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A fresh sheet of whoopie pies from Pennsylvania. Members of Congress and citizens in Maine and Pennsylvania debate the delicious origins of the whoopie pie. (Matt Rourke/AP Images)

Whoopie War

In this food fight, Maine and Pennsylvania each claim to have invented the whoopie pie. Who will win?

By Zach Jones | null null , null
Pennsylvania citizens protest Maine's whoopie pie bill. (Sunday News, Justin David Graybill/AP Images)
Pennsylvania citizens protest Maine's whoopie pie bill. (Sunday News, Justin David Graybill/AP Images)

In January, lawmakers in Maine put forward a bill to make the whoopie pie their state’s official dessert. But now bakers in Pennsylvania are crying foul. They say the whoopie pie was invented in their state, not in Maine. Which state gets to call the tasty treat its own?

A whoopie pie is like a cake sandwich: two small round chocolate cakes stuck together by a layer of fluffy vanilla frosting.

Many states have different official symbols, like state birds, state flowers, or even state fruits or vegetables. The official state vegetable of Texas is the sweet onion. In California, the state’s official marine fish is the colorful garibaldi.

To make a new symbol official, state legislators (lawmakers) have to pass a law. A law starts as a bill, or a proposed law. Then legislators vote for or against the bill. In Maine, if a majority vote in favor of a bill in both the State Senate and State House of Representatives, the bill becomes law.

But first lawmakers have to prove that a symbol belongs to their state.

THE EVIDENCE

Congressman Paul Davis decided to write the whoopie bill after talking to enthusiastic food-lovers at last year’s Maine Whoopie Pie Festival. He thought making it Maine’s official treat would make his state proud.

More than 4,000 Maine residents came out to eat whoopie pies that day. The state even celebrates Whoopie Pie Day each June.

One bakery in Maine claims the pie has been baked in their ovens since 1925. But no one knows for sure which state made the treat first.

Last month, protesters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, rallied against Maine’s bill. “Generations and generations have been making and eating whoopie pies here in Lancaster,” one protester said. “My grandmother did in the ’30s and ’40s and her mother did before her.”

Some food historians side with Pennsylvania. They say the treats were sold in old Pennsylvania as “gobs.”

One story says that whoopie pies got their unusual name from Amish bakers in Pennsylvania. Legend has it that those making the pies yelled “Whoopie!” when the gobs were almost ready to eat.

Which state will win? Maine’s bill has not been signed into law yet—but no matter what happens, the whoopie pie is a winner in both states.

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