Milk Bar, the New York bakery that opened a Cambridge location in February, is making a change. In a memo to her staff, Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi explained her decision to rename Crack Pie — one of the bakery’s signature dishes — Milk Bar Pie, effective Monday.
“When we do anything, from implementing a new company policy to creating a new layer cake, we do it because it’s important to us,” Tosi wrote. “Our mission, after all, is to spread joy and inspire celebration. The name Crack Pie falls short of this mission. That’s why starting today, Crack Pie will now be Milk Bar Pie.”
The renaming comes less than a month after Globe Food writer Devra First wrote a column titled “There’s nothing cute about crack pie,” in which she argued, “The language of addiction is frequently deployed when it comes to food, and it’s time to stop.”
“If it seemed funny a decade ago to name a dessert after an addictive drug, the joke was one of privilege. The crack epidemic of the 1980s hurt largely poor, largely black communities, not the people who were heading to the East Village to spend $5 on a slice of pie (the price has since gone up to $6),” First wrote.
Others have made similar arguments, including Grub Street’s Chris Crowley and San Francisco Chronicle’s Soleil Ho, who wrote, “No matter how delicious something might be, its effect on me is nothing close to what crack does to people and their families.”
Tosi was listening.
“Why Milk Bar Pie? It’s simple, so we’ve decided to keep it simple,” she wrote in her memo to staff. “It’s been on the Milk Bar menu since day one. And, the old name was getting in the way of letting the gooey, buttery slice bring happiness — my only goal in creating the thing in the first place.”