CRACKING DOWN By JOHN LEHNDORFF
ames have great power, particularly when it comes to foods we hold near and dear. Take the case of Crack Pie, one of the most famous American desserts of the past quarter-century. Created by pastry chef Christina Tosi, Crack Pie sets a gooey, sweet, salty, satiating filling of heavy cream, egg yolks, vanilla and sugar in a buttery oatmeal cookie crust. After tasting Crack Pie, my first thought was: “This stuff is Crack Pie, dangerous, really addictive. Irish Car Bombs, Where can I get some more?” That’s the common reaction. Wopburgers and Not everyone found this reference to crack cocaine appealtales of culinary ing, particularly in light of the of communities, many correctness number African-American, that have been devastated by the drug. After lengthy protests including comments suggesting that the bakery also offer Heroin Cupcakes, Tosi recently announced that the name would be changed. Her bakery website now refers to it as “Milk Bar Pie, formerly known as Crack Pie®.” Are we getting a little bit too sensitive and inflicting culinary correctness? Or, is it about time some of these 46
MAY 9, 2019
verbal offenses were addressed? It’s complicated, says Dana Derichsweiler, owner of the Walnut Cafe restaurants, which occasionally feature Crack Pie. “We are sticking with the name Crack Pie, at least for now. It’s how customers know the pie,” she says. Derichsweiler is no spring chicken when it comes to food name controversy. “Back in the 1990s we had Killer Brownies on the menu. Some of our customers complained. We had a contest and chose The Slab. We would never call anything ‘Killer’ now,” Derichsweiler says. In fairness, a lot of menu items were called “Killer” back then. Even today, the best-selling organic, nonGMO bread in the U.S. is Dave’s Killer Bread. Derichsweiler notes that in the ’90s a half-caf, halfdecaf espresso drink was commonly called a “schizo” by baristas, but no longer. “Now we have to make sure food names don’t have any gender connotations,” she adds. The Walnut Cafe Boulder menu includes Duzzer’s Breakfast Burrito. The vegetarian item topped with cheddar, salsa, sour cream and black olives is named after a longtime customer, filmmaker and do-gooder Ryan Van Duzer. The eatery donates $1 for each burrito to the Kirk “Rocky” Derichsweller Foundation, named after Dana’s late brother. “The burritos have raised more I
THE WALNUT CAFE makes a version of Crack Pie, and owner Dana Derichsweiler says they’re sticking with the name for now. The pie’s creator, esteemed pastry chef Christina Tosi, recently announced she’d change the name of the pie to Milk Bar Pie, named after her bakery.
BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE