Mary Clashman remembers  selling cookies as a Girl Scout in the 1930s. Back in those days, her mother baked the cookies.) See Page A8 for a list of Girl Scout cookie sale locations. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com
Mary Clashman remembers selling cookies as a Girl Scout in the 1930s. Back in those days, her mother baked the cookies.) See Page A8 for a list of Girl Scout cookie sale locations. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com
Since the time she was sporting a brown sash with the rest of her Girl Scout friends, Mary Clashman has loved Girl Scout cookies.

She's seen the cookie sales change from a door-to-door operation into a small industry.

When it comes to the famous treats, she might not be an expert, but she is one smart cookie.

Clashman became a Girl Scout in the 1930s and, at the time, scouts were in charge of making their own cookies at home.

"Well, my mother made the cookies. You know how that is," she said.

There was only the one cookie back then, the shortbread Trefoil. Clashman called it the original Girl Scout cookie.

"Mother made them. She pulled them out of the oven and put them out on brown paper. (They smelled) Marvelous. Marvelous. There's something about cookies."

Today the Trefoil is in the familiar shape of the Girl Scout symbol. They're also quite a bit smaller, Clashman said.

"I'll open this, and I'll lay you odds that this cookie is not half the size of the cookies we made. Not half the size," Clashman said. "Our cookies were three inches across."

They might look a little different, but did the old cookies taste better than the new ones?

"Well of course I think they are, but I'm god awful prejudiced."

Clashman lived in Louisville when she was a Girl Scout. Her father walked to work every day at the University of Louisville, and bread was delivered to her family on horseback, she said.

"Things were very different back then," she said.

Since her time in Girl Scouts, it's not just how the cookies are made that has changed but also the method in which they are sold and how many boxes are sold nationwide.

According to a report in US News and World Report, the Girl Scouts sold $786 million in cookies in their 2011-2012 season.

Girls can often be found at tables outside of stores selling their cookies with their parents' help.

That wouldn't have worked in Clashman's day. Her mother made enough to sell to the neighbors. That was it.

"They were my cookies and she was willing to make them, but they were my cookies and I had to get on my little feet, go to those neighbors and suggest that they buy a box of cookies and I was never turned down," she said.

Though the times and methods have changed, Clashman still finds it hard to say no to her favorite cookies.

"I always see them and they're always very courteous. It's hard not to buy them, as a matter of fact."

"I don't suppose there's ever been a year I haven't had Girl Scout cookies."