I was startled and confounded by a quote I read in an AP story (printed Jan. 31 in your paper) about the debate over a bill to designate the whoopie pie as Maine’s official state dessert.

In the story, “University of Maine food and nutrition professor emerita Katherine Musgrave tried to convince listeners that whoopies are good for you: She said the chocolate in whoopies (they come in a range of other flavors too) is high in flavonoids, antioxidants that ease blood pressure and have other beneficial effects.”

These words made me feel like I was in Wonderland, where down is up and up is down. I don’t understand the need to designate a state dessert (or, as the bill has now been amended, a state “treat”).

But if it’s going to be done, could we at least pick a treat less apt to add to the obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes numbers in this country?

If this nutrition professor wants to sing the praises of antioxidants, how about using a bowl of delicious, sweet Maine blueberries instead?

Another plus: We know Maine blueberries are native to Maine, and the jury is still out on the origins of whoopie pies.

Meg Wolf
Cape Elizabeth 

Some people seem surprised that legislators would hold a hearing on making the whoopie pie the state dessert (now amended to be the state “treat”). The greater surprise should be why this didn’t occur before now. I would argue that the whoopie pie is more than a dessert; it is an important contributor to the Maine economy.

The efforts of Rep. Paul Davis, who sponsored LD 71, “An Act to Designate the Whoopie Pie as the State Dessert,” have raised the awareness of this historic dessert, which is unique to Maine and an icon that has received national recognition for its culinary appeal.

According to a March 2009 New York Times article, “Whoopie pie is having its moment.” The article went on to say, “The whoopie pie would probably be Maine’s State Dessert if it had one.”

The designation as the state “treat” in this amended legislation will help hundreds of small businesses – the whoopie pie makers, bakers and store keepers in every county in Maine.

As testimony at the public hearing revealed, the number of jobs associated with this industry is substantial; it is economic development at its finest.

We need to focus on those niches that make Maine so special. Capitalizing on the current interest in whoopie pies is one way of promoting the excellence of food products created and made in Maine. Other states have decided long ago to promote their unique foods.

Massachusetts has the Boston cream pie, Maryland has the Smith Island cake, Vermont has the apple pie and Minnesota claims the blueberry muffin. So let’s promote an array of special and unique food categories and have a state pie, wild blueberry; a state cake, molasses gingerbread and, of course, a state doughnut, chocolate.

Desserts are here to stay. Most have sugar, many are made with fat (vegetable shortening) and all have calories. Like other desserts, the whoopie pie can be eaten in moderation. You can buy sugar- and gluten-free. They also make a blueberry whoopie pie for those who want to have their antioxidants.

Dr. Katherine Musgrave, a highly respected nutritionist at the University of Maine, says it is not about nutritional value – a dessert should be fun and enjoyable.

Lighten up and have some fun; everyone needs a treat during these difficult economic times. Have the whoopie pie join Moxie, our state soft drink, and the Maine wild blueberry, our state berry, to build pride in our state. Let’s claim our rightful heritage before another state makes the whoopie pie their state sweet.

Amos E. Orcutt
President, Maine Whoopee Pie Association

Columnist takes on opponents too harshly 

Methinks Bill Nemitz doth protest too much. To his credit, he has an articulate mind and an agile pen. He spins vast column inches of bipolar black ink, bouncing from gentle human interest tales to radically harsh (borderline vindictive) criticism.

He has successfully transposed journalism and punditry, slyly capturing the eyes of unassuming readers believing they are digesting traditional, rational, unbiased journalistic content when all he has handed us is political rhetoric and liberal drool.

The placement of his column has become most prominent, and the length of his stylings has grown out of proportion with their net worth to the residents of this great state. His columns create a sense of fact but are conjecture and supposition.

His continued attacks on any principles outside of his own are obviously personal and bring me to my first question: Why?

If he hasn’t guessed, I find myself very frustrated by his columns and the callous manner he uses to present his thoughts. I too have been angered and frustrated about our situation, which features a decade of zero job growth while we verge on the edge of an environmental dictatorship.

Maine’s efforts to “protect” us ignore the most common-sense view of issues and stymie the basic elements needed for growth and job creation, individual responsibility and freedom.

However, each day I make my community a better, stronger place to live, work and raise a family. I spend as much time volunteering as I do working at my small business to feed my family. I actively look for ways to improve the lives of all those who call this spot of land home.

But what is Mr. Nemitz doing? What has he done to improve the lives of others? It’s time to put some actions behind that great agile pen of his.

We are long past the time in which simply raising an issue was enough. He should use his power for good.

Matt Mattingly
Town Councilor

Maine drivers poke along, won’t display any courtesy 

I am writing to ask if anybody else complains of the way Maine drivers are not very “road-friendly.”

They take way too long to move into traffic; they will sit at an intersection until every car in sight has passed, then very slowly move onto the road.

If you’re waiting, you can sit until about 30 or so cars pass you and not one will go any slower or stop to let you in.

Therefore, I think Maine drivers are the worst in the country. I would like to hear other people’s views on this subject. I am so tired of waiting for the turtles to go on so the rest of the world can move.

Tim Hildreth