Cupcakes, Oysters, Quahogs: Beacon Hill Digs in on the ‘official’ Stuff
BOSTON -- In one corner is the quahog, the hard-shell clam commonly stuffed or used in New England-style chowder. In the other is the oyster, ready for competitive shucking, pearl-producing or slurping raw.
Both mollusks are under consideration to become the official shellfish of Massachusetts, thanks to competing bills up for a hearing Tuesday.
Kingston Rep. Thomas Calter’s oyster bill (H 1654) and New Bedford Sen. Marc Pacheco’s quahog bill (S 1752) are among 11 bills on the docket for a State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee hearing that seek to establish new official emblems of the commonwealth.
If passed into law - building coalitions around such matters can be challenging - the symbols proposed would join the ranks of the chickadee, chocolate chip cookie, baked navy bean, tabby cat, cranberry, and Ms. G of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the official state groundhog.
While the shellfish battle has potential to heat up, another long-simmering state symbol fight is down to one contender.
The pitch to make Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner” the state’s official rock song -- there’s already an official song, ode, folk song, patriotic song, glee club song, polka and ceremonial march -- returns this year.
In 2014, the committee endorsed the “Roadrunner” bill -- backed by then-lawmakers and current mayors Martin Walsh of Boston and Bob Hedlund of Weymouth -- and killed a bill, which would have bestowed the title to Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” by including it in a study order. A “Dream On” bill has not been filed since.
Rep. David Linsky of Natick -- Jonathan Richman’s hometown -- has now said Roadrunner twice, sponsoring the bill (H 1683) in each of the last two sessions.
The committee will also consider whether to name “14 Counties of Massachusetts,” as recorded by the third and fourth grade classes at Our Lady’s Academy in Waltham, as the official county song of the commonwealth (H 1717)
Arlington resident Louis DiDonato’s “Here’s to America” is recommended as the official patriotic song in legislation (H 3368) that does not amend or repeal existing statutory language that says “The song ‘Massachusetts Because of You Our Land Is Free’, words and music by Bernard Davidson, shall be the patriotic song of the Commonwealth.”
On the culinary front, bills propose recognizing East Weymouth’s Bell’s Seasoning the state’s official seasoning (H 1693) and the Boston cream pie cupcake as the official cupcake (H 1701).
The cupcake bill is filed by Rep. Angelo Puppolo of Springfield, whose city is home to Koffee Kup Bakery -- the makers of the Boston cream pie cupcakes that are Gov. Charlie Baker’s go-to wager against his counterparts in other states for major sports events.
Invented at Boston’s Parker House in 1856, the Boston cream pie already lays claim to two of the more than 50 official emblems of the commonwealth. The pie itself is the official dessert, and the Boston cream pie donut is the official donut.
Other bills before the committee on Tuesday would declare gingham the official textile (H 3376), the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway the official organic public park (S 1677), the black swallowtail the official butterfly (H 3364), and the spring peeper the official amphibian (S 2089).