Home Business and Labor The Great Whoopie Pie Controversy

The Great Whoopie Pie Controversy

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Did the Whoopie Pie originate in New England or Pennsylvania? New England claims the treat as its own, while Pennsylvania argues Amish farmers first made them in their kitchens.

Whoopie Pie

Maine’s official state treat

Food historians may never find the answer, though they do agree the Whoopie Pie originated sometime around the 1920s.

They belong to the same culinary family as Scooter Pies, Moon Pies, Devil Dogs, and Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies. Second cousins are Mallomars and S’mores, according to the Food History Timeline.

They are generally made of two mound-shaped pieces of cake — usually chocolate — sandwiched around a sweet frosting.

Flufferettes

The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink attributes New England’s love for the tasty treat to Durkee-Mower, the Lynn, Mass., makers of marshmallow crème.  In the ‘30s Durkee-Mower sponsored a variety show called the Flufferettes on the 21 stations of the Yankee Radio Network.

The final episode featured the Yummy Book, which included recipes for cakes, pies, candies, frostings, the fluffernutter sandwich and the Whoopie Pie.

That makes the Whoopie Pie a sibling of the fluffernutter sandwich, invented by Emma Curtis, Paul Revere’s great-great-great-granddaughter.

Pennsylvanians claim Amish cooks were the first to make them, with extra cake batter sandwiched together with a sweet cream or icing filling. Legend has it that children shouted ‘Whoopie’ when they found them in their lunch pails.

berwick whoopie pieThere’s more than mere legend to support New England’s claim to ownership of the treat. The first known advertisement for the pie dates from 1931 — by the Berwick Cake Co., in the Roxbury section of Boston. The faded letters “Whoopee! Pies” can still be seen on the old brick Berwick building.

In addition, Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston, Maine, has been making Whoopie Pies since 1925, according to Jennifer Smith-Mayo and Michael Mayo in Maine Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Pine Tree StateUnfortunately, a fire wiped out documentation of Labadie’s Whoopie-Pie making history.

Honored in Maine

The State of Maine, however, stepped in to lay claim to the confection and in 2011 declared it the official state treat of the State of Maine (the official dessert: the blueberry pie).

Maine canceled its annual Whoopie Pie Festival, scheduled for October 2 in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers rescheduled it for June 25 in 2022 in Dover-Foxcroft. Click here for the map.

This story was updated in 2022. Image of Whoopie pie By Arnold Gatilao – originally posted to Flickr as Whoopie Pie, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10325942

16 comments

Jonathan Spillane June 23, 2014 - 7:58 pm

That’s silly everyone knows the Amish don’t exist. I bet one single Amish person won’t come on here to refute the point neither. ☺

Maine Whoopie Pie September 23, 2018 - 11:08 pm

Also I am certain that the Amish don’t know anything about making whoppie.

David Bushika June 23, 2014 - 8:09 pm

Everything that Pennsylvania makes claims to is pretty much fake hahahaha!

Carol Downey June 23, 2014 - 8:58 pm

I have no idea, but my grandmother from MA made the most delicious whoopee pies.

Jonathan Armstrong June 23, 2014 - 10:11 pm

I don’t care as long as I get to eat one

Rae Thompson June 23, 2014 - 11:49 pm

Maine

David Newman June 24, 2014 - 9:42 am

This is crazy. Of course it’s New England. Pennsylvania is always trying claim things that are really from New England. Ben Franklin for example….and American Independence!!! Both born in Boston!!!

David Newman June 24, 2014 - 9:42 am

This is crazy. Of course it’s New England. Pennsylvania is always trying claim things that are really from New England. Ben Franklin for example….and American Independence!!! Both born in Boston!!!

Erica Groh June 24, 2014 - 10:58 pm

The shoo fly pie by the Amish is delicious so they could have….. But it would have been from scratch! Lol

Erica Groh June 24, 2014 - 10:58 pm

The shoo fly pie by the Amish is delicious so they could have….. But it would have been from scratch! Lol

J W Stone August 18, 2015 - 7:36 am

I solved the issue on a trip to Maine last week. The famous Wyeth painting family bought them in PA. and took them to Maine when they traveled there to paint.
So PA. invented them

Ha

A Fulfilling Story: New England Pie History - New England Historical Society November 20, 2015 - 9:19 am

[…] Pumpkin pie might not have happened without New England, where rhubarb pie is revered in the springtime. In New England’s Little Canadas, Franco-Americans celebrate the Christmas holidays with spiced meat pies called tourtiere. Vermonters favor maple pie, and Boston is the birthplace of the Boston Cream Pie — which really isn’t a pie, but then again neither is Maine’s official state treat, the Whoopie Pie. […]

Dish of the Week: Whoopie Pie - Houston Press - Sebits May 9, 2016 - 9:41 am

[…] birth rights. Maine has even named the dessert its official state treat. The exact origins are still debated (did German immigrants bring it to Pennsylvania or was it invented in Massachusetts before […]

12 foods you need to try if you visit the East Coast – CapitolZero July 22, 2019 - 12:24 pm

[…] been served for dessert for decades. It’s generally accepted that this dessert has roots in the 1920s and a variety of East-Coast states like New Hampshire, Maine, and Pennsylvania have all claimed the […]

12 meals you have to attempt should you go to the East Coast • healthly-today.com July 23, 2019 - 3:37 am

[…] served for dessert for many years. It’s typically accepted that this dessert has roots in the 1920s and quite a lot of East-Coast states like New Hampshire, Maine, and Pennsylvania have all claimed […]

A Fulfilling Story: New England Pie History - New England Historical Society March 14, 2020 - 1:57 pm

[…] Pumpkin pie might not have happened without New England, where rhubarb pie is revered in the springtime. In New England’s Little Canadas, Franco-Americans celebrate the Christmas holidays with spiced meat pies called tourtiere. Vermonters favor maple pie, and Boston is the birthplace of the Boston Cream Pie — which really isn’t a pie, but then again neither is Maine’s official state treat, the Whoopie Pie. […]

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