A whoopie pie almost made me sick last week.

Well, not the pie, but an editorial about the ubiquitous staple of Maine desserts.

What drove the dagger deeper about our state treat is that the editorial, which made light of Maine’s claim as the birthplace of the whoopie pie, appeared in a paper we own.

The paper is in Pennsylvania and I see every editorial there before it is published. Our principal writer, Mark Jones, is one of the finest editorial writers in our business, at any paper, large or small.

But last week he went too far, tempting me to squish and squash his editorial the way you might chomp down on a soft, fresh whoopie pie, or the way you might ruin one if you left it on the car seat and accidentally sat on it.

Rarely would the latter be a possibility for me. I buy them and eat them before I start the car.


Imagine my good fortune in finding the homemade whoopie pies at Waldo’s General Store in Falmouth this week.

Waiting at home for Tony’s doughnuts were three children — 11, 8 and 6 years old. Two of them are grandchildren from New York City where they have many epicurean delights but no Tony’s and no Maine whoopie pies.

Actually, I like many of the commercially made whoopie pies in Maine but I’m a sucker for whoopies with the word “homemade” on the package.

I know a woman in Brewer who has been making me homemade whoopie pies for more than 60 years and she set the standard.

Any whoopie pie that shouts “homemade,” however, has to meet a series of rigid tests.

The first one is the squeeze test, which can be done with the wrapping still on and without putting a permanent dent in the pie. It must be squishy and fresh-feeling.


Editorials, by the way, should not be squishy.

Anyway, on the same day I found a new Maine whoopie pie that I like, Jones sent me this smart-aleck, wise-cracking editorial.

I’ll let you read it, but first, an observation. Despite living in Pennsylvania on and off for more than 30 years, I have seen only one dessert pretending to be a whoopie pie in the Keystone State. It was at a campground near Harrisburg, the state capital. The camp store offered customers a choice for starting grills: either the pie or charcoal.

I was born in Maine. I know who invented the whoopie pie: Maine.

Here is Mark Jones’ pathetic attempt at humor and parochialism: 

WE TRIED TO let it go, but by gosh, Maine lawmakers, you overstepped your bounds this year when you brazenly claimed a rich Pennsylvania culinary tradition — the whoopie pie — as your own.


Pennsylvania is no pushover, its 12.7 million residents not cream puffs. So, in the strongest terms possible, hear this: You can have our whoopie pie when you pry it from our sticky dead fingers.

At first, your illegitimate claim to establish the chocolate wonder with marshmallowy-like midsection as Maine’s “official state dessert” amused us. Then, you had the audacity to actually bestow that distinction on blueberry pie, while surreptitiously declaring whoopie pie your “official state treat.”

Heresy, plain and simple.

The Amish of Pennsylvania concocted the recipe for “gobs,” or whoopie pies, as assuredly as Ben Franklin invented the Franklin stove. We call on good Americans everywhere to flatly reject Maine’s revisionist confectionary history. If allowed to abscond with our whoopie pies, what will its cunning lawmakers assert entitlement to next? The Liberty Bell? Yuengling beer? A professional sports franchise?

Or, in the future, might Maine’s residents eagerly await the emergence each June 15 of “Portland Phil,” a rodent that prognosticates when the state’s snow pack finally will melt?

This irrational overreach must be nipped in the bud. Remember, Maine lawmakers, you’re messing with a state that has repelled its share of troublemakers. Near Washington Crossing and at Gettysburg, our rivals got their just desserts.


Now, we Pennsylvania residents typically try to remain a peaceful people, what with our Quaker heritage and all. But we’re tempted this weekend to fuel up on Lion Root Beer (brewed in Wilkes-Barre), hop on our Harley-Davidson motorcycles (manufactured in York, Pa., albeit invented in Milwaukee — giving credit where credit is due) and motor up there to teach you some manners (a la “Mister Rogers,” the Pittsburgh-area native of children’s programming fame).

If our sweeter side prevails, however, we’ll probably point the car toward Lancaster County and partake in a few authentic, Amish whoopie pies; perhaps bring home a baker’s dozen. For those of us in the northeastern corner of our marvelous commonwealth, it’s an expedient and enjoyable trip into the cradle of the Keystone State.

And, unlike traveling in Maine, you always can get there from here.

Richard L. Connor is CEO of MaineToday Media, owner of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. A newspaperman for 40 years, he has served on two Pulitzer Prize for Journalism nominating committees. He can be reached at:



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