During my first visit to Maine (which I loved, by the way), we had some lobster (or lobstah), which I didn’t care for, not being a lobster fan. We also had some great pie, picked some fresh blueberries and made blueberry cobbler, and enjoyed many other treats. I also got some Moxie soda and enjoyed that, being one of those people who actually do like it, albeit on an occasional basis.
I also had the official state snack, and was surprised at how darn good these little cakes were. I didn’t know at the time, however, that I was eating the official snack of Maine, the whoopie pie.
Whoopie pies look like something you’d find in a Little Debbie box, only much larger. They are not pies, and no, they are not cookies, although they are often called “sandwich cookies.” Apparently, there is debate here, so if you choose to call them “cakey cookies” I won’t argue. A lot would depend, I suppose, on whether your recipe seemed more like a dough, or more like a batter. The whoopie pie seems to be somewhere in between, according to many people, but according to me, it’s a cake.
They are basically individual round chocolate cakes sandwiching a big wallop of white, creamy, and fluffy filling, usually based on marhmallow creme. Many variations of this basic and traditioal whoopie pie exist, such as peanut butter, pumpkin, and molasses.
Whoopie pies are also big in Pennsylvania, where they are attributed to the Pennsylvania Dutch. They can be found, of course, anywhere between Maine and Pennsylvania, its just that these two states are the ‘hot-spots.’ They most likely originated in New England, at least according to Peter Schlicthing, a dietician from New Hampshire, who investigated the whoope pie’s origins and found that the basic recipe began to appear in recipe collections from several different states during the Great Depression. Although we cannot be sure, he claims that the Berwick Cake Company of Boston was the first to begin making them in 1926. The company closed in 1977. The fact that it is called a pie, and that it bears at least a slight resemblance to Boston Cream Pie, may lend some credence to this.
As for the whoopie part, well, we’ll never know. One story has it that a baker had some leftover cake batter and deposited into generous portions as if making pancakes. It turned out so well that he exclaimed, “Whoopie! Pies!
Sure, let’s go with that.
Other foods that Maine has adopted are the wild blueberry (for good reason), and blueberry pie (these people are smart, although they should try our blueberry cobbler). Moxie is the official soft drink. And salmon is the official fish. Surprisingly, lobster has not been adopted as the official shellfish.
By the way, I saw more moose than anyone else in our group. Five!