Tales from the Trail

Elizabeth Warren recalls Girl Scouts armed with sharp knives

March 12, 2012

Monday is the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts of the USA, an organization that has made it their mission to help young girls develop their full potential. So what better way to mark the occasion for Elizabeth Warren, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, than a fund-raising solicitation?

Democrat Warren, who is in a close race with Republican Scott Brown, reminisced in a note to supporters about the days when her daughter and some-time collaborator Amelia Warren Tyagi was a Brownie and Warren was a troop leader.

“When the girls were about eight, we decided to do a several-week project on cooking, culminating in each team of girls making an awesome mac-and-cheese. And the girls made other masterpieces: jello-with-canned-fruit, pancakes, biscuits, and barbecue sauce,” said the Harvard Law School professor and former Obama administration official.

“But the girls wanted one more session: they wanted to use knives — real, honest-to-goodness sharp knives.

“I really, really didn’t want to arm twelve little girls with knives, particularly when a couple of the girls were fairly excitable. But I couldn’t deny the girls’ argument that the safe use of a knife was a basic cooking skill, and they all absolutely, positively promised to be responsible, calm and careful. So I agreed. The hardest part was borrowing extra paring knives from all the neighbors with the explanation that I wanted to give them to children.

“The big day came, and we drilled on the basics: how to walk with a knife (at your side, never in front of you), how to hold a knife for cutting, and how to care for a cutting board. We successfully cut bananas with table knives, bread with serrated knives, and — the pinnacle — we cut celery, tomatoes, and green peppers with sharp paring knives, and best of all, without injury.”

If Warren wins her Senate race she will have plenty of Girl Scout alumnae with her in Congress. The organization reports that 10 of 17 women in the U.S. Senate and 45 of 75 women in the House of Representative are former Girl Scouts.

For now the knives are in their holsters between Warren and Brown, who recently hammered out an agreement that attempts to keep the deep-pocketed independent groups known as Super PACs out of their Senate race. But Warren has clearly put Brown on notice. She has knives, and she knows how to use them.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Warren speaks to reporters at the Reuters Financial Regulation Summit in Washington, April 27, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Theile

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