We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Maryland is for pie fights

After working over fourteen hours today, with perhaps three hours of sleep the night before, my boss on the DC consulting job took me out for dinner at a diner, nearly the only restaurant still open in Bethesda at that hour. After dinner he asked for a Banana Cream Pie, his usual self-treat after this sort of marathon work day. The night chef told us it is no longer available. Montgomery County outlawed Trans-Fats and such pies are now contraband. For a moment I considered asking if there was a back room where one could gorge on smuggled pies, but thought better of it. Such secret places would be only for locals and those known to the Mafia, not for transient gypsy engineers such as myself.

Cream Pies outlawed.
The Morons of Montgomery.
Photo: copyright Dale Amon, All Rights Reserved

Maybe the time has come to bring back The Living Theater: “I am not allowed to eat Banana Cream Pies!!!” they could exclaim dramatically whilst standing about naked on stage. Perhaps a Three Stooges level cream pie fight is called for. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Residents of Montgomery County Arise! You have nothing to loose but your cream pies! Give your politicians the respect they have earned and deliver them their just deserts!

I hereby declare ‘The Cream Pie Revolution’, a proper descendant of ‘The Marshmallow Revolution’ (1) tradition of my youth. Yes, back to those days of yore when we hurled soft confections (probably illegal in Montgomery County) at the Pittsburgh Federal Building and Senator Strom Thurmound!

The concept of politicians with whipped cream covered visages appeals to the inner Yippee of my street theatre past. Of course, should such a terrible thing actually be done by some miscreants, it is definitely not my idea… but please send photos.

(1) ‘The Marshmallow Revolution’ was a street theatrical realization of a song from the 1970 Carnegie Mellon University Scotch and Soda Company BMI award winning original musical “Something Personal”, written by David Spangler and Mark Pirolo, with some input from Stephen Schwartz (yes, that one).

37 comments to Maryland is for pie fights

  • Ostralion

    Does this trend mean that you will only be allowed to eat pie-in-the-sky? Or will that have imaginary transfats?
    I notice the sign says ‘Artificial’. Maybe you can consume natural transfats!
    Any budding criminals out there? You could have a great career in owning eat-easies! Be the next Al Capone! This is your chance!

  • llamas

    Not quite. The diner is choosing how to comply with the county regulation. Under the regulation, they can still serve the customer a banana cream pie containing any amount of trans-fat as long as it is served in the maker’s original package and is labelled as specified.


    In effect, this means that they can buy banana cream pies with any amount of trans-fats from an outside maker, packaged and sealed as the regulation directs, and serve them to their customers.

    Or they can make their own without using trans-fats.

    They chose to do neither. Probably a business decision.

    I agree that the regulation is asinine and a semi-insane imposition on liberty by some power-mad food crank or cranks, and that it stifles business and free choice. It’s also a good example of the modern way of banning – trans-fats are not actually banned, but their use requires all sorts of onerous and non-defined paperwork and record-keeping. A standard like ‘acceptable to the Department’ means, whatever the inspector wants it to mean, and so I can well see the diner’s owner saying ‘Screw it. For the $8 a day I make selling banana cream pies, it’s not worth the bother.’ We should be as concerned about this form of stealth banning as we are about the Ban Direct.

    A well-staged viral opposition is called for.



  • Johnathan Pearce

    Food fight! (as Bluto said in Animal House).

  • Kevin B

    The rot set in when we allowed them to coerce us into stopping cooking with lard. Any pie tastes better and is better for you when the pastry is made with animal fat and, (if needed), the cream is full fat dairy cream from real cows.

    Once the government gets away with proscribing ingredients that have been around for tens of thousands of years without causing armageddon, in the name of some nebulous health benefits, then we are doomed.

    PS This is the second consecutive post where I have refrained from using the “They can have my [insert subject of post here] when they pry it from my cold dead hands” trope. Aren’t I a good boy?

  • Rob Humphris

    If people knew the effects of Trans Fatty Acids they’d never knowingly consume them. The trouble is that they’re cheap to make and manufacturers use them by the bucket load.

    What is the answer though?
    Legistlation to force labelling of all foods containing TFA?
    Legistlation to stop it being used in foods?
    Legistlation to stop the foods that contain it being sold?

