“Rare was the UW-Madison student backpack in 1969 that did not have a pocket lined with the crumbs of a guerrilla cookie.”
—Wisconsin State Journal, 2004
Inspired by the Mifflin Street Co-Op’s 35th anniversary, Hesselberg wrote about the fabled snack in 2004. His Wisconsin State Journal
article has become frequently quoted by guerrilla cookie detectives on blogs and online forums.
According to Hesselberg’s research, the cookie began with Mary MacDowell MA’67, who, as a graduate student, modified a recipe on the back of a box of Tiger’s Milk, a protein-rich treat from the era. She and her husband shared anti-war sentiments, and it was he who proposed calling them “guerrilla cookies.” At the time, Ted Odell was living in a car in the garage behind their apartment. He came upon MacDowell baking one day, and he asked for the recipe. He made a few changes and began baking them at Quercus Alba Bakery. The rest is history.
By the 1980s, local bakeries ceased production of guerrilla cookies. Creator Ted Odell moved on. And the legend began to grow, until the protein-packed cookie stacks achieved cult status as the snack of a generation of Badgers.
In 2000, Nature’s Bakery on Williamson Street held a contest to create the G2K, or Guerrilla 2000. A few years later, MacDowell gave her original Tiger’s Milk recipe to the Mifflin Street Co-Op for reproduction, but it was met with disdain by those who cherished their personal recollections of Odell's “original.”