August 10 is National S’mores Day. To be clear, National S’mores Day is a completely made up holiday invented by the National Confectioners Association trade group to gin up sales of marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey’s bars. But this year it was also an occasion for great celebration, because Girl Scouts of the USA announced on Wednesday that they would introduce not one but two s’mores-flavored Girl Scout Cookies in 2017.*
The Girl Scouts, you see, were responsible for popularizing s’mores in the 1920s, although it took them a while to land on the proper spelling. According to a Girl Scouts press release, “The organization was one of the first to publish the iconic recipe under the name ‘Some More’ in a 1925 issue of Girl Scout Leader magazine, and then as ‘somemores’ in an official 1927 Girl Scout publication.” To take belated credit for their contribution to American campfire culture, and to celebrate 100 years of cookie hawking, the Girl Scouts are adding two new recipes to their current lineup of 12 cookies. The first of these new varieties will be “a crispy graham cookie double dipped in a crème icing and enrobed in a chocolatey coating,” according to the press release. The second will be “a crunchy graham sandwich cookie with a chocolate and marshmallowy filling.”
I can’t wait to try both of them. There are only two problems: First, they won’t be available until January at the very earliest. (Girl Scout cookie season varies regionally; to find out when Girl Scouts in your area will be selling cookies, enter your zip code in the Girl Scout cookies site.) The second problem is more dire: These new cookies, despite being completely different configurations of chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallow, both have the same name, “Girl Scout S’mores.”
That’s because each new cookie will be manufactured by a different baker. The chocolate-coated ones will be made by ABC Bakers, while the sandwich ones will be made by Little Brownie Bakers. If you know anything about Girl Scout cookies, you’ll know that these two rival bakers have long served different regions and used slightly different recipes for classics like Shortbread (which Little Brownie Bakers calls Trefoils), Caramel deLites (which Little Brownie Bakers calls Samoas), and Peanut Butter Patties (which Little Brownie Bakers calls Tagalongs). The fact that Little Brownie and ABC Bakers use different names for what are for all intents and purposes the same cookie has always been confusing. But for the two cookie giants to use the same name for two different cookies is insane. How are we supposed to know which Girl Scout S’mores we’ll be getting when we place an order with our boss’s tween daughter? How will we even talk about these two different cookies? Picture this: You’re at a party five months from now, bonding with a new acquaintance over how good the Girl Scouts S’mores cookies are—until you realize that you’re not even talking about the same cookie. Quelle horreur!
Clearly, Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers have decided that the best way to wage their cold war is to confuse consumers over which s’mores cookie is which. But there’s a better way, one that the two rival bakers have already discovered. After ABC Bakers launched Lemonades, a round lemony shortbread cookie, in 2006, Little Brownie Bakers responded by introducing a different lemon shortbread cookie in 2011, this one wedge-shaped and coated in powdered sugar. Here’s the thing: Little Brownie Bakers gave this new lemon cookie a different name, Savannah Smiles. Thus is it possible to order and talk about the two different kind of Girl Scout lemon cookies with clarity and precision.
Clarity and precision are not currently possible when talking about the forthcoming dueling s’mores cookies. If the Girl Scouts and its warring suppliers refuse to give the two different s’mores cookies two different names, consumers will have to take matters into our own hands. For lack of better options, let’s all agree to call the ABC Bakers version “chocolate-covered s’mores” and the Little Brownie Bakers version “sandwich s’mores.” If ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers had tried, they probably could have come up with better names for their respective creations. ABC Bakers could have gone with the dignified “S’mores Grahams,” and Little Brownie Bakers could have coined something like “Campfirealongs.” But they didn’t.
Correction, August 11: This post originally misidentified Girl Scouts of the USA as Girl Scouts of America.