I’m certainly no traditionalist when it comes to Philadelphia foods—my iconoclastic leanings see me prefer the roast pork sandwich over the cheesesteak, wit or witout—but changing my beloved TastyPie? What manner of sacrilege is this?
On entering a trusty Wawa not too long ago, I was confronted with one of these creme-colored boxes, purporting to house an authentic TastyPie.
For the sadly uninitiated, a TastyPie is traditionally housed in a blue cardboard box, the top wrapped in cellophane (a Coconut Creme example shown below, opened in the only proper TastyPie extraction method):
Were these changes merely box-deep, or had some terrible, marketing-driven alchemy altered the substance within?
I had to find out . . .
In the spirit of this most American of holidays, I give thanks for a delivery of TastyPies—including the elusive Seasonal Pumpkin TastyPie—fresh from a Center City Philly Wawa:
TastyPies are, of course, best at the peak of freshness, so no need to examine the nutritional contents panel, especially on Thanksgiving. If you have TastyPies at home, just enjoy.
Eight days. That’s all time you have to consume a TastyPie once it leaves the warm confines of the Philadelphia-based Tasty Baking Company’s ovens.
Oh, sure, it’s still edible thereafter, but we’re talking about a fresh product here whose flavor profile changes as time takes its ravaging toll. It may be packaged to travel and sit on a shelf, but Philadelphia expats will tell you that the TastyPie they find on some drug store shelf three hundred miles from the bakery just isn’t the same as a TastyPie bought from a South Philly deli minutes after the distributor’s truck has rolled away.
Living a good two to three hours from Philadelphia, I try to stock up on TastyPies whenever I’m up there, drawing knowing stares from other travelers in 30th Street Station when I purchase ten at a time prior to catching a Northeast Regional home. Or, if I’ve bought the last Blueberry, cutting stares that threaten bodily harm.
What inspires this devotion, this hoarding instinct in otherwise rational adults? Just look at the packaging itself. No hiding of the pastry behind a wrapper with an idealized illustration—there it is, preening behind cellophane, cracks and flakes and all. Love me as I am, it cries.
TastyKake claims to make a quarter-million TastyPies a day, but they don’t look stamped out, like some widget on a press. TastyPies have character.