Is it a gob or a whoopee pie?

Is this a whoopie pie or a gob?

Photo courtesy of http://www.foodnetwork.com

Some of us were sitting in the Command Center of the Strategic Visioning Project recently and a discussion came up. I said I wanted the gob that I had in my bag and Em asked, with a puzzled look on her face, what a gob was. Long story short, gob or whoopee pie, it’s the same thing depending on where you live and apparently, the term “gob” is pretty exclusive to Western Pennsylvania.

According to the story, the coal miners of the area carried them in their lunch buckets to work and the tasty, cream-filled confection looked like lumps of coal on the piles at the mines, hence the name “gob.” Most people call these things Whoopee Pies, hence Emily’s confusion when I said it.

This little conversation led us to embark on an entire discussion about dialect, what words and pronunciations were used, and where in the country they were used. We found the locations of the pop/soda/coke debate and apparently “pop” is said in the northern half of the country, and here I thought it was a Western Pennsylvania thing only. I thought wrong.

I have to say that this is what will sometimes happen when a small group of journalism graduates, current students, and one food and nutrition major from the northeast, talk about when they’re thrown into a room together. We get on the subject of words and their meanings and origins. Trust me; this really does make for a lively conversation.

So you people out there in cyber-world may be wondering… what does this have to do with the Strategic Visioning Project? Well, we were learning a bit more about each other in terms of dialect and that leads us to this project.

The word “diversity” has come up so much in the focus groups and interviews about IUP and what makes it distinctive. My opinion is that when people were using this word, they were talking about the different ethnicities and demographic areas in which students were from. With a student population of roughly 15,000, this university has students from all over, from across the state, across the country, and even from around the world.

We have a melting pot of students that while it probably isn’t unique to just IUP, it gives us a chance to dive into other areas and/or cultures, and creates an interesting learning experience; even if it is just talking about words and meanings.

So what is it to you? A gob or a whoopee pie?

–Shawna McCutcheon