Indiana News

A Piece of Cake...Make That Pie

1/12/2009

This year's legislature is scrambling to craft a budget with millions of dollars less than expected, pondering an overhaul of county and township government...and debating whether the state should have an official pie.

The Indiana Foodways Alliance, which seeks to promote food tourism in Indiana, requested the resolution declaring sugar cream the official state pie.

Executive director Susan Haller argues unlike a past drive to anoint the butterfly the official state insect, an official state pie would be an economic development tool.

"We did a feasibility study, and found that food was really important to people, and it was probably the very best way to get people to visit our small towns and rural areas," Haller says.

The alliance website recommends Indiana-wandering itineraries devoted to tenderloin, pizza, homemade candy, and tearooms, as well as pie. But the alliance is hoping to give a boost to Winchester-based Wick's Pies, following the death of its longtime owner a few months ago.

Eastern Indiana claims credit for popularizing sugar cream pie. It's said Quaker settlers from North Carolina invented so-called "desperation pie" around the time of Indiana's statehood in 1816. The dish is so associated with Indiana that it's sometimes called Hoosier pie.

But Hoosiers don't necessarily turn to their namesake pie. Shapiro's Deli in Indianapolis -- even older than 65-year-old Wick's -- features sugar cream among the 16 pies on its menu. But owner Brian Shapiro says rhubarb pie outsells it six-to-one.

Worse yet, Shapiro's second-best seller is key lime pie, the official state pie of Florida.

So far, the pie resolution hasn't been scheduled for a vote.
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