Traditionally, this kind of piece just retells the competing origin myths -- the more absurd the better -- and leaves it at that. Was it Amish moms who invented the dessert, inspiring kids to yell "Whoopie" when they opened their school lunchboxes? Or the owners of a bakery founded in 1925 in Lewiston, Maine -- whose records were unfortunately lost in a fire? Who knows?
But reporter Sumathi Reddy went the extra mile, interviewing Nancy Griffin, author of a 2010 book on the Whoopie Pie. She, in turn, had tracked down the earliest known Whoopies at the website of etymologist Barry Popik, who cites a 1931 ad for "Berwick whoopee pie" made in Roxbury, Mass., along with pretty much all that we know (so far) about the term "whoopie pie" (aka "whoopee pie").
And the name itself? "Because whoopie is a catchy name, food historians believe it must have been coined commercially," says the Journal. Author Griffin, however, thinks the name came from a familiar 1928 show tune:
"It is believed they really got their name from the Gus Kahn song" and a popular term used at the time to get around Hollywood censors, says Ms. Griffin. It was called: "Makin' Whoopee."