    Market forces don’t work too well if it takes the market 20years to develop heart disease, it would be a different matter if it had the same immediate effect that the recent Chinese Baby Formula had.

    Kevin B’s thoughts on Lard are exactly as I see it, theres nothing *wrong* with animal fat, we’ve been eating it for millenia, judicious use of red wine and some moderate exercise can help counter the negatives of it.

  • If people knew the effects of Trans Fatty Acids they’d never knowingly consume them.

    If people knew the effect of Nanny State bullies, they’d never tolerate them, either. (Every time I hear the controlling proposals from NSB’s, I can feel my blood pressure rising. That can’t be good for my health.)

    Unfortunately, the standard forces don’t work too well if it takes 20 years for the problems to come to light. And obviously, the market can’t work here, since it’s the State we’re talking about.

  • RRS

    Montgomery County is the residence of a substantial number of the permnent members of the unelected U S Gov’t.

    These are people such as those who draft the legislation, frame “policy.” and talk to (or are) the lobyists, etc. (in theory on “behalf” of the elected who never read what has been written – only executive summaries). The elected generally are not talented enough to write much of anything, hence the huge “staffs” and costs per member for Congress.

    So it is that the County ordinances reflect the inclinations of those “influentials.”

    Returning to theme: Government is not an organic entity, it is a mechanism which is used by humans in seeking their desires. The users are preponderately of the political class – few of whom are elected or even gov’t employed, but include the AARPs, the organizations “for” certain objectives (usually to be achieved by preventing someone else’s conduct [better health through no transfats]).

    It was interesting to watch that MD County from Fairfax County in VA for over 25 years – until the spill over came into VA from the beltway. Of course, the U K avoids all this ???

  • If people knew the effects of Trans Fatty Acids they’d never knowingly consume them. The trouble is that they’re cheap to make and manufacturers use them by the bucket load.

    All of which may or may not be true, but… so what? In the end who owns my body? Who decides?

    I do. Any other answer is unacceptable.

    All foods have their down side, and how I wish to manage my risk must be my business, not the states, as trans fats I eat pose zero risk to anyone else.

    There is an implicit understanding when you walk into a restaurant or a bar that the food/drink they give you is not poison or spoiled, but unless it is *literally* poison (say, 100% alcohol) or rotten, then the degree to which I want to balance my own body chemistry is my business alone. If I cannot be bothered to ask, that again is my choice, because it is my body. Mine.

    And attempts to make it otherwise should be met with contempt (and quite legitimately with violence to be blunt… the issue is far far more meaningful that mere cream pies).

  • Puritanism. It’s the new liberal.

  • Brad

    Of course alternate forms of fats came into vogue thirty odd years ago when do-gooders funded by the expansionary State (e.g. Surgeon General) howled at how bad butter and cream were. Just another example of how “butter knife in the toaster” interventionism didn’t solve anything an eventually leads to more problems and more intervention. This doesn’t even include the effects of collective responsibility under unfunded entitlements which gave rise to being so worried about the long term effects of other people’s behavior in the first place. It’s amazing how much bother is done away with once the collectivist notion is set aside. Personal behavior becomes much less worrisome.
    Which is worse, the long term corrosive effects of trans fats on an individual, or the long term corroding effects of interventionism?

    I’d much rather have an individual pitch over sideways dead from too much pie than have a person enslaved, poisoned, and shoved in an oven.

    Just nutty that way I guess.
    I get so despondent at how our States (US and UK) have become the battle ground of various puritanical interests, left and right). The advancement of science allows us some peek into the effects of long term behaviors, but we’ve always been intuitive enough to know what the effects of liquor, smoking, and rich foods have on an individual; puritans have existed for centuries and asceticism was always Godly and has been around of millenia. We didn’t need State funded clinical studies to tell us what were vices and what weren’t. But all this “new” knowledge tied together with “control groups” and “regressions to the mean” and other modern parlances has given new license to all kinds of puritans. And since it is ostensibly secular it can infest the State all it wants (at least here in the US where there is the separation of Church and State). The logic of WHY we wanted to have such a separation is lost, and supposedly secular philosophies can be just as interventionist as they please and hassle whomever they please.
    The matter stands that slight or moderate consumption of fats and alcohol are offset by exercise and other healthful food choices. I’d think that a person who sustains themselves on banana cream pie, cigarettes, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, and an intimate relationship with his Barcalounger shouldn’t expect to be long for this world. ANY intervention to make them incrementally healthier isn’t worth the related costs. Anyway, the end result of such intervention is to allow the bad apples to spoil the barrel. Even those who live a good lifestyle will go without pie.

