It may seem like a really irrelevant question to most people but the creator of the first whoopie pie – a twin chocolate pie with cream or frosting in the middle – is one of the most intriguing questions in the northeastern part of United States of America. The honour of being the pie’s birthplace has been competed for by many places, some of them being Lewiston, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and Roxbury. William Fowler, distinguished professor of History at Northeastern University shares his insights on the topic.
Fowler says that one can never really find out where the whoopie pie was invented and it becomes just another unsolvable mystery, like who invented the internet. When asked if the ‘firsts’ of anything matter, he says that it matters in the world of business where every small fact is turned into a spectacle. As a historian, he says, he avoids using words like ‘first’ or ‘biggest’ because someone or the other will have a counter narrative. There are many stories floating about with each having some kernel of truth in it. Which one is the Truth with a capital T? – no one can ever say.
The world is made of such different narratives – some true, some untrue. History, he says, is filled with untruths and that becomes a part of the process. If the person who wrote the first book had got it right, people would have lost the enthusiasm. Historians can tell you something is true and something is not. At times, though, even if you know something is untrue, there is nothing one can do about it because some narratives are irrevocably ingrained in the cultural strands of a society. As far as the whoopie pie is concerned, it originated where the person wants it to have originated from!
N Malavika Mohan