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Meg Wolff

Meg Wolff

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Maine's Whoopie Pie Debate

Posted: 02/19/11 05:31 PM ET

In a world with governments collapsing, it's a striking contrast that here in my home state of Maine, legislators have been tackling something this frivolous -- whether the Official State Dessert ought to be whoopie pies or blueberry pie.

The latest is that now legislators want to call it the state "treat."

The debate has gone national, with the states of Maine and Pennsylvania playfully (for the most part!) arguing over the origins of the whoopie pie. See this Feb. 14 Wall Street Journal piece.

This is all kind of funny, to a point, but really now ... it's kind of stupid to be designating a state dessert/treat in the first place, when Maine has so many other things it could and should be promoting. While the number of farmers in Maine has dwindled dramatically over the past few decades, we still have a wealth of people working the rich Maine land, and producing all types of healthy products.

When we have facing alarming rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, why in the world should any focus be put on giving official status to the whoopie pie (which is high-fat (lard), high-sugar, high-calorie -- these concoctions are high in basically everything that encourages these diseases.

To add insult to injury, and making the debate that much more ridiculous, we have a professor emerita from the University of Maine singing the praises of whoopie pies -- claiming the chocolate that goes into them is rich in antioxidants. Forgetting entirely that these benefits are undone so utterly by everything else in a whoopie pie!

If one wants to promote the benefits of antioxidants, why not just look to a true Maine product -- the high-in-everything-good-for-you Maine blueberry??

In the interest of full disclosure here, I'm a native Mainer, and I ate my share of whoopie pies as a child. Then I got cancer -- two times, at age 33 and 41. After the second round (advanced invasive breast cancer) 12 years ago, I eliminated foods like whoopie pies from my diet and replaced them with whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit. I know better now, and we should not be putting these particular products on a pedestal in any way whatsoever!

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