Mr. Wrong By Joe MacLeod

Mr. Wrong: Unofficial pie is better than official cake

City Paper

I saw on the pages of the Chicago Tribune (which is owned by the company that owns the very Alternative Newsweekly in which the Mr. Wrong Column appears) that “the Illinois House overwhelmingly voted Thursday to declare pumpkin pie the official state pie, following a jovial debate over the merits of sweet potato and blueberry versions of the baked dessert.” Terrific. Duly elected government officials took turns bloviating about pie, great, swell. Congrats, Illinois, you now have an Official State Pie.

It is my duty, not only as a Private pie-eating Citizen, but as the Leisure Party’s candidate for United States Junior Senator of Maryland, to let you know, Gentle Reader, nothing makes my eyeballs snap-roll into the back of my orbits faster than seeing news wherein purportedly hard-working Government Officials take time out of their Taxpayer-sponsored workday to chucklingly engage in lighthearted digressionary debate over some complete and utter meaninglessness such as which flavor of pie should be the Official.

Anyone from any spot on the spectrum of Political Affiliation who wants to talk about how there is Too Much Government needs to start with exactly this kind of stuff and work their way back until they strike something Important. And don’t hand me a slice of some pro-business argument about how this might be stimulating to the Economy or good for Business—such as the baking of Pumpkin Pie—because if we’re going to be all about the Business, then the Government should not be involved at this level, man, it’s an Endorsement, Advertising, almost. It’s a little bit like the Serpentine Wall between Church and State, see? Do we have a State Religion? Of course not, because that would imply one Religion is somehow better than the other religions! They (and you know who They are) most recently tried this State Religion stuff in North Carolina, and it is not Legal. Founding Fathers!

Plus, it’s wonderful when the State Religion is the one you Obey, but what happens when you don’t Believe in the State God? What happens if there is a vote on a new State Religion? Well, I will tell you what happens! You and your family and your Own Personal Jesus get into a boat and go you become a Pilgrim in the New World! Except there aren’t any more of those! At least not until the first few thousand volunteers rubes boldly go and die up on Mars in order to get the kinks ironed out for Cable Television and a proper Civilized Society, but that’s kind of a ways off, before you see sunrise on Mars, if at all, no offense to any prospective Martians.

The great state of Illinois says Pumpkin Pie is the Official, but then where does that leave the Rhubarb Industry, or the Apple Manufacturers? Furthermore, and more suspiciously, does this mean the forces behind Pumpkin Pie locked up a State Endorsement via some sort of concerted lobbying effort? This is exactly the sort of undue influence the Founding Fathers of the Invisible Hand of the Dessert Market warned about, the Dessert-Industrial Complex!

On a personal note, what is worse for me is the good name of Pie has been dragged into a twisted game of selecting a State-This and a State-That. Here in Maryland, we have a State Dessert, Smith Island Cake. Wikipedia teaches us:

Smith Island has its own region-specific traditional cuisine. The most famous dish is a locally produced cake similar to the Prinzregententorte and featuring 8 to 15 thin layers filled with creme, frosting and/or crushed candy bars. The cake is iced with a cooked chocolate icing. Beginning in the 1800s, Smith Islanders would send these cakes with the watermen on the autumn oyster harvest. The bakers began using fudge instead of buttercream frostings, as cakes frosted with fudge lasted much longer than cakes with other frostings. The cake is often made using a commercial cake mix but with unique additions such as condensed milk. It can also be made from scratch using flour. The most common flavor is yellow cake with chocolate icing but other flavors such as coconut, fig, strawberry, lemon, and orange are also common. Known simply as the Smith Island Cake, the dessert is baked for any occasion and not reserved only for holidays.

It’s there, I’m not contesting this, it is a well-established matter of Official Record, the Smith Island Cake is the Official Dessert of Maryland, My Maryland. I don’t want to spend one cent of My Tax Dollars fighting this. Nobody’s trying to Impeach the delicious and history-rich Smith Island Cake, but what about a Berger Cookie, or even a lemon with a soft peppermint stick jammed into it? And most importantly, what about pie? Pie is better than cake! There’s gonna be a Dangerously Delicious Pies store opening within walking distance of my house and I am psyched! You can eat Pie for breakfast and get away with it! Pie can be different every time! What would you go to more, a Smith Island Cake store or a Pie store? I’ve eaten all of the above way more than I ever have a Smith Island Cake, again, which is a perfectly lovely and Official thing, but when I’m thinking about some dessert,Unofficially? I file the Smith Island Cake in the same slot as Milk, the State Drink of Maryland. It should be Rye, eh? Hey, anybody out there who is opening up a distillery in Maryland, please to make a brand of rye called MARYLAND MILK, thank you. 

A slice of Twitter: @MRWRONGCOLUMN

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