I’ve been a little behind in my blogging the past couple of weeks (I do a few others besides this one) and I’m trying to catch up. Between dealing with Hurricane Sandy, stupid stuff at work, and an-out-of-town trip, I just haven’t been able to keep up the blogs. But I’m getting back into the swing.
Speaking of out-of-town trips, I just got back from visiting someone in Alabama. Trips to the South mean some very interesting culinary adventures. This time around, I had myself a fried MoonPie. Yes, I’m referring to the round cake-and-marshmallow treat that have been around forever.
MoonPies were created in 1917 by Earl Mitchell, a bakery salesman. He visited the Chattanooga Bakery, which catered to the local miners. The miners told him that they wanted a snack that was substantial and filling because they didn’t always get to break for lunch. When Mr. Mitchell asked them how big they wanted this snack, a miner made a round shape with his hands and said, “About that big.” He went back to the bakery, where they were already making cookies dipped in marshmallow, and told them what he wanted. It’s unclear from the history on Moonpie.com who came up with the idea, but someone suggested adding another cookie so that the marshmallow sat in between, and then coating the entire thing in chocolate. They got an excellent response to it. By the 1930s, it was a standard treat in the South. During World War II, the Chattanooga Bakery sent MoonPies to troops overseas.
The advent of the vending machines lead to the creation of the double-decker MoonPie. Evidently, the original, single-decker MoonPie would slip through the spaces in the machine. So, the three-cookied MoonPie was born.
MoonPies became particularly important in Alabama. During Mardi Gras in Mobile—which is considered the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the U.S.—MoonPies were thrown into the crowd from parade floats. And, according to Sam Walton’s’s autobiography, Made in America, a MoonPie-eating contest takes place every year in Oneonta, Alabama. This supposedly was started by a Wal-Mart employee who ordered too many MoonPies and had to do something with them.
And it was in Alabama that I had my first—and, I’m quite sure, my only—fried MoonPie. It was on the dessert menu at the Railyard Brewing Co., a brew pub in Montgomery. After a fine lunch, it was impossible to resist. It was disgustingly delicious, the kind of good that you know you shouldn’t like because the combination of ingredients and technique were completely contrary to all that we know about healthy eating and uniquely designed to harden your arteries instantaneously. But like you shall, because the marshmallow in the middle was smooth and creamy, while the outer shell was crispy, sweet, and not at all greasy. When you break into it, the marshmallow and chocolate ooze out just a bit and I found myself chasing it around the plate. Accompanied by a bowl of vanilla ice cream, sliced bananas, and caramel sauce, the fried MoonPie was a fun experience that I can now cross off my list. After all, I want to live a while.