Friday, December 4, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - What a time to be alive!

As a 'northern boy' the fruits of Southern labor weren't a common experience. Grits, biscuits and gravy, chicken-fried anything, custard pies, all foreign to me as a child. In fact, I was 30 years old before I ever had my first Moon Pie.
The experience still lingers, though, having bought an entire box at the Cracker Barrel. It was like a s'more, but I didn't get sticky. Yeah, I'm weird that way, and that's precisely why I don't eat s'mores.
I get the impression that southern grandmothers everywhere make homemade moon pies just to pass the time while their chess, custard and pecan pies are cooling on the windowsill. However, the idea of a manufactured, packaged Moon Pie began in 1917 at the Chattanooga Bakery in Tennessee.
Earl Mitchell Sr. is credited by the bakery with the original concept. Mitchell’s story, according to their historians, indicates that when asking coal miners what they'd like for a snack, they requested something solid, filling, and 'big as the moon'.

Upon his return to the bakery, Earl noticed some of the workers dipping graham cookies into marshmallow and laying them on the window sill to harden. So they added another cookie and a generous coating of chocolate and sent them back for the workers to try. In fact, they sent MoonPie® samples around with their other salespeople, too. The response they got back was so enormous that the MoonPie® became a regular item for the bakery.

By the late 1950's, the MoonPie® had grown in popularity, so much that the bakery did not have the resources available to produce anything else.

So popular has this food icon become, several years ago Mobile, AL officials were contemplating ways to incorporate the oversized sandwich cookie into New Year's celebrations. Hey, why not?

A cousin to this beauty is the Scooter Pie, and apparently, even though it's the bastardized northern version of the original, I never had one of these, either. Now it looks like they're only available through novelty food sites, while I can just run over to my corner Marathon station and have my choice of all the Moon Pie flavors.

As some post-writing research, I think I need to run out and get the other flavors to compare, since I've only had chocolate so far. (Call me a traditionalist.) They also make banana, vanilla and orange. And apparently, since "RC Cola and a MoonPie®" seems to be a theme, I might need to get me one of them, as well. I only ever see the triple-deckers, but I've had the original and they also make 'mini' Moon Pies. I don't see the point of that.

If you live in the American southeast, you should also be watching your state and county fairs for the batter-dipped, deep-fried Moon Pie. Because how could that be a bad idea?

Finally, as if reading my posts doesn't kill your productivity already, check out the official Moon Pie website for some games! Fun for the whole family!


Bev said...

This northerner has ALSO never had a moon pie.

Gwen said...

I consider Missouri to be the northern edge of the South and yet I have never purchased or eaten a Moon Pie. (We do have them.) I had no idea they were like a s'more. I like having to wash my face and hands after a s'more so I'll likely just stick to that. Besides, after much experimenting, I have perfected the microwaved s'more. It's all about timing.

Kris said...

Moon pies are Food of the Gods, and especially welcome during times of severe PMS or just plain bitchiness. Mellow me out every time.

Stuart said...

I think Trader Joe's makes their own version of those with whole-grain crackers dipped in hummus and coated with carob goo. They're called "Hate Your Child Pies".

wv - sesses: the sound that comes after the word "breast"

Mary said...

I can tell you, with pride, that this northerner has never had a Moon Pie either...although I had no idea it was like a less messy version of a s'more!
I might need to check it out.
However, I draw the line at a Moon Pie AND an RC Cola...that is crossing the line into 'billiedom and I will have none of that.

carissajaded said...

My mouth is just watering now. I love the moon pie. I grew up with them... I NEED one now! And RC Cola! I can't think of my childhood without these two items... I blame you for the five lbs I'm about to gain.

I'm blaming you

That Kind of Girl said...

Oh man! I'm not a big Moon Pie fan, but the words "chess pie" just made my southern-food-lovin' heart skip a beat. One of the all-time great pies!

dogimo said...

So good. I wish the It's It corporation would tweak up a knockoff - marshmallow ice cream in! And graham beats oatmeal, deffily.

Elliott said...

Bev, Mary, I think it's something one must try at least once. Of course, it was 30 years before I ever saw them in the northland, so if you can't find them, you can't find them.

Gwen, you have no excuse. Think of it as s'more on the go.

Kris, I think everyone needs a food like that.

Stuart, that's wrong. You just bumped TJ down a few notches in my esteem. And I love that you always get the best word verfs ever.

Carissa, why stop at 5? I have 10 you could have and I wouldn't miss them.

TKOG, I love all pie, but the non-fruit versions of the south are among my favorites.

Dogimo, I've had marshmallow ice cream somewhere, I think you might be onto something special with this.

Be nice and share!

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