Dunk used to be a nuclear scientist, which is a pretty big job where I come from. Now he’s a 75 year-old farmer living on a nice stretch of scenery near Farmville, Virginia. Being a farmer is also a pretty good job where I come from.
Scientist and farmers are creatures of habit. Every day after lunch for more than 40 years, Dunk eats a double-decker chocolate MoonPie, microwaved for exactly 17 seconds. If you understand the fundamental relationship between microwaves and MoonPies, you know that 17 seconds is the perfect amount of time to create a gooey plume of goodness. That is the temperature in which marshmallow breaks free of its physical boundaries and overcomes the cookie like a little atomic reaction. That’s how an ex-nuclear-scientist-farmer sees the world. Scientists love microwaves too. I knew a nuclear scientist who worked for the TVA who microwaved his ice cream before he ate it – or rather drank it, as the case may be.
“Basically it changes the paradigm of ice cream,” he says.
I’m not even sure what that means, but I’m pretty sure it’s not technically ice cream once you remove the ice part of it. It’s just a nasty, warm milkshake. But that’s just me.
In my travels I talk to a lot of people who have a lot of theories on the best way to cook a MoonPie. Some say the double-decker works best in a microwave. Some love to bake a single MoonPie for a few minutes in an oven at 247 degrees. I had seven people tell me that exact number, so it must be right. The mini is a different story.
“People warm up their MoonPies all the time,” said a mother of three from Paxton, Florida, or maybe I was in Defuniak Springs. I tend to attach people to locations based on where I am when I talk to them on the phone versus where they live. I was driving through Defuniak Springs. It’s a little weird, but it works for me.
“I’m not a warmer, I’m a chiller. I go in the other direction,” she said. “I like to freeze the little ones.” She paused awkwardly. “Mini MoonPies, that is.”
I’m glad she clarified her comment since she had just been talking about her three boys as the little ones.
“My kiddos love to eat them frozen on a hot day. Now and then they throw them, though. The dog loves that.”
Your food is your business and I don’t feel the need to cook, microwave or freeze my MoonPies. I like to eat them right out of the wrapper, usually in the aisle of the store. This habit does not endure me to cashiers, stock boys or managers, but I always take the empty wrapper to the register to pay. This little habit, among many others I’ve grown attached to, drives my wife crazy. Like Dunk, she is deeply into the microwaving camp of MoonPiers. I guess she would have made a good nuclear scientist.