When Tom and I lived in Nashville, I would sometimes buy a Moon Pie as a tasty treat. If you have never had a Moon Pie, you are missing out, because it is three layers of marshmallow, graham and chocolate deliciousness. Moon Pies are now commonly available all over the United States and you can get them at the grocery store or convenience store. Back when we lived in Nashville, however, they were a regional treat that you could only get in the southeast.
Moon Pies originated at the Chattanooga Lookout Bakery in 1917. Earl Mitchell Sr. invented them, coming up with the idea for Moon Pies when he asked a Kentucky coal miner what kind of snack he would like to eat, and the miner requested something with graham cracker and marshmallow which had been dipped in chocolate. When Mitchell asked how big it should be, the miner looked up in the night sky and framed the full moon with his hands. There is a custom for eating moon pies with RC Cola, although the origin of this is unknown. It is likely that their inexpensive prices, combined with their larger serving sizes, contributed to establishing this combination as the “working man’s lunch”. Moon Pies were so successful that the Lookout Bakery stopped baking everything except Moon Pies.
On Monday Tom and I visited the Moon Pie General Store in downtown Chattanooga. It was like stepping back in time. There were all kinds of candy from our childhoods, nostalgic and funny greeting cards, old-fashioned games, and a soda fountain (where you can get Moon Pie ice cream on a Moon Pie). Of course, the central item in the store is Moon Pies.
Moon Pies come in three sizes: single, double-decker, and mini. They also come in many flavors besides the traditional chocolate: vanilla, strawberry, lemon, orange, and banana. Salted caramel was introduced last year. Chocolate is far and away the best seller. Tom and I spent a long time picking out some Moon Pies and deciding which ones to buy. The double-decker Moon Pies are only 95 cents, so they are still a good deal. There was also plenty of Moon Pie paraphernalia: shirts, coasters, bumper stickers.
You can also shop for Moon Pies online and you can even personalize a box with a picture! Hmmm. Christmas presents of Moon Pies anyone? The Moon Pie website also has Moon Pie recipes and I found a recipe for Moon Pie Banana Pudding that sounds delicious!
The Moon Pie General Store was a lot of fun and I’m sure Tom and I will be heading back there again.