The expression, “As American as apple pie,” is a familiar one, but what exactly does it mean? The arrival of National Apple Pie Day — celebrated on May 13th — offers the perfect opportunity to look back at how apple pie and America became inextricably linked, along with the opportunity to celebrate the occasion with some delicious apple pie-inspired treats.
The History of “Pye”
Humans have been stuffing filling inside dough way back to the days of medieval England. However, these were far from the pies we know and love today. Because sugar was a rarity, these pieces were not sweet. Rather, they were typically savory meat pieces; hence the “four and 20 blackbirds,” of the child’s rhyme, “Sing a Song of Sixpence.”
And while apple pie may have become an American tradition, the original recipes date back to England in various incarnations, including unsweetened versions baked into inedible shells — called “coffins” — and other forms, according to Time magazine.
Apple Pies and America
By 1713, sugar was in greater supply in England, leading to William King’s poem, “Apple Pye.”
Of all the delicates which Britons try
To please the palate of delight the eye,
Of all the sev’ral kings of sumptuous far,
There is none that can with applepie compare.
Which brings us to America. Contrary to popular misconception, history reports there weren’t any modern-day versions of pies — pumpkin, apple pie or otherwise — at the country’s first Thanksgiving meal celebration. However, mention of different types of apple pie — including buttered and pudding varieties — did appear in a 1796 cookbook called “American Cookery.” And while hundreds of other variations on fruit pies were still to follow — including everything from cherry to citrus to banana cream — the one pie that consistently earns a top spot among American pie enthusiasts: apple.
Best Pies to Order Online
Sure, you could spend the day slaving away in the kitchen trying to replicate your great-grandmother’s famous apple pie, but why not give yourself a break — and a mouthwatering treat instead — by ordering up an apple pie (or two or three) from some of the country’s leading apple pie experts.
Known for its “Knock-Your-Socks-Off” NYC Pies, the award-winning Little Pie Company serves up several exceptional apple pie versions, including Old Fashioned Apple, No Sugar Added Apple, and the best-selling Sour Cream Apple Walnut. Or take a virtual cross-country journey to sample Napa Valley’s Sweetie Pies Bakery’s simple yet sensational Apple Pie.
Non-purists may enjoy putting a twist on the tradition with Classic Apple Pie Cups from Manhattan institution Hill Country Pie Kitchen. Marked “Grandma-approved,” these treats are everything an apple pie is meant to be. Even better? There’s no expectation that you’ll share thanks to their adorable single-serving size.
One tradition that is agreed upon to be distinctly American? Apple pie a la mode. So don’t forget to stock up on gourmet ice cream so you’ll have just the right dollop of creamy goodness on top.
Apple pie’s been around for a long time, and it’s not going away anytime soon thanks to the many fans who crave this tart, flaky, juicy treat. If you’re looking for an excuse to dig into apple pie deliciousness this May, National Apple Pie Day — and the amazing selection of mail order food gifts from FoodyDirect — offers a perfectly patriotic excuse to indulge.