Those who support the idea say the chocolate cakes filled with creamy white frosting are a decades-long Maine tradition and help the economy, as bakeries turn out thousands a day. The one-man opposition is concerned about glorifying a product made with lard amid an obesity epidemic.
At a hearing before the State and Local Government Committee earlier this week, Amos Orcutt, who heads the Maine Whoopie Pie Association, said the treats gained popularity during the recession because they're a comfort food that's "pure, edible nostalgia," the Kennebec Journal reports.
That makes the whoopie pie good for Maine.
"It builds pride in our state, it capitalizes on our unique and wonderful foodstuffs," Orcutt told lawmakers surrounded by samples of the tasty treats, according to The Associated Press.
The lone opponent, state Rep. Donald Pilon, said whoopie pies shouldn't be an official food because they contain too much lard. He branded them "frosting-delivering vehicles masquerading as food," the AP said.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Paul Davis, said Pennsylvania may also be trying to snag the whoopie pie as its official dessert, as both states hold whoopie pie festivals and some sources trace the first pie to Pennsylvania's Amish country, the AP said.
But Nancy Griffin, who wrote "Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book," told the Kennebec Journal that Labadie's Bakery in Lewiston has been baking them longer than any other bakery in the nation -- since 1925. A fire destroyed the bakery's records.
"We can't prove it, but we can assume it," she said of Maine's invention of the pie.
Amy Bouchard's Isamax Snacks in Gardiner produces 10,000 whoopie pies a day and says nostalgia for them makes them suitable as a state dessert.
"The whoopie pie brings back childhood memories of growing up in Maine," Bouchard said, the AP reported.
"Whoopie pie makers are a little economic engine for the state of Maine," Carol Ford, who co-owns the Cranberry Island Kitchen in Portland, said, according to WABI TV.
Pilon suggested an alternative state dessert: "blueberry pie made from real wild Maine blueberries," the AP said.
"Whoopie pie, wild blueberry pie, whoopie pie food fight. We didn't want to start a food fight, " said David Bell of the Maine Wild Blueberry Commission, according to WMTW TV.
The idea for the state dessert came from a high school student government and gained support at the annual whoopie pie festival in Dover-Foxcroft, WABI TV reported.
The committee is due to consider the bill again next week.