  • Kevin B

    For those worried about the effects of ‘trans fats’ as pointed out by Rob above, Sandy Szwarc has a different take on the controversy.

    Not a single population study has been able to show even a link between trans fats or any other dietary fat and heart disease. Not only has our consumption of trans fats not changed in half a century, while we’ve been eating all of this supposedly bad stuff, the actual health of Americans has improved enormously, we’ve gained more than seven years in life expectancy; and heart disease and most cancers have dropped.


  • andyinsdca

    In Jerry Pournelle’s KICK ASS book, Survival Of Freedom (a collection of short stories & essays), there is a story called “Lipid Leggin” (or Lipid Legger) about a guy who sells fatty foods like butter and real meat on the blackmarket. It’s not really surprising this is coming true.

    If you can find Survival of Freedom, do so. Read it and revel. It’s a great book.

  • This kind of thing would be fine (I could accept it for what it was worth) if Political Ideas and ALL legislation where ALSO carefully labeled for dumbass content and deficit fattening potential.
    Warning labels on political parties ought to be mandatory, too.

    Label on the Evil Party: **WARNING – almost everything in this political party will lead to statism, slavery, and irreparable loss of freedom and prosperity (but I repeat myself)!!!**

    Label on the Stupid Party: **THINK BEFORE YOU VOTE – this party has caved over and over again and no longer believes in limited government.**

  • Pa Annoyed

    “If people knew the effects of Trans Fatty Acids they’d never knowingly consume them.”

    This reminds me of that classic line “If you could see the inside of your colon, you’d be horrified.”

    The statement is tosh, of course. We do know what the effects are, (or rather, what some loony neo-puritan propagandist says they are) and it doesn’t/wouldn’t bother us. Extra trans-fats for me, please!

    These people seem to think that because they wouldn’t eat it, neither would anybody else, so it’s perfectly OK to stop caterers serving it. What they fail to take into account in this calculation is that they’re nuts, and other people aren’t, and that many people dislike totalitarianism. Inexplicable, eh?

  • llamas

    This is a case of what another has called ‘convenient puritanism’. It’s defined as banning or restricting only those things that will not affect the health, lifestyle, well-being or future welfare of those doing the banning.

    If public health and safety were the actual motivators, these assclowns would be banning cigarettes and alcohol. But they won’t be doing that anytime soon – it would cost them at the ballot box, and besides, who doesn’t enjoy a subtle Merlot with spice and pepper hints with their Vega-y-Vega?

    But ban margarine, french fries, tacos and cheap pie crusts – the foods of poor, often-brown people? That’s fine! After all, we fry only in extra-virgin olive oil, and we get our real butter form that fetching little stall at the artisanal food market. It’s organic, too! And we don’t even know anyone that eats at Dennys!

    50+ years of eating trans-fats, and life expectancy goes up as the rates of CHD go down – but these people don’t like it and so you may not have it.




  • Noel C

    If people knew the effects of Trans Fatty Acids they’d never knowingly consume them.

    Well cured meat contains carcinogenic nitrosoamines but I choose to take that risk, it’s my call, no-one elses. Just remember, when it comes to banning trans fatty acids, if you tolerate this, your bacon will be next.

  • I keep forgetting – what form of government is that which decides what you can and cannot eat?

  • What they fail to take into account in this calculation is that they’re nuts, and other people aren’t, and that many people dislike totalitarianism.

    The problem is the nuts- and they are indeed quite mad- have control of the cultural hegemony, or the metacontext, or whatever we call it. How we’re going to shake the nuts out of the top of the tree is the difficult question.

  • Paul Marks

    It is an old debate – even in the time of Edmund Burke (who opposed such thinking – even on things a lot more harmful than “transfats”( it was old (it goes back to Cato the Elder and before).

    The statist thinks all he has to do is to prove something (a product, an idea, whatever) is harmful – and then he has a good case to ban it.

    The error is to contest the harm (that accepts the “frame of the reference of the statist). As Dale and everyone else here knows, the point is to simply state “no, something doing harm does not give you the right to ban it”.

  • Veeshir

    You should go south instead of north for pie.

    We’re still mostly free in Virginia, you can get any kind of pie you want.

  • I think it would be grand to have underground
    eatery easies….what fun!

    What’s needed is lots of hemp.

  • The problem is the nuts- and they are indeed quite mad- have control of the cultural hegemony, or the metacontext, or whatever we call it. How we’re going to shake the nuts out of the top of the tree is the difficult question.

    I advocate chopping down the tree, that makes the
    high hung nuts low hanging fruit.

  • Alisa

    Why waste a perfectly good pie on a face of a politician? Unless the pie is not a perfectly good one…

  • toad

    I’m old enough to remember when the health Nazis were saying coffee was bad for you, now they are claiming it does everything. Passing laws based on some half ass flawed study (will give mice cancer if they consume it at 5 times there body weight per day.) Is typical.
    There was a study once that Stearic acid (trans fat found in animal fat) helped prevent lower bowel cancer. So if the incident of bowel cancer increases in Maryland everybody should know who to hang.

  • Fatwa Arbuckle

    America’s Founders were eerily prescient:

    “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

    In the event of pie fights, I wonder if our Second Amendment covers Frito™ pies.

  • Ostralion

    22Mike- I think the term is ‘Dentocracy’. Rule by Dentists.
    Q. How come everyone badmouths dentists?
    A. Well, they started it!

  • Jeffersonian

    When you pry it from my cold dead lips, baby. It’s scarcely imaginable this is happening.

  • This whole matter is getting more and more ridiculous.

    Even with the crappy legislative system in Malaysia they would never interfere with our food stuffs.

    Unless you’re Muslim, but even then you just cannot be caught at it.

    Trans fats? Shoot, our curries and kurmahs are made from GHEE, LARD and FULL CREAM MILK, not to mention COCONOT MILK. All the artery-clogging, heartburn-inducing goodness packed into a banana leaf.

  • lucklucky

    The American Tiranny is being build step by step.
    A trully Communist country where everyone has to be like everyone.

  • James

    Pie is never free, gents.

  • BADKarma

    Welcome to creeping Communism, boys and girls. It’s only going to get worse, and those of you who voted Obama and all his little megalomaniac buddies into office can rest on your self-righteous, smug-ass laurels, knowing all of it is entirely your fault.

  • tdh

    IIRC the rise in life expectancy has been due primarily to the reduction in infant mortality, and has little to do with modern medicine as practiced on adults.

    There was a MA legislator who rammed a mandatory-margarine bill down our throats. She ended up getting cancer. Hoist with her own petard?

    Clearly the form of government that decides what you can and cannot eat is an all-consuming one.

  • Jj

    You have got to be kidding – no, it looks like you’re not. They truly did this? What an outrage!!! this is absolutely nuts! (Nuts, by the way, have good, NATURAL fat…lol).

    Good job exposing this. That’s the best thing you can do is expose the lunacy. Perhaps we can tone it down to a low roar, if nothing else.

  • Megan Smith

    They didn’t ban banana cream pies! You can easily make them without artificial trans fat. It’s such a small thing and there’s nothing that you can’t make without artifical trans fat. It’s great they banned it. And all the children who have no choice in what they eat with be healthier because of this, and no one’s even going to notice a difference.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Did you know that human milk naturally contains 3-6% trans-fats, and is therefore by some legal definitions banned as unsafe for human consumption?

  • tdh

    I suppose I should’ve been clearer; “mandatory margarine” was a convenient way of describing the requirement (about 2 decades ago) that all MA restaurants serving butter serve margarine, too. I haven’t seen any margarine served lately; either the law was repealed (due to its extreme waste?), or it has become a nullity.

    (BTW, the MA sales tax will go up from 5% to 6.25% in a few hours, along, I presume, with the meals tax. MA has been trying to collect a farcical “use” tax for goods bought in NH. If they try collecting it on meals …. )

  • Kim du Toit

    Bah. As with so many Nannyist proscriptions, the “cure” will eventually be found to be worse than the illness. In five years’ time, no doubt, we’ll discover that a diet rich in trans-fats prevents one from dying of [insert deadly illness of choice here].

    Whatever, I will continue to enjoy pies made with lard, clotted cream and all the other deadly substances which horrify the Nannies.

    If you’ll pardon the language: fuck ’em.