until spring comes around and there are little girls with cases of cookies outside Whole Foods again. There is nothing like the taste of a Thin Mint, the sharp coolness of mint against the dark sweetness of chocolate, your teeth biting through the thin layer of chocolate to the crunchy cookie within. This year it was a young blonde girl with a sparkly tiara that was selling Girl Scout cookies outside the grocery store, and although I have ordered several boxes from a co-worker's niece, I cannot wait another two weeks and give in to the desire for some Thin Mints. It's springtime again.