by Edward V. Folkes
Friends, have you ever wondered about the magic of MoonPies and RC Colas, and why they are so unique to our southern way of life?
Do you believe as I do that a MoonPie and RC Cola go together like biscuits and syrup? Or grits and cheese? Or chicken-fried steak and red-eye gravy? Or maybe greens and pepper sauce or boiled okra and stewed tomatoes? Or do you think a better example is the kinship of broccoli casseroles and church suppers?
Many feel that fish fries and little league baseball is a more descriptive union, while still others would tell you that the smell of honey suckle drifting on the evening breeze in early spring and the cool, wooden floor of a country store is the ideal comparison.
Is it an accident that country stores display MoonPies in huge glass jars strategically located next to oversized metal iceboxes painted brightly with a Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nehi or Royal Crown Cola logo? The drinks are so cold that frost forms, mixes with the crushed ice and clings to the bottle when it's pulled from the machine. On a sweltering day in July when the air seems as wet as the perspiration dripping down a fieldhand's face, there is nothing as good as the thought of a cold RC Cola.
For those of you who have not experienced field work up close and personal, let me tell you that relief only comes when the foreman stops you for lunch. Everybody piles into the back of an eight-wheel field truck for a trip to the country store. Never again will a slab of yellow cheese, a can of sardines, and a box of soda crackers taste so good.
And guess what's for dessert?
Yes, friends, I can only say there are no proper words to describe the cool, sweet taste of an RC Cola and the rich, sugary flavor of a MoonPie--which sticks with you not only for the rest of the day, but also for the rest of your life. That is a fact!
Another fact is that this wonderful combination of products got its start in 1905, according to the Royal Crown Cola web site when Claude Hatcher, a young graduate pharmacist in Columbus, Georgia, put together that magic elixir now commonly referred to as an RC Cola.
Then in 1917, the "Chattanooga Bakery," using surplus flour from its parent company, "the Mountain City Flour Mill," had a breakthrough in product development with an experiment using marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate, and the MoonPie came into existence--or so says MoonPie.com.
It must have been the combination of taste and economy of price that made MoonPies and RC Colas so attractive to the southern market. Mothers bought MoonPies by the box in grocery stores as after-school snacks for their children.
And good old boys turned hanging out at the country store into an art form with their taste for MoonPies and RC Colas. No question that one day a great southern artist will render a portrait of young men in work clothes, caps pushed back on their heads, sprawled out on the front steps of a country store eating MoonPies and sipping RC Colas.
A MoonPie is a simple product that's satisfying, easy to transport, pleasingly sweet and crunchy. Maybe the success of its combination with the RC Cola is simply due to the lyrical way the words roll off the tongue.
"Yes, m’am; I 'll have an RC and a MoonPie, please."
BIO: Edward V. Folkes, Jr. is a native Floridian, living and working in Tampa, Florida. He writes, "The deep roots of the South are here in Tampa, but certainly have been diluted over the years. I was raised in a small, rural town, Dade City, Florida, about thirty miles north of Tampa, that I consider more 'cracker' country. Its institutions and society were certainly more deeply rooted in the Old South. I have family in both Virginia and Alabama, and thoroughly enjoy the connection and continuing experience of my heritage."
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