I was reminded of this yesterday while food shopping and when I spotted a large display of MoonPies. "Wow, I wonder how many people outside of the American South have even heard of this item," I thought.
A definition is in order: MoonPie is a snack cake consisting of two round graham cracker cookies, with marshmallow filling in the center and dipped in chocolate, banana, coconut and several other flavored coatings. The traditional pie is about four inches (100 mm) in diameter. A smaller version exists (mini MoonPie) that is about half the size, and a Double-Decker MoonPie of the traditional diameter features a third cookie and attendant layer of marshmallow.
Just for old-times sake I bought one. It happened to be one with an orange-flavored coating. I was never a huge fan of this snack cake, but several years ago someone told me they were better if microwaved about 20 seconds. I bought them a few times when the children were at home, and we tried the microwaving trick. Hmm, tastes about the same to me, except warm.
But I ate it yesterday anyway. Below is an image of the pie:
MoonPies were first introduced in the Chattanooga, Tennessee, area around the time of the beginning of the Great Depression (1930s). Bakers there combined recently-introduced marshmallow fluff with graham crackers to devise an early sandwich-like prototype to the MoonPie. Eventually, chocolate was added to create roughly the final shape known today.
The origin of the name is suspected to relate to the pie’s round appearance and may have been acquired back before chocolate was added, giving a color more similar to that of the moon.
Precisely how and when people began the custom of eating MoonPies with RC Cola is unknown, although it is likely that their inexpensive prices, combined with their larger serving sizes, contributed to establishing this combination as the "working man's lunch". The popularity of this combination was celebrated in a popular song of the 1950s, "Gimmee an RC Cola and a MoonPie," by Big Bill Lister.
Personally, I cannot imagine having this sweet snack as a lunch, but it was the Great Depression and I suppose people ate whatever was available.
|First made in Columbus, Georgia In 1954, Royal Crown was the first to sell a soft drink in a can, and later the first company to sell a soft drink in an aluminum can.|
Here a few fun facts I learned through research about MoonPies:
Since New Year's Eve 2008, the city of Mobile, Alabama, raises a 12-foot-tall (3.7 m) lighted mechanical MoonPie to celebrate the coming of the new year. The giant banana colored MoonPie is raised by a crane to a height of 200 feet (61 m) as the clock strikes midnight. Also, the city had for the 2008 New Year's celebration the world's largest MoonPie baked for the occasion. It weighed 55 pounds (25 kg) and contained 45,000 calories.
There is a MoonPie and RC Festival in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and a MoonPie Eating Contest in Bessemer, Alabama.
On October 16, 2010, Sonya Thomas, a competitive eater known as the "Black Widow," ate 38 MoonPies in eight minutes in Caruthersville, Missouri.
Newport, Tennessee held its first annual Moon Pie Festival in May, 2012.
While on the subject of regional foods, here are a few others unique to the Southern U.S.
Sun Drop - a citrus drink found in northern Alabama, central Tennessee, the Carolinas, western Kentucky, southeastern Missouri, and parts of Virginia
|GooGoo Cluster, a candy that originated in 1912 in Nashville, Tennessee. It consists of real
milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts and marshmallow nougat. These are very good!|
|Cornbread -- Eaten by practically all Southerners.|
|Black-eyed Peas - often cooked with chunks of ham or onions and eaten often, but especially on New Year's Day for good luck.|
|Turnip Greens, also eaten anytime but especially on New Year's Day with the peas and hog jowl.|
And lastly, red-eye gravy, a thin sauce associated with the country ham of the South. Other names include poor man's gravy, bird-eye gravy, bottom sop and red ham gravy. It is made from the drippings of pan-fried country ham, bacon, or other pork, typically mixed with black coffee. The same drippings, when mixed with flour, make the flavoring for sawmill gravy. Red-eye gravy is often served over ham, cornbread, grits, or biscuits.
Are you familiar with any, or all of these foods? Have you eaten them? If so, what is your opinion of the taste?
Wishing you a great weekend. My next post will be Monday, Sept. 17, when I will share photographs of a special event I'm attending tomorrow (Saturday).