GO! Eat the All American Apple Pie?

Posted on May 13th, 2010 by Clinically Clueless
 hostess_fruit_piesCC here from Southern California enjoying my morning cup of coffee.  Tastes like Gruda blend from Peet’s Coffee and Tea. I am also finding out that it is National Apple Pie Day (May 13th).  Apple pie like some many “American” foods are not American at all with their origins being from another country. Unfortunately, National Apple Pie Day is not a day off from work, but a great excuse for eating apple pie.  I have great memories of my Grandpa eating apple pie where ever we went.  My best friend in High School used to eat pie for breakfast.  On got on her case about it, but stopped when she pointed out that the fruit filled “turn over’ type things which were meant for breakfast is just the same thing, but with less.  In researching this post, I found out that she was right, but for a different reason.  Apple pie like some many “American” foods are not American at all with their origins being from another country.

Mr. Breakfast The history of pies, in general, dates back to 2nd Century B.C.. Briefly stated, the Greeks invented it. The Romans invaded Greece and stole it. Jumping ahead to 15th Century A.D., pies had spread throughout Europe. The recipes had become very diverse.  (In 15th Century A.D.) Animated pies or pyes were the most popular banquet entertainment. The nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence… four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,” refers to such a pie. According to the rhyme, “When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing. Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the King?” In all likelihood, those birds not only sang, but flew briskly out at the assembled guests. Rabbits, frogs, turtles, other small animals, and even small people (dwarfs) were also set into pies, either alone or with birds, to be released when the crust was cut. The dwarf would emerge and walk down the length of the table, reciting poetry, sketching the guests, or doing tricks. (And, I thought it was just a children’s rhyme…now, it creeps me out more)

blackbirdsBy the 19th century, apple and other fruit pies were common at the breakfast table in rural homes throughout America. In our time, pie is no longer common for breakfast. Most of us have had left over pie from the previous night’s desert for breakfast. It’s a great treat, but hardly a morning staple. When we consider that the history of pies, in general, predates Christ, the history of breakfast as we know it — eggs and bacon and Cap’n Crunch et al — is a relatively new phenomenon. The practice of going to a restaurant for pancakes or an omelet in the morning is barely 100 years old. So in many ways, breakfast pie is the infant prodigy of piesOh, now this is why apple pie goes so well with COFFEE…I’ll take any excuse to have coffee.

According to www.thewordly.org, the first recorded, edible crust apple pie recipe was in 1361.The first apple seeds in American came from the Pilgrims in 1620. Mock Apple Pie made from soda crackers instead of apples, was popular during The Great Depression, because apples were hard to obtain.

Apple pie and COFFEE!!

Apple pie and COFFEE!!

While it is uncertain to why either of these dates became National Apple Pie Day, it is well known that apple pies are an important part of the American culture with sayings like “as American as apple pie”. From www.theoi.com, the meaning that apples are not originally from the United States, like many of its people, but they adapted into Americans. Apples have been around since ancient times and are even noted in Greek mythology when Ge gave Hera, bride of Zeus, a tree with golden apples.

Even though apple pie is commonly associated with being American, apple seeds were brought over by the Europeans, as no apple trees existed in the Untied States before the time of Columbus. However, apple pies soon began being a part of the culture and history as it is believed that the apple pie and recipe was brought over by the early English settlers. Henry Finck stated a claim that apple pie was an American Nation Dish in his book “Food and Flavor” written in 1913. Making the statement that “The apple pie is ours, as much as our flag”.

According to www.gwinnettmagazine.com Apples pies became highly associated with the US during World War II when the soldier were heading off to war. Soldiers would answer when ask why they were going to war… “for mom and apple pie”.  Apple pies have also been involved in a big patriotic ad by General Motors in the 1970s, stating the company was as an “American Tradition just like baseball, hot dogs and apple pie”.  Given all the roots, tradition and association to apple pie, it’s no wonder that America celebrates this holiday twice a year. While it there is not an international apple pie day, there are other international apple holidays celebrated.


Apple pie is actually a European creation. The French have “tarte tatin,” the Austrians “apfelstrudel” and the British apple pie.

Apples found their way to the United States via the early British colonists who carried over apple seeds and apple tree seedlings. The apple is a tricky fruit to grow as the characteristics of the mother plant do not necessary carry over to the fruit grown from its seed.

Still, Americans were creating–and writing about–apple pie from the early 18th century onwards. The phrase “as American as apple pie” actually comes from the World War II era where servicemen and women were instructed to answer reporters that they were fighting for “mom and apple pie.”

My cousin makes the best homemade apple pie that I’ve ever had, so I asked him for the recipe.  Here was his response:

I don’t really use a recipe. It’s green apples (sliced thin)mixed with a little bit of flour, butter (couple tablespoons), cinamon, and sugar to taste. The apples should be lightly coated. Put it in a pie crust. I usually use the pre-made refrigerated crust or just the basic pie crust recipie. I sometimes put a crumb topping of cinamon, sugar, flour, brown sugar, and butter. Or I lay sliced pieces of crust over the top. I use my moms Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for cook times and the crust recipe.

So, can you think of a food item that is American in origin? What is your country’s “national food?”

33 Responses to “GO! Eat the All American Apple Pie?”

  1. Jim says:

    A food that is USA is origin..honestly? Kentucky or Mc d’s second to pecan pie / apple pie for thanks giving…

    I used to love the Mexican Burritoes when I lived in SLO town Cal!

    • KFC and Mc’D the chains are US. Pecan pie from the French. Hamburger from Russia and Germany. Pecan pie long history, but definitely European in nature. Apple pie, as the post indicates is not American in origin.

      Potato Chips are American in origin. Burritos as they are made here are not the type they would make in Mexico. Fajitas are US in origin…wouldn’t find them in true Mexican Cities.
      .-= ClinicallyClueless´s last blog ..Inside =-.

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