Good Ole’ American Pie – A History Of the Golden Era Classic Treat
It’s the season for state fairs, which mean hamburgers, Coca-Cola, and good ole American fun. These are all considered a part of the American image, however, nothing seems more all American than a homemade apple pie! It is the one food that reminds us of holidays with our families, warm summer days, and crisp fall evenings like the beloved apple pie. In fact, many of us take great pride in being “as American as apple pie.”
However, apple pie isn’t quite “all” American.
The first written recipe was actually found in an English cookbook in the late 1300s. In fact, apples were involved in Asian and European cuisines and desserts for thousands of years before the 13 original colonies. Though different than the pies we know today, apple treats and pastries were a common delicacy in England in the late 14th century. These treats originally didn’t have the buttery crusts so many of us love due to the scarcity and costly nature of sugar at the time. The English loved pies so much that writers and poets would refer to them in romantic writings. Little did they know that that love for the delicious dessert would resonate in so many of our hearts all around the world. Finally, in the early 1500s, Dutch bakers introduced the infamous lattice-style crust.
Finally, edible apples made their way to North America in the mid-1600s and then came the rise of Johnny Appleseed and his apple-eating, carefree nature. Though he used apples mainly for hard cider, he brought fame to the fruit. But how, you’re probably still asking, did apple pie become the symbol of American patriotism? We’re getting there.
Though apples were consumed for thousands of years around the world, the first instance of apple pie consumption wasn’t until the late 1600s when it was brought over by European immigrants. During the 1700s, Pennsylvania Dutch women discovered methods of preserving apples, which made them available all year around. Soon, American settlers began declaring apple pies as “uniquely American.” Hundreds of years later, apple pies were then considered undeniably American. Then came the turn of the 20th century when a New York Times editor reported that “anyone who knows the secret of our strength as a nation and the foundation of our industrial supremacy must admit…pie is the American synonym of prosperity…Pie is the food of the heroic. No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.” Well said…well said.
It wasn’t until WWII did the phrase “as American as apple pie” truly become popular. Soldiers would often reference their mothers and apple pie as things reasons they were fighting in the war. According to the American Pie Council, Americans consume $700 million worth of retail pies annually. This doesn’t even include those that are homemade or sold by restaurants or small bakeries. Other countries may trump us in general apple consumption, but America has taken the delicious dessert of apple pie to extraordinary heights with love and admiration. Regardless of its origination, apple pie is a symbol of pride and patriotism that will forever be unique to America. I mean, come on, don’t you just love coming home to a house smelling of apple pie? I know we do.