Chocolate and marshmallow are for me what basil and garlic, what soy and ginger, what sour cream and paprika are for others. Perfectly paired, irresistible, unsurpassed.
So when the Southern Festival of Books asked me to host the session on David Magee’s MoonPie biography, it was really just an excuse for me to buy two cases of MoonPies.
Published by the University Press of Florida (which apparently isn’t associated with a university or it might have actually had access to an editor), the book tells the misplaced-modifier, dangling-participle, incorrect-possesive, comma-spliced story any snack food company would envy: A snack that represented good value in hard economic times evolved into an cultural phenomenon across the South. Soon the company dropped all its other products and for 50 years has produced only the Moon Pie. No advertising, little marketing, no synergistic partnerships. One product that means “Southern” to millions of people in five generations.
How much would you pay for a story like that?
But wait, there’s more!
Author David Magee, a very nice person who genuinely loves Moon Pies even the banana ones, retells MoonPie memories from ordinary people, many of which feature country stores, pick-up trucks and grandparents.
My favorite MP story is of MoonPie and Mardi Gras. Mobile, Alabama, city ordinance requires that “throws” from Mardi Gras floats be soft objects. MoonPies, therefore, have become the #1 “throw” in that city’s parades. Foreign suppliers who already produce beads and tokens also began producing knock-off snacks for less. When parade-goers discovered the treats were yucky fakes, they ditched them on the curbs in heaps and drifts that caused problems for clean-up crews. Mobile passed an ordinance that only genuine MoonPies can be thrown from Mardi Gras floats.
Between the lines, it’s also the story of a family-run business declining repeatedly to branch out. As the world’s biggest marshmallow manufacturer, they might be supplying it to other snack companies. For a marketing strategy, what could be better than a partnership between of Royal Crown and MoonPie sponsoring a NASCAR, or a bass tournament? But none of the above has happened, for reasons not addressed in the book.
Anyway we sold all the MoonPie books in the festival bookstore while handing out MoonPies. It was a fun afternoon, and plenty of people went home with a book that tells their own story as much as the MoonPie’s.
Prominent Nashville Cardiologist MoonPie Indulgence
A real recipe from someone who should know better.
Heat 1 Banana MoonPie in the microwave for 8 seconds in a microwave-safe bowl. Drizzle with amaretto. Eat with a spoon.