The History of Pie | HistoryNet

My favourite three-letter phrase within the English language? P-I-E. However although it’s one of many first phrases you study as a baby — and one of many easiest and shortest phrases in English — the pie has been round since earlier than the existence of both america of America or the nation of England. Pies are even older than the English language.

The origins of pie date again to the early Egyptian tradition. Their pie had a honey filling encased in a crusty cake constituted of barley, oats, rye or wheat. One Egyptian pill created earlier than 2000 B.C. offered a recipe for rooster pie. Each sound fairly scrumptious, and it exhibits the nation appreciated each candy and savory pies. The traditional Greeks bought in on the pie enterprise across the fifth century B.C. The pie pastry is talked about within the performs of Aristophanes, and heeven suggests there was a vocation of pastry chef, completely separate from a baker.  


It was the Roman Empire that expanded on the masking of pies. They made a pastry of flour, oil and water to cowl up their meat of selection, but it surely initially was not meant to be consumed with the savory inside — it was strictly added to protect the juices. “Apicius,” a Roman cookbook although to have been written anyplace from the primary century A.D. to the fifth century A.D., has many recipes that embrace a pie casing. The intelligent Romans even developed a cheesecake referred to as “placenta,” which had a pastry base. Due to their growth of roadways, Roman concoctions traveled throughout Europe with a vibrant commerce system. So the world of pies expanded throughout the continent.  


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Nonetheless, it was Nice Britain that vaulted pies to a better stage. Definitions of pie from the 1300s clearly said it was both meat or fish lined in a pastry. Just like the Romans, these coverings had been meant to include the savory meals inside as a substitute of being eaten with it. The pastry topping additionally served to protect the meat or fish inside on lengthy voyages overseas and as an area saver for ships with restricted storage. This eradicated the necessity to convey alongside a cook dinner and the stay animals it could take to create the pies.  

The one knock on British pies was the terminology related to them. The phrase pie was spelled “pye,” which wasn’t so dangerous, however the pastry masking was referred to as a “coffyn,” extra steadily spelled right this moment as “coffin.” Many pie coverings had been really an oblong form, thus justifying the moniker. Nonetheless, this was positively a time period you didn’t need to affiliate with such a scrumptious deal with, however extra on that later. One dangerous behavior when serving fowl in a pastry was to depart the chicken’s legs hanging exterior of the masking to make it simpler to choose up. This technique was actually a crude presentation not appropriate for contemporary sensibilities.  

In the course of the period of knights in armor and damsels in England, pies grew to become a spotlight at opulent banquets. It grew to become vogue to take away the masking to showcase the interior delicacies. (Aside from instances like Arya Stark’s revenge pie in “Recreation of Thrones”). The frilly pies included on this interval had been generally outlandish. Think about an enormous pie that contained musicians or jesters. There have been few limits to the lengths these medieval folks would discover. But when you consider it, right this moment’s stunts contain generally placing an individual inside a big cake for birthdays and different occasions — even British nursery rhymes talked about “4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie.” Some thought this only a tall story, however royalty and aristocracy actually would try and impress their friends by creating pies with stay animals inside.  

Geoffrey Chaucer branched out to pastries with fruit contained inside. He printed a recipe for apple pie lengthy earlier than it grew to become synonymous with mothers showcasing the wholesomeness of conventional American values. Along with the apples, substances included figs, pears and raisins however didn’t include any sugar. (Seems like a wholesome model of pie right this moment, utilizing the pure sweeteners inside the fruits.)  

A letter exists from a baker to Jane Seymour, third spouse of Henry VIII stating, “… hope this pasty reaches you in higher situation to the final one …” exhibiting royalty continued to indulge within the delicacies.  


In the course of the 1500s, England created a brand new kind of pie particularly for Queen Elizabeth I. The very first documented cherry pie was made particularly for the queen. No point out of her response to the style is recorded, however pastries continued to be a staple in England. When pie costs grew to become too inflated for many commoners, King Richard II issued an ordinance limiting the ceiling on the associated fee inside London’s metropolis limits.   

Through the years, Nice Britain continued to develop many sorts of pies. In Scotland, they’ve a Scotch pie (or mutton pie). As with pies with steak or kidney fillings, mutton pie is usually seasoned with copious quantities of pepper. Typically the within of the pie will even embrace potatoes, eggs, baked beans or gravy to enrich the meat.  

Even the British miners developed their very own model of pies that catered to their environment underground referred to as Cornish pasties. These had been full of beef or venison, potatoes and rutabagas or generally simply fruit. Like in earlier days, these pasties would final an entire week, being rolled up in a paste made from flour and lard. As soon as baked, the hardened crust created a seal for the meals inside. They had been additionally simply tucked right into a miner’s pocket till wanted. 


So when did pie first journey to what would turn into the unique 13 colonies? It could sound cliché however the first pies arrived on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims at Cape Cod in 1620. (Keep in mind the pies made for lengthy ship voyages?) Sadly, the primary Thanksgiving didn’t point out any pie being consumed.  

Tastier pies had been on the horizon, as colonial America contained such sweeteners as maple syrup, cane syrup, molasses and honey collected from imported English bees. The very first American cookbook, dated 1796, contained a recipe for “Pompkin Pudding,” which was baked in a crust. Kinds of the principal substances included pumpkins, blueberries, pear, apple and quince. The recognition of pies alongside the East Coast grew, and because the nation expanded west, pies went alongside for the experience. The fillings of the pies grew, as effectively, on the westward trek with cream, custard, lemons, coconuts, blackberries, strawberries and lots of extra.  


When the American Civil Warfare erupted in 1861, pies had been consumed throughout each side of the Mason-Dixon Line. And some residents used folks’s common love of pie to wage the warfare.  

On Sept. 12, 1861, a “free coloured lady” named Mrs. Welton was arrested for promoting poisoned pies to Union troopers on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri. Pittsburgh was a hotbed of poison pie incidents, as effectively. A resident, Mrs. Nevins, managed to dispatch her husband, a retuning soldier, through a poisoned pie. She joined one other Pittsburgh lady named Grinder in garnering a sentence of loss of life.  

Arsenic and strychnine had been the precept culprits put into lethal pies. Nonetheless, ladies within the South branched out with such death-dealing pie substances as floor glass and diamond mud gathered from a jeweler’s flooring.  

Members of the 52nd Massachusetts Infantry stationed in Louisiana had been specific targets of feminine Southerners. After the reoccupation of Baton Rouge in late December 1862, this Yankee unit by accident burned down the state capitol constructing. That, mixed with the haughty attitudes of the Northerners, compelled the native girls to realize a little bit of revenge on the invaders. One Bay State soldier had earlier been writing dwelling about how a lot he missed his mom’s custard pie. By February, 1863, he wrote dwelling that his “captain had forbidden them to purchase any pies from these Insurgent ladies.” A comrade had “purchased one yesterday however was useless right this moment.”  

Even the aged bought in on the pie motion. A grandmother in Plaquemine, Louisiana, throughout the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, had come dwelling to seek out her 12-year-old grandson murdered by the occupying Federals for making rifle cