Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Is Apple Pie American?


Shelly has asked a very pertinent question that I think applies to all of us in some way or another.

"I was thinking this morning, as I ate a piece of apple pie for breakfast, about how apple pie is supposed to be the quintessential hallmark of classic americana. But, is apple pie really an American invention? I mean, it, along w/ baseball, is the underpinning of our fair country but what if it's not even an American-based pastry!? Is it possible that it's a direct derivative of Apple Streudel, (which is so German, we dare not associate w/ it)?"

What I have discovered, is that apple pie is in fact an old English dessert. The recipe posted here is from 1381.

"In England, apple pie is a dessert of enduring popularity, eaten hot or cold, on its own or with ice cream, double cream or custard."

I think we have claimed it to be our own in many ways. And we have changed the recipe many times. Originally there was not sugar in apple pie and it was a more tart dessert, often served with cheddar cheese.

Plus, apple trees are not native to the United States. They were carefully brought here from Europe along with the desire for this excellent pie. The phrase, "As American as apple pie!" may have possibly been instigated by the Apple Marketing Board of New York State to increase apple sales.

Thus, we conclude that Apple Pie, as much as Americans love it, is not originally an American invention. However, I may have to make one tonight as now I have been craving apple pie for several days.

And I'll give ten points to anyone who can decipher the apple pie recipe.

18 comments:

heather said...

Here's the recipe:

23: Apple Tarts
Take good apples and good spices and figs and rayfons (what?!) and cherries (I think...) and when they are a good and mixed (I swear it says that) cover with safron and put them in a coffin (he he) ... okay, a baking dish and cook until brown.

hmmm... good apples and good spices and cook until done. I guess we need a lot more direction these days! :)

Carbon said...

Great info.. I guess that's why New York is called the "Big Apple"?

Jean said...

23: For to make Tarts In Apples

Take good apples and good spices and figs and raisins and pears and when they are well baked cover with Safron well and do it in a coffin and do it forth to bake well.

Just a guess.
I love apple pie.

kerri anne said...

Not SUGAR! in the original version of apple pie?! I call blasphemy.

;)

Kim said...

That’s the great thing about America, we steal someone else’s _______, make it better, and call it our own. I bet the English apple pie sucks. So in a way, apple pie is very American since America is a country built on theft, lies, deceitful marketing and screwing the British :!)

anne said...

Ten points each to Heather & Jean! Also an interesting bit of information, the cofyn of the recipe is a casing of pastry. Saffron is used for coloring the pie filling.

Ah Luke, thanks for bringing us all down. That was lovely... ; )

True, yes true.

beth said...

Thanks for including the old recipe! I love old English. Ever since I had to study it in English Lit in HS (and memorize it...Sumer is a cumin in, loude sing cucu...see, I still remember!) I find it very interesting to read and try to figure out.

anne said...

I know! I find it so interesting to see how much our language has evolved over such a short period of time! Crazy!

Jean said...

I was thinking with the coffin, that they were just crazy and were only given these ingredents to keep them occupied while in there.

Buffy said...

One of these days...

I WILL bake a pie.

anne said...

I know!! Maybe tomorrow I'll do it. I could put in peaches too as those are on sale right now...

shelly said...

Thanks Anne!!! I guess Apple pie as we know and enjoy it is indeed American. I feel better now. Who wants to eat apple pie w/ out sugar and w/ cheese? Not me my friend.

I'm not surprised that it was good ole' American marketing & propaganda that started the trend. That just figures.

anne said...

I know. Those sneaky Americans...though I have to say, I can see eating a nice hunk of cheddar cheese with a slice of apple pie. Not without sugar, however. That would be blasphemy for certain!!

Anonymous said...

well i am doing a project on apple pie and like your idea!

Kevin said...

Guys / Gals

just to let you know this side of the pond our apple pies don't suck. And traditionally now include sugar.

The original probably didn't, but sugar was much scarcer resource then and they probably didn't have such sweet tooth's!

Cheers

Kevin (In Blighty)

dana said...

i think reyfons are raisens...

Also, a sweet older woman i know says :"An apple pie without the cheese/ is like a kiss without the squeeze."
She is American; albiet a New Englander.

Anonymous said...

I really don't dig apple pie, and everyone always teases me for being "un-American," haha. Now I can just link them all to THIS.

Anonymous said...

Funny, that you mentioned baseball, that's also an English invention.