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The Birth of the MoonPie

The MoonPie, the delicacy of choice for working men across America during the first half of the 20th Century, was created in 1917 by Earl Mitchell while working his territory of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia for The Chattanooga Bakery of Chattanooga, Tennessee. As the story goes, Mr. Mitchell was visiting a company store that catered to the coal miners of the surrounding area when he engaged some of them in conversation. While chatting with them he asked what they might enjoy for a snack during a grueling, filthy day of mining. They told Mitchell that they wanted something that would be solid and filling.

“About how big?” Mr. Mitchell asked them. At the time the moon was rising, so a miner held out his hands, framing the moon in them and said, “About that big!”

He headed back to the bakery after making his rounds and saw some of the workers dipping graham crackers into marshmallow and laying them on window sills to harden. With a concept for the perfect working man’s snack, he added another cookie and a coating of chocolate and sent them back for the workers to try. When the response they got was favorable he sent samples around with their other salespeople, too. The MoonPie was a hit.

The usual way to enjoy a MoonPie in the 1950’s was with an RC Cola, which, when couple with a MoonPie, cost about 10 cents. RC was preferred since the RC bottle was a little larger than that of Coca-Cola. The two became inseparable and was often referred to as “The Working Man’s Lunch.” 1The info for this piece came from the maker of one half of the Working Man’s Lunch – The Chattanooga Bakery.

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