During a heated legislative debate in the Maine legislature this week, Whoopie pies were correctly described as "frosting delivery vehicles" that "lists lard as its primary ingredient" by state Rep. Donald Pilon (D-Saco). At issue: Maine's official state dessert.
Pilon prefers blueberry pie as the designated dessert. In his argument, he correctly notes that Americans are really very fat. ("At a time when 31.3 percent of Maine's children are considered overweight or obese…") But in preferring blueberry pastry to chocolate minicakes, he falls prey to the classic blunder in evaluating the merits of various foods.
People, even state reps, are easily confused by the halo effect when it comes to food. The presence of lard and chocolate sets off alarms, endowing the whole dessert with a wicked glow. Whereas blueberries offer a positive halo, making diners forget about all the butter or even—gasp—lard in the crust.
Both treats are, in their best forms, homemade, so nutrition stats vary wildly. But a quick search suggests that a slice of blueberry pie can clock in north of 450 calories, while a Whoopie Pie can be closer to 250. Depending on your recipe, those numbers could easily be reversed, but that's exactly the point. "Bad" ingredients aren't making Maine's kids fat. Say it with me now: Calories in, calories out.
A slab of blueberry pie is no more or less worthy of the title of official state dessert than a frosting filled cookie, chubby children or not.
Maine's looking to celebrate a dessert rather than ban it, but the same kind of irrational bias (in this case, probably from the very same people) goes into bans as well.
Via The Agitator.