Southern Weekend: Moonpies

The Moonpie Song
(sung to the tune of “Our House” by Madness)

Moonpie
In the middle of the street
Moonpie
It still looks fit to eat

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If you are from the South, you are familiar with the Moonpie, a little slice of heaven combining graham crackers and marshmallow fluff into a tasty snack that, with a bottle of RC Cola, provides all the nutrition of — well, of graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, and a soda.

Seriously, when indulging in Moonpies, nutrition is not top of your thought processes. What you are no doubt thinking about as you bite into a Moonpie is the miracle achieved by the Chattanooga Bakers when they combined crunchy graham goodness with marshmallowy sticky softness to create the quintessential Southern treat.

But only those Southerners lucky enough to live along the Central Gulf Coast (aka The Redneck Riviera) know the highest and best use to which a Moonpie may be put: the Moonpie as Mardi Gras Throw. Yes, if you are between say, Destin, Florida and Slidell, Louisiana in February, there is a darn good chance that somebody may just haul off and throw a free Moonpie your way.

See, here in God’s Country, we don’t just have beauty queens and politicians wave at you from parade floats — we expect them to throw us something. Beads, candy, stuffed animals — if you are on a float and aren’t throwing freebies to the crowd, I won’t guarantee your safety.

The best season for parades here is Carnival, which runs from Epiphany on January 6 to Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). Mardi Gras is always the last day before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and usually falls sometime in February.

It was Mobile, Alabama (not New Orleans) that first celebrated Mardi Gras in America, and it is now a festive occasion up and down the Central Gulf Coast.
And at some point, one of the Carnival float riders realized that a Moonpie is just the right size and shape for throwing to the kids along a parade route.

The rest, as they say, is history. Mobile even celebrates each New Year with the midnight dropping of a massive, lighted Moonpie!

If you are not from the South, well, bless your heart! You can order Moonpies direct from the original bakery at http://www.moonpie.com. Cassie likes the chocolate ones, but Mac swears by the banana.

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