Food Fight: Maine Legislature Takes Up Whoopie Pies The state Legislature is poised to make the chocolate cake sandwich the official state dessert, despite claims that it did not originate in Maine. Some lawmakers support the bill, while others say the state should not promote the fatty treat when 30 percent of students there are overweight.

Food Fight: Maine Legislature Takes Up Whoopie Pies

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And in an unrelated development, we have a story now about whoopie pies. Maine is poised to make the chocolate cookies with the fluffy white filling the official state desert, even though some say they were actually invented in Pennsylvania.

A.J. Higgins reports from the Maine State House.

A.J. HIGGINS: As far as State Representative Paul Davis is concerned, there was nothing half-baked about his bill to make the whoopie pie the official state dessert, even if it's origin is uncertain. He says no Mainer has to go far to find a whoopie pie.

Representative PAUL T. DAVIS, SR. (Republican, Maine): Bakeries, corner stores, mom and pop shops, supermarkets restaurants, lunch stands, hotels, motels, B&Bs, taverns, bars, dance halls - wherever.

HIGGINS: As it turns out, demand for whoopies is up.

Mr. AMOS ORCUTT (President, Maine Whoopie Pie Association): Whoopie pies have been on the rise for several years and no one can pinpoint exactly the reason.

HIGGINS: Amos Orcutt, of the Maine Whoopie Pie Association, says he first got the idea about proclaiming the snack as the state dessert from a New York Times article, in which the author asserted that if the whoopie pie wasn't the state dessert, it should be.

Part of its appeal, Orcutt says, may be somewhat nostalgic.

Mr. ORCUTT: Perhaps they invoke home cooking; provide a comfort food in these difficult economic times. The whoopie pie is unique to Maine and an icon that has received national recognition for its culinary appeal.

HIGGINS: Maine legislators spent an hour and a half listening to testimony about the whoopie pie. And there were some competing points of view. State Representative Don Pilon, of Saco, told the committee that at a time when more than 30 percent of Maine students are overweight, whoopie pies are not the dessert to promote.

Representative DON PILON (Democrat, Maine): Do we really want to want to glorify a dessert that lists lard as its primary ingredient?

HIGGINS: Pilon says that since Maine blueberries represent a major industry in the state, the wild blueberry pie should be the official state dessert. But it looks like the legislature is ready to embrace the whoopie pie instead. It even has its own song.

For NPR News I'm A.J. Higgins in Augusta, Maine.

(Soundbite of song, "Whoopie Pie")

Mr. JOHN LINSCOTT (Songwriter): (Singing) First you bake a chocolate cake, then cut the cake in two. Between the...

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