In the Deep South region of the United states, few snack foods have reached the iconic status of a Moon Pie. Combined with an RC or Double Cola, the Moon Pie is considered a nearly perfect meal for many native Southerners. While other regions of the country may have their Scooter Pie or their Whoopie Pie, only one bakery in Chattanooga, Tennessee can claim ownership of the original Moon Pie recipe.
According to legend, the Chattanooga Bakery Company was formed in order to find uses for its parent company's excess flour. An employee named Earl Mitchell spoke with a number of coal miners in the company's sales territory and asked them what an ideal snack would look like. They described a substantial cookie and marshmallow snack that could fit in their lunch boxes. When Mitchell asked how large this proposed snack should be, one miner is said to have pointed at the full moon.
Mitchell then took these ideas back to the bakery, where he happened to notice some graham cracker cookies covered with a marshmallow fluff cooling on a windowsill. Mitchell added a second graham cracker cookie and dipped the entire concoction in chocolate. The result was the first Moon Pies, and the bakery decided to produce the snack on a much larger scale, eventually dedicating all of its production lines to Moon Pie manufacturing.
The original Moon Pie produced exclusively by the Chattanooga Bakery, Inc. is still being sold around the world today. The original chocolate flavored coating has been supplemented with vanilla, banana, strawberry and other flavors. A miniature version of the Moon Pie has also been developed. As of this writing, there is no diet or low-carb version of the snack available, but homemade variations using alternative ingredients are still possible.
During Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile, Alabama, it is not unusual for parade participants to throw Moon Pies to the crowds along the streets. The small town of Oneonta, Alabama still holds an annual Moon Pie eating contest, with RC Cola as the only sanctioned soft drink available to contestants. The contest is said to have started when the manager of a local Walmart store accidentally ordered too many Moon Pies and needed to find a way to eliminate the overstock.
Snack foods similar to the original Moon Pie include Scooter Pies and Whoopie Pies, although many Moon Pie enthusiasts would say those offerings are mere imitations of the one and only Moon Pie brand manufactured in Chattanooga, Tennessee since 1917.