Summer’s sticky sweetness is often celebrated around a blazing campfire with the delicious making of the confection called ‘smores and the storytelling of tall tales and folk legends.
Here on the Adventure Side of the Smokies, the legend of the Moon Pie is a story worth telling.
Marshmallows and graham crackers are the stuff legends are made of. Near one of the entrances to the sprawling Union Cemetery in Newport, you’ll find the grave of Earl Mitchell, a salesman for the Chattanooga Bakery and the force behind the Moon Pie. Mitchell was born in nearby Greene County and his travel route brought him to towns in East Tennessee and Kentucky.
According to the company website, Mitchell got the idea for the Moon Pie after a conversation with a Kentucky Coal miner in 1917. The miner wanted a snack “as big as the moon” and Mitchell delivered with a snack that would fit in a lunch pail. A small marker at the foot of Mitchell’s grave gives him credit for “inventing” the Moon Pie. Quite often folks will leave a Moon Pie and an RC cola at the foot of his grave
Which gooey confection of graham crackers, marshmallow, and chocolate came first? The Moon Pie was being sold by 1917, and has been continuously produced for over one hundred years.
Legend has it that roasting marshmallows began as early as 1890. The first recipe for ‘smores appeared as a recipe in a Girl Scout handbook in 1927.
It seems that the irresistible combination of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers have continued to be a sweet treat for many generations.
Contributed by Clayton Hensley, #knoxroadtripper