Legend has it that sometime in the 1930s a Mr. Bennett baked the very first persian in honour of a guest visiting from the Middle East. A conflicting story declares the delicacy was named after its American cousin, the pershing, which, not unlike another sort of fat-bomb, was named after General Pershing. Others claim that Five Star Bakery originated the special treat as a means to sell day-old cinnamon buns. Debate over the secret ingredient in the icing — whether it’s raspberry, cherry, or strawberry — also continues to this day. Although persians now abound throughout The Lakehead region, confrontations over which bakery produces the most authentic pastry have created a permanent melee throughout The Great Northwest
A History of The Gay Pastry Rampage
The political act of pieing was popularized in the early cinematic works of Laurel & Hardy and Queer activism has been rolling in the métier of renegade pastry ever since. Cooper’s Donuts in Los Angeles was a popular late-night hangout for trans* folk, queers, and queens. Tired of routine police harassment, one particular night in 1959 they fought back and police were faced with a scourge of coffee cups and doughnuts.
In 1966 a similar riot broke out in San Francisco, at Compton’s Cafeteria in the Tenderloin. Leading the way were transgender patrons who fought back against daily police harassment. A hot cup of coffee thrown into the face of a police officer led to an all-out pastry-toss: furniture was broken, dishes were smashed, and a nearby newsstand was burned to the ground. Post-riot picketing outside the cafeteria, mobilized by local queer groups The Street Orphans and Vanguard, compelled the city to establish support services including the National Transsexual Counseling Unit.
Pastry continued to lead in the fight against oppression, post Stonewall. In 1977, a Minnesota radical gay group, the Target City Coalition, struck the Archbishop of St. Paul–Minneapolis with a chocolate cream pie as a rebuttal to his role in preventing the introduction of an anti-discrimination gay rights ordinance. Weeks later Thom Higgins pied celebrity singer and anti-gay-rights activist Anita Bryant on live television, in Des Moines, Iowa. Bryant’s pie-covered face was broadcast internationally and appeared on the cover of the New York Times. Her singing career faltered and to this day her name is synonymous with bigotry.
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