How Grasshopper Pie Gets Its Unusual Name

If this is your first time hearing the term "grasshopper pie," one can only imagine what you might be thinking right about now. Before your gag reflex kicks in, you will be happy to know that this dish has nothing to do with a special "herbivorous insect" edition of "Fear Factor." And there will be no need to pull out your Vitamix and whip up a slurry of long-legged leaf eaters. In fact, grasshopper pie does not involve grasshoppers or any other insects at all. 

This pie is just one of many epicurean delights that have, seemingly, been named to cause confusion and horror. "Head cheese," for example, does contain head, but no cheese. The bizarrely named "spotted dick" is a pudding that bears no resemblance to its moniker. And if you eat "bubble and squeak," you will not see a single bubble nor hear even the faintest squeak.  

Yes, the English language is weird and culinary terms can be puzzling. But what exactly is the grasshopper pie and how on Earth did it receive its buggy name?

An alcoholic beverage was the inspiration for this bug-named dessert

Grasshopper pie is, in fact, a rich dessert with a creamy texture — with nary a pesky bug leg or bulging eyeball in sight. The original pie was made with a graham cracker crust, whereas today it is usually perched upon a crushed Oreo base (per Taste Atlas). A prime example of a chiffon pie, the traditional grasshopper pie is flavored with crème de menthe or mint extract, and the addition of green food coloring creates its colorful hue, says Delighted Cooking. Peruse the internet and you will find modern versions that use cream cheese, marshmallows, chocolate mint cookies, and crème de cacao liqueur. If you'd like to try your hand at one of these delicious emerald desserts, a 1960 article from the Richmond Times Dispatch offers an old school, easy-to-prepare recipe. 

Now that we know what it is, that still leaves one very important question. How did the grasshopper pie get its name? According to The Spruce Eats, the grasshopper cocktail was a beverage that originated in New Orleans that became all the rage in the South in the 1950s and '60s. The article adds that it was a combo of "crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and heavy cream." The pie took its inspiration — and its name — from this cocktail.

So, the next time someone offers you some grasshopper pie, go ahead and have some. You will not get a single antennae stuck between your teeth.