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You can take the Weasel out of the MoonPie, but…

The phrase “RC Cola and a MoonPie” came up two threads down and, because I totally have nothing else to do, I hit Google. Turns out, it’s another fine culinary innovation you can thank Tennessee for. You’re welcome.

The MoonPie was invented in Chattanooga in 1917. It’s two big round soft graham cracker cookie things with marshmallow filling, dipped in a sweet coating. I only remember chocolate and banana, but Wikipedia says there was also vanilla and strawberry. And, in modern times, lemon and orange. MoonPies are unspeakably vile.

Royal Crown Cola was invented in 1905 and is apparently also still around. The company renamed itself Nehi in 1925 — you may know them from the truly awful grape and orange drinks — and were later responsible for Diet Rite, the first diet soda. In the mid ’90s, RC came out with a “draft” cola — a 12-ounce premium cola made with cane sugar like the old days. Sales were disappointing due to distribution problems, and the line was dropped.

In the ’50s, an RC cola and a MoonPie became the standard workman’s lunch across in the South. You could get the combo special RC Cola and a MoonPie for a dime, which is one giant asswad of sugar and food coloring for a mere tenth of a dollar. Jesus. Wikipedia reminds me that some would buy a packet of peanuts, empty it into the cola, drink the cola then eat the peanuts. Damn you, Wikipedia! I had successfully papered over that memory!

This filthy combination was so wildly popular that it was set to music repeatedly, beginning with Bill Liston’s 1950s ballad “Gimm’e an RC Cola and a Moonpie” (which is where I’m guessing my mother picked up the phrase) and ending with the recent children’s record — I so totally and completely am not even a little bit shitting you — “Weezie and the Moon Pies.”

The little town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee has an RC and Moon Pie Festival every year that features deep fried MoonPies and crowns the Queen of…no, it’s no use. I can’t bear to paraphrase. I quote:

The 2008 Queen is Dr. Phyllis Qualls-Brook, Assistant Commissioner of Tennessee Community and Industry Relations and the King is actor/director Lane Davies who will be directing the 1st Annual Tennessee Shakespeare Festival to be held in Bell Buckle the two weekends following the RC-Moon Pie Festival.

Taking center stage as always is the wildly popular Synchronized Wading extravaganza, lovingly referred to as “dry humor on a wet stage”. This year’s performance will be “A Midsummer’s Nightmare” starring who else but the lovely little Moon Pie and the charming RC with unfortunate guest appearances by GooGoo Cluster, Coke, as well as a host of fairies and soldiers. Director and choreographer Carla Webb who is also known as the First Lady of Bell Buckle says that this year’s Synchronized Wading performance is one of the best since she began performing in a kiddy pool over 13 years ago.

Some things are unforgivable even in jest. There is also a more recent association of MoonPies and Mardi Gras, with some krewes throwing miniature pies into the crowd. You have to show your tits to make them throw beads, I don’t EVEN want to know what you have to show to make them throw MoonPies.

And people wonder why I’m changing my name and moving thousands of miles away to a country that makes puddings out of sheep guts.

November 20, 2008 — 6:47 am
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