my people call it, ‘whoopie’ . . . whoopie pie!
Having grown up in South Central Pennsylvania, a.k.a. Pennsylvania Dutch Country, I know a thing or two about whoopie pies.
Whoopie Pies are a particular kind of dessert identified with rather particular parts of Pennsylvania and New England. Up until this past year, however, they’ve been oddly unheard of outside those locales. Especially on the Left Coast. I can’t imagine why they haven’t pervaded the popular culture by now. What’s not to like, it’s a cake sandwich for pete’s sake!
Then, it happened. Then he came.
Gobba Gobba Hey.
And unto the people of San Francisco he brought, whoopie.
I mean gobs.
Gobs and gobs of Gobs*. . .
(*yes, to make this more complicated, this magnificent cake sandwich has two different names, ‘whoopie pies’ & ‘gobs’. Growing up where I did in Adams County, they’re known only as whoopie pies because when farmers would unpack the lunches made for them by their wives they would yelp, “Whoopie!” So the name makes sense. People from Western Pennsylvania call them ‘gobs’. I don’t know why.)
So back to Gobba Gobba Hey and a little context. The Maker-of-Gobs is Steven Gdula and at about the time I found out about him, the street food cart scene was just taking-off in San Francisco. On Friday nights one could find the Creme Bruleé Guy and the Magic Kurry Kart on Linda Street in the Mission, and there I heard about this guy who was making something called. . . ‘Gobs’ . . . ?
Having stoked a feeling of nostalgia for my roots, I set out to find this Gob Guy and those chocolaty wares that would reconnect me to my heritage. Turns out Steven himself had moved to SF from Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania to be exact. Nostalgic and unable to find gobs in his new home, he decided to make them for himself, thus bringing a little bit of small-town Pennsylvania to SF. And not only did this sweet evangelist bring gobs and gobs of Gobs for the masses, they are in fact some of the most daring and gorgeous Gobs ever made! Not limited by local expectations for a particular flavor profile, he went beyond the traditional chocolate cake & vanilla buttercream. His flavors include Green Tea! Black Cherry, Chocolate & Lime! and orange-cardamom-saffron. . . ??? Delicious. Unheard of! Three cheers for Pennsylvania/California fusion cuisine!
And now here we are, in 2010, and whoopie pies are in a few bakery cases around town and even at the Trader Joes!