* Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who helped protect pepperoni roll bakeries from stricter USDA regulations that may have put them out of business in 1987, stands by the pepperoni roll's side. He has even given pepperoni rolls away as Secret Santa gifts to other senators.
"West Virginia has no shortage of culinary treasures - from apple butter and buckwheat cakes, to mealtime staples like beans and cornbread," Rockefeller said. "And I've been to more ramp dinners than I can count. What's great about the pepperoni roll is it is a uniquely West Virginia creation. For that reason, it holds a special place in our hearts. And I'm glad I could play a part in keeping it around."
Jay Rockefeller's Vote: Pepperoni Rolls
* Jessica Lynch, former U.S. Army soldier who served in Iraq during the 2003 invasion, was making pepperoni rolls at the time of the interview.
"We are a big fan of pepperoni rolls in my house. My daughter loves them. My fiance goes nuts for them. I like to make them," Lynch said. "I think it's a cool little back story that they were invented here in West Virginia in Fairmont. I think that's neat."
"I guess my only concern is that we have such a high obesity rate. But I'm definitely a fan of pepperoni rolls."
As far as beans and cornbread? "I'm not a fan, only because that's what we ate all the time was beans and cornbread growing up. It's the poor man's food," she said. "I understand where pepperoni rolls are coming from to be the official food."
Jessica Lynch's Vote: Pepperoni Rolls
* Kent Carper, Kanawha County Commission president, said, "To me, this gives credence to the belief that power in the Legislature is switching to the north. Having said that, what's wrong with ramps? Or cornbread and beans? Ramps are grown almost exclusively here."
"Ramps have become famous now, and they're served all over the country - to restaurants in New York. I realize we have a lot of Italian immigrants in the past, but I can make the argument that beans and cornbread are more indicative of West Virginia culture. I like pepperoni rolls; I eat them; I think they're tasty. Frankly, I wouldn't consider that the food of the state of West Virginia. If this makes Jeopardy, nobody will get it. Black bear, I got it. Rhododendron, I got it."
Kent Carper's Vote: Ramps and Beans & Cornbread
* The Charleston Daily Mail's own Food Guy, Steven Keith, has waxed poetic about pepperoni rolls in his columns over the years.
"As a 'serious food dude,' I should probably be horrified by the prospect of glorifying something as simple as a pepperoni roll. But if done right, man, are they good!" he said.
"And I'm not talking about the ones you get at the local shop-a-minute, but really good ones - fresh-baked and still oven-warm from a bakery in Clarksburg or Fairmont. I know it's not gourmet food, but it's a soul-satisfying snack with a noble history behind it. West Virginia could do a lot worse when it comes to celebrating a state food. Ramps are good also-ran but, hey, they only show up a few months a year. We need a state food that can commit to full-time indulgence!"
Daily Mail Food Guy's Vote: Pepperoni Rolls
* The Tudor's biscuit is also a suggested food to represent the state.
"We are flattered by those comments. If you talk about the food, I don't think you can talk about a brand name. It would have to be a food itself. In that environment, it should be a biscuit. Not Tudor's," said Oshel Craigo, owner of Tudor's Biscuit World.
"It's flattering they'd include us in the mix. There's some merit to the pepperoni roll - it's interesting how food works. No question that pepperoni roll started in Clarksburg-Fairmont area and worked its way across the state. But it's a hard-crusted bread. You can hardly find it in Charleston. It's extremely popular in central West Virginia. Certain regions of West Virginia prefer certain food. We sell hotdogs with slaw. Some areas of the country, it's just unheard of."
"The pepperoni roll was put together for the benefit of coal miners. Miners have a long history in this state - they're a big part. When you look at that together, and talking about a food itself, the pepperoni roll may not be a bad choice. Brown Beans and Cornbread wouldn't be far behind. Biscuits would rank very high - without question. Brown beans and cornbread would be very high. Biscuits would be very, very high. As a kid, my dad had biscuits every day. My mother made them. Homemade - nothing like a homemade biscuit. It's a very wonderful food."
Oshel Craigo's Vote: Biscuits
* Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said, "I will support the pepperoni roll being the state food for many reasons. First off, it originated in West Virginia. It was the ingenuity of a West Virginian - a coal miner. I think that exemplifies what West Virginia is all about."
Tennant, who is from Marion County - home of the pepperoni roll, promotes it whenever she has the chance, including at conferences and visits.
"The thing for me is, you can look to various bakeries and find a pepperoni roll. Tomaro's Bakery and Country Club Bakery might dispute who was first. And in Fairmont, there's a different kind of pepperoni roll - it's Colasessano's, they call theirs a pepperoni bun. They are all awesome."
"I have always promoted all things West Virginia - West Virginia grown, made, created. I think that the pepperoni roll is a great example of that. It's not that I don't promote others. What about ramps? I love ramps. Beans and cornbread - those are all awesome meals that people will want to promote. But the pepperoni roll - people just love them. It makes me proud to say they came from my home county."
Natalie Tennant's Vote: Pepperoni Rolls