Pie might be the most popular around Thanksgiving, but if you’re a pie lover, you know that it’s good any ol’ time of the year. One of the beauties of pies is its versatility. Sweet pies, savory pies, meat pies, fruit pies, custard pies . . . there’s a pie for every holiday and every mood. Probably one for every day of the year, too.
But where did pie originate from? Who first thought of putting meat or fruit inside a pastry? Why is apple pie considered an American thing?
The Origin of Pie
Pie itself has been around since ancient times. Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans are all recorded to have eaten pie, but the kind of pie that they consumed was vastly different from its modern cousin. For centuries, the crust was only the vessel used for holding the filling together as it was cooked. The crust was then discarded, being too burnt and inedible, and the filling was eaten.
The filling usually consisted of meat, although this was not always the case. The American Pie Council states that “the first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie.” Sounds delicious. Wish I could get my hands on that recipe.
Where Did the Name Pie Come From?
The Oxford English Dictionary states that the word pie has Middle English origins, “probably the same word as pie [meaning the second definition: “used in names of birds that resemble the magpie”], the various combinations of ingredients being compared to objects randomly collected by a magpie.”
So basically, baking a pie = a magpie hoarding things.
Ever heard the expression “as American as apple pie”? Well, considering that apple pie isn’t actually American, that phrase isn’t all that accurate. There is some mystery around the origin of apple pie, but the earliest apple pie recipe was recorded in England in the 1300s and contained other ingredients such as raisins, pears, figs, and saffron.
Apples aren’t even native to the United States. They were brought over from Europe in the 1600s because of its long shelf life and to prevent scurvy during the long voyage. The colonists were able to store them through the harsh winters of the New World and as a result, utilized them in a number of dishes – one of them being apple pie.
In the spirit of American exceptionalism, we may not have come up with the idea of apple pie, but we still do it better than anyone else. And if no one challenges us, we’ll gladly take credit for inventing it. As well as pizza. And burgers. And beer.
You’re welcome, world.
So, what’s your favorite kind of pie? Let us know in the comments below!