DEAR SUN SPOTS: Now that winter is approaching, walking indoors will soon be necessary. Can people still do that at the Auburn Mall early in the morning, and if so, what time does it open? Many thanks.

— No name, no town

ANSWER: The stores in the mall are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays) but if you want to walk earlier, the doors are open at 8 a.m. from Monday through Saturday and at 9 a.m. on Sundays.

There was a great article in the Sun Journal on Feb. 26, 2018 https://www.sunjournal.com/2018/02/26/mall-offers-safe-warm-winter-walking-place/ about the walkers who have returned year after year to walk at the mall. Those of us who aren’t snowbirds and stick out the winter here are very fortunate to have a warm, well-lit place like this to go. The office number is 786-2977 if you have any other questions.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have a strange question for you. Why do they call those desserts whoopie pies? I came here in 1954 from the old country and when I started to work in the shoe factory, a young woman said, “I made whoopie last night…” Ever since, I’ve thought of whoopie as a bit offensive.

— Heidi, Dryden

ANSWER: We Mainers do enjoy our whoopie pies! There has always been a bit of a controversy on where the state treat was invented, however. Sometime in the mid-1920s, the yummy cakes appeared in both Pennsylvania and in Maine. They were first sold at Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston in 1925. Just a few years later, they showed up in Massachusetts as well. A couple other states, such as New Hampshire and Virginia, also lay claim to them.

The English language, especially American slang, can be puzzling at times. As far as whoopie pies go, I’ve read that they were originally devised as a way to use up dollops of leftover cake batter, then they were sandwiched together with fluffy filling. There is an Amish legend telling that kids loved the treat and would yell out, “Whoopie!” when they were handed their cookie sandwich.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition, making whoopie (or whoopee) is a phrase, albeit old-fashioned, to describe “the sound of enjoyment.

Now hold that thought…

Another story is that The Berwick Cake Co. in Massachusetts was making whoopie pies by another name in the 1920s, but they didn’t sell well. In 1928, the Broadway musical “Whoopee!” that had the song “Makin’ Whoopee” came to Boston.

The first stanza of the song goes: “Another bride, another June/ Another sunny honeymoon/Another season, another reason/For makin’ whoopee.”

As a publicity stunt, the cake company had the actors toss the cakes into the audience at curtain call. They were an immediate hit, and, some say that is how the cakes got their present name.

Making whoopie is also a slang term for making love. Since this can also be described as being enjoyable, etc., I’ll leave my genteel readers with this fun information, but please feel free to comment about whoopie pies and their origins if you so choose.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].

 

 


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