make some whoopie neath the moon in June


Hey there! You’re just in time to take a bite of the moon.

Pie Month here at alphabet soup just wouldn’t be complete without serving the one and only MoonPie — not really a pie, not quite a cookie, and a little like a cake.               
Since 1917, the famous Chattanooga Bakery in Tennessee has been baking baking baking these iconic treats nonstop. According to the official Moonpie website, these graham cracker, marshmallow filled, chocolate dipped goodies were first conceived by Earl Mitchell, Sr., who was trying to come up with a suitable lunch pail snack for coal miners in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. They became so popular, that in the 1950’s the bakery began to devote itself solely to their production.

I didn’t know anything about MoonPies until high school. I certainly hadn’t seen them in any of our local grocery stores and no one in Hawai’i ever talked about them. But one day in the school cafeteria I saw some kids, army brats from Schofield Barracks, devouring these chocolatey things like there was no tomorrow. I was so jealous! Where did they get them? At the base commissary? Or did family from back home on the Mainland send them a lifetime supply? To me, a MoonPie was positively exotic.

More important, Kerry Madden, one of my favorite authors who wrote the Maggie Valley Trilogy (Gentle’s Holler, Louisiana’s Song, and Jessie’s Mountain), talked about MoonPies on her blog recently. She ordered them special from the Chattanooga Bakery just for her Jessie’s Mountain launch party! She said they’d be just the kind of thing the Weems family would eat. Nuff said!

Now, those of you up north might call these little rascals Scooter Pies, and if you’re from New England, you have your Whoopie 
Pies — similar in concept, but instead of two graham cracker cookies, you like two little round chocolate cakes filled with a fluffy sweet icing instead of marshmallow creme. Go ahead, be independent!

                           whoop, whoop, whoopie!

And if you’re inclined to think of this topic as mere fluff, consider the literary contribution by Tony DiTerlizzi, a picture book called Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-This-World MoonPie Adventure (Simon and Schuster, 2000).

    by Tony DiTerlizzi (Simon and Schuster, 2000), ages 4-8, 40 pp.

In this zany action-filled fantasy decked out in 50’s retro paintings, Jimmy wants a MoonPie, but his mom says it’s too close to dinner time. What’s a boy to do? Make a wish and hold on tight as his junk jumbilee jalopy rockets up to the moon! After a funny verbal spar with Mr. Moon, Jimmy receives a whole year’s supply of Moonpies, but wishes he had some milk to go with them. So it’s off to the Milky Way where he finds "gallons and quarts and pints of milk." He meets 999 Mars Men and a giant Grimble Grinder, who hankers for a Moonpie of his own. You’ll have to read the book to find out how Jimmy gets home in time for dinner.

So, are you hungry for a Moonpie right about now? Check out the MoonPie website for retail stores in your area that carry them, or you can order them online. They now come in other flavors besides chocolate — vanilla, strawberry, banana, lemon and orange, and they also come in double decker and mini! 

The Chattanooga Bakery MoonPie recipe is still under wraps, naturally, but if you’re feeling ambitious over the weekend, you can make your own Whoopie Pies. Knock yourself out. Croon neath the moon in June . . . 


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