“Crack Pie” Is No More

By Victoria Kim 04/18/19

The restaurant industry is moving away from describing food as “crack.”

“Crack Pie” Is No More
Photo via Instagram

Crack Pie is no more. Milk Bar’s buttery, gooey signature dessert Bar is taking on a new name: Milk Bar Pie.

The change is part of a larger shift in the restaurant industry toward abandoning the use of the word “crack” to describe delicious food.

Milk Bar founder and James Beard award-winning chef Christina Tosi explained the decision to her team in a statement. “Our mission, after all, is to spread joy and inspire celebration. The name Crack Pie falls short of this mission.”

Gastropub chain HopCat made a similar decision last December, when it decided to drop the name “crack fries”—referring to beer-battered french fries in cracked pepper seasoning. The menu item’s new name was announced in January—Cosmik Fries.

“When we came up with it 11 years ago, it was tongue-in-cheek, and we didn’t put a lot of reflection into it,” said HopCat spokesman Chris Knape. “Times change, we’ve changed and we decided to make a change.”

As far as we know, this issue was first raised by The Fix contributor Dean Dauphinais in his 2015 blog post “Why Do People Think Crack Cocaine Is Funny?

“Why crack has been singled out as the go-to drug when trying to be witty is completely lost on me,” Dauphinais wrote.

A recent Washington Post article also questions the idea of “so good it’s like crack.”

“The callousness with which people throw around the word ‘crack’ isn’t the same with other drugs,” writes Maura Judkis. “We don’t call any desserts ‘opioid pie,’ even though those drugs… are highly addictive, too.”

San Francisco Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho listed “crack” and “addictive” among her “Words you’ll never see me use in restaurant reviews”—an article published in February.

“No matter how delicious something might be, its effect on me is nothing close to what crack does to people and their families,” wrote Ho. She doesn’t fail to mention Milk Bar’s “Crack Pie” and how Tosi has been playfully referred to as a “crack dealer.”

“Addictive” is another word thrown around when describing food so good that you can’t put it down. “I’ve used this before in a few contexts, and I realized after talking to friends and colleagues who struggle with real-world addiction that it’s a word that I need to ease out of my food writing,” Ho says.

While stuff like this may not appeal to old-school folks who aren’t down with the PC police, HopCat spokesman Knape says it’s less about being politically correct and more about recognizing a serious issue that should be treated as such.

“It’s not a reflection of us wanting to be politically correct as much as wanting to present an image to the world that’s inclusive and recognizes that what may have been funny 11 years ago never really was,” he said.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr