Baking,  Cooking,  Culinary History,  Desserts,  Food History,  History,  Holidays

The History of Pie

With the weather turning cooler, it seems fitting to dive into a cozy, comforting food topic. I surprised myself when I realized I haven’t written about the history of pies yet! Pies are some of my favorite desserts and their history is incredibly varied. Pies have just always seemed to be a part of culinary history.

Like most other culinary delights, the history of pie starts back in ancient times. The Egyptians are believed to be the first to create something like a pie. It was believed to be more of a free form pastry some what like a modern day galette. Later on, the Romans expanded the pie a little closer to what we know today and spread it across the empire. 

The first mention of the word “pie” in Europe was found in Medieval Latin texts. These medieval pies were often large, cumbersome and full to the brim with many ingredients. Sometimes the pastry was meant to be eaten and sometimes if was just the vehicle to hold the food. 

Pies crossed the Atlantic with the immigrants to the New World. English settlers were experts with pies and brought their recipes with them. Pies were a staple on many pioneer and frontier tables. They were easy to make, used up whatever ingredients were on hand and they were filling.

Over time, pies took on a uniquely American flare. More immigrants arrived and brought with them their own pie traditions. Pies from the Caribbean, the Pennsylvania Dutch, Scandinavian and African cultures become standard fare. Uniquely American food stuffs like sweet potatoes, cornmeal, pumpkin and green tomatoes found their way into American pies.

Pies helped see America through every part of its history. From the water pies of the Depression to the new fangled ice cream pies of the 1950s and 60s, pie has almost become synonymous with America. As American as apple pie, anyone?

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