How Moon Pies Became a Mardi Gras Tradition


MoonPie (or Moon Pies) at Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is synonymous with sure meals and locations—king cake and New Orleans prime the listing. Most individuals don’t consider MoonPies and Mobile, Alabama, however actually, they each have a long-standing reference to Fat Tuesday.

Mardi Gras’ Mobile Beginnings

Mobile Mardi Gras poster circa 1900

Mobile Mardi Gras poster circa 1900 from The Library of Congress

The very first Mardi Gras celebration within the United States was in Mobile, Alabama, all the best way again in 1703, properly earlier than New Orleans was even based (in 1718). The early processions weren’t fairly the grand spectacles you see immediately, however they have been the beginning of all of it, and little by little, a lot of particular Mardi Gras parade traditions have been established and added to. Most of them are nonetheless a very important a part of the celebration at present.

Take, as an example, “throws”—the trinkets thrown from floats to all of the individuals watching on the sidelines. The customized appears to have began within the 1870s, and though beads would be the most well-known throw at present, there are many different gadgets tossed to spectators too, from plastic cups and foam footballs to meals.

Perhaps the preferred edible merchandise that will get chucked into the gang is the MoonPie (which, regardless of auto-correct’s insistence on underlining it in purple squiggles, is the official spelling). Obviously, that is a comparatively current evolution of the long-standing “throws” custom, since MoonPies are a 20th century foodstuff.

MoonPie On the Rise

Vintage 1950s advert from MoonPie (ignore the 7Up within the background; RC Cola is the right pairing)

The MoonPie—two smooth graham cracker cookies sandwiching squishy-but-stable marshmallow filling, all enrobed in a skinny, chocolatey shell—got here to be in 1917, when a touring salesman from the Chattanooga Bakery encountered a Kentucky coal miner who expressed a want for a hearty, moveable snack, concerning the measurement of the moon. The well-known results of that request value simply 5 cents when it was launched, and shortly turned a Southern staple. In the 1950s, the basic combo of MoonPies and RC Cola (one other good bang-for-your-buck comfort retailer snack) was even immortalized in a nation track by Big Bill Lister.

The Chattanooga Bakery ultimately added the miniature MoonPie to their choices, allegedly in response to grumblings that the full-size pies have been ruining youngsters’ appetites. Happily, these smaller treats would additionally show to be good for throwing into crowds.

A Match Made in Heaven

Mardi Gras MoonPie

Mardi Gras MoonPie, by way of Twitter

So Mardi Gras and MoonPies each turned beloved Southern establishments over the course of many many years, on separate paths. But how did these paths meet?

Well, that was in Mobile, too, the place grand Mardi Gras parades continued to be held, regardless that New Orleans eclipsed them in nationwide and international recognition.

Cracker Jack had been a common Mardi Gras throw; it was reasonably priced sufficient to offer away and scrumptious sufficient to attraction to most everybody, however the cumbersome packing containers have been arduous to goal precisely and the corners could possibly be painful once they hit individuals within the head. It was such a drawback that Mobile banned the tossing of Cracker Jack bins in 1972. Smaller, softer, blessedly spherical MoonPies have been a safer choice, they usually have been already a long-cherished Southern delight, in order that they turned the usual candy deal with thrown off of floats in Mobile. Once once more, New Orleans adopted go well with—so in case you’re within the Big Easy for the event, you’re more likely to catch at the least one MoonPie if you cry, “Throw me something, mister!” And in fact, you possibly can nonetheless snatch them from the air in Mobile, too.

More Ways to Eat MoonPies

Since the introduction of the basic chocolate taste, there have been numerous variations on the MoonPie: banana, coconut, salted caramel, strawberry…and whereas they’re all good as-is, should you’re close to a microwave, attempt heating one up for a few seconds, so it’s a little like an inside-out s’extra. But for those who’re a bit extra formidable, you can even take pleasure in extra elaborate desserts impressed by (and typically truly utilizing) MoonPies—simply the factor for a Mardi Gras celebration at house!

Caramel Moon Pies

homemade caramel Moon Pie

Sass and Veracity

These do-it-yourself MoonPies mix entire wheat graham cracker cookies, fluffy marshmallow, bittersweet chocolate, and wealthy caramel. (If you’re gluten-free, simply add some caramel to those GF Moon Pies for those who like.) Get the recipe.

Banana Moon Pie Trifle

chocolate banana MoonPie trifle

Mobile Bay Mag

Banana pudding is one other Southern dessert staple, however this ingenious model switches out the standard vanilla wafers for traditional chocolate and banana MoonPies (plus, there are a number of different superb Mardi Gras treats on the hyperlink, together with a MoonPie Martini and King Cake MoonPies). Get the recipe.

Marshmallow Moon Cake

Moon Pie chocolate marshmallow layer cake

Cake by Courtney

If you’re keen on a layer cake however favor banana MoonPies, do this recipe. For chocolate diehards, this magnificence actually takes the…properly, you realize. Feel free to make additional ganache and absolutely cowl the edges of the cake for a extra conventional MoonPie look (and with a purpose to eat extra chocolate too, all the time a plus). Get the recipe.

Brown Butter Moon Pie Ice Cream

brown butter MoonPie ice cream

Feast and West

Chunks of MoonPie generously stud this creamy brown butter ice cream, for a refined but unpretentious dessert. Get the recipe.

Golden Oreo Peanut Butter Moon Pies

golden Oreo peanut butter Moon Pies

The Domestic Rebel

For a fancier inside-out model that’s all made out of scratch, attempt these chocolate peanut butter Moon Pies, however in the event you’re a fan of shortcuts, twist aside some Golden Oreos and add marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and Nutella, then sandwich again collectively and dip in chocolate bark. Feel free to skip the Nutella and/or scrape out the unique creme filling in case you assume this may be too candy. Get the recipe.

MoonPie Bread Pudding with RC Cola Sauce

MoonPie bread pudding with RC Cola sauce

Delta Magazine

And lastly, right here’s a extra convoluted option to benefit from the perennial pairing of MoonPies and RC Cola, the previous baked into a buttery bread pudding and the latter combined with powdered sugar for a sticky-sweet glaze to pour over prime. Get the recipe.

Header picture courtesy of MoonPie.



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