Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Moon Pie
The MoonPie brand logo
A moon pie or MoonPie is a pastry which consists of two round graham cracker cookies, with marshmallow filling in the center, dipped in chocolate or other flavors. The traditional pie is about three inches (76 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. The four main flavors are chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and banana. Double Decker MoonPies also come in lemon and orange; MoonPie Crunch comes only in peanut butter or mint.
History And Orgin
A double-decker Moon Pie split in half
Marshmallow creme (fluff) began shipping outside of New England in late 1917. By 1919, fluff had made its way to Chattanooga, Tennessee. During that year, the coal mines near Chattanooga started selling marshmallow creme in their company store, and the miners soon began dipping graham crackers into the fluff. A salesman for the Chattanooga Bakery, Earl Mitchell, Sr., noticed this practice when he stopped by on his bakery goods route. Pretty soon, the only sales that were made by the bakery salesman were for graham crackers. He asked one of the miners about the snack and wound up discussing a "prototype" product with them. Later when Mitchell was explaining his low sales to M.P. (Mitchell Poe) Shauf, the general foreman and chef for the Chattanooga Bakery, he gave Shauf the idea for the Moon Pie. M. P. Shauf decided to make something for the miners to buy. One day in late 1919, after several different recipes, he made a full size pie with graham crackers and marshmallow fluff. That same day, he had his 3-year-old grandson, Stanley Shauf with him at the bakery and offered his grandson a pie to taste. Because the pie had small indentions where the marshmallow cream was cooked and bubbles had popped, Stanley said it looked like the moon. M.P. Shauf yelled “Moon Pie" so loud that it scared his grandson to tears.
It is uncertain whence the tradition of eating moon pies with RC Cola derived, 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 1950's, by Big Bill Lister, "Gimmee an RC Cola and a Moon Pie."
Since New Year's Eve 2008, the city of Mobile, Alabama raises a 12-foot-tall (3.7 m) lighted mechanical moon pie 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 moon pie baked for the occasion. It weighed 55 pounds (25 kg) and contained 45,000 calories.
There is a Moon Pie and RC Festival in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and a Moon Pie 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.
Single-layer Moon Pie
A MoonPie is made with marshmallow, which is a low-fat but high-sugar food. The nutritional content of a chocolate full-size or Mini MoonPie (from 2004) is detailed below, showing (full-size) 226 calories, saturated fat 3.5g, carbohydrate 40g, protein 4g, iron 5%, of a total weight of 57 grams (2 ounces). The nutritional data for a chocolate Mini MoonPie is about 65% the amount of full-size.
The ingredients are as follows: Enriched wheat flour (Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic acid), Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Vegetable Shortening (Contains Partially hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/or Cottonseed Oil and/or Coconut Oil and/or Palm kernel oil and/or Palm Oil), Soy Flour, Dutched Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Cocoa, Gelatin, Baking Soda, Lecithin, Salt, Artificial Flavoring, Sodium sulfite.
Nutrition facts for chocolate MoonPie (full-size):
Serving size: 1 (57g or 2 oz)
Calories: 226 Calories from fat: 51
Total fat: 5.7g (saturated fat 3.5g) Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 188mg
Total Carbohydrate: 40g (dietary fiber 0g, sugars 12.5g)
Protein: 4g Vitamin A: 0% Vitamin C: 0% Iron: 5%.
Nutrition facts for chocolate Mini MoonPie:
Serving size: 1 (34g or 1.2 oz)
Calories: 152 (or 130) Calories from fat: 40 (or 30)
Total fat: 4.5g (saturated fat 3g) Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 120mg
Total Carbohydrate: 26g (dietary fiber 0g, sugars 8g)
Note that the nutrition data is for a chocolate MoonPie or chocolate Mini MoonPie, while other flavors (such as banana, vanilla, strawberry, or orange) might have different nutritional content.
In the northern regions of the United States, a similar product, manufactured by Burry's, was called a "Scooter Pie"; currently Chattanooga Bakery makes a product of the same name for some markets. Also, compare with Mallomars, a single-cracker marshmallow cookie. In the UK, Australia and Canada there are Wagon Wheels, introduced under the Weston name in the 1940's but since divested to other companies in the UK and Australia. The Korean company Orion and the Korean conglomerate Lotte produce Choco Pies and in Mexico is a similar cookie pie called Mamut. The Turkish food manufacturer Ülker also makes a similar product called "Halley".
Mardi Gras Tradition
The Moon Pie became a traditional "throw" (an item thrown from a parade float into the crowd) of Mardi Gras "krewes" (parade participants) in Mobile, Alabama during 1956, followed by other communities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The westernmost outpost of the Moon Pie as an important Carnival throw is Slidell, Louisiana, which has a parade by "The Krewe of Mona Lisa and Moon Pie." Also, in the town of Oneonta, Alabama, there is a moon pie eating contest started by Wal-Mart employee John Love when he inadvertently ordered too many. This anecdote was featured in Sam Walton's autobiography, Made in America.
Official Chattanooga Bakery website
Chocolate-coated marshmallow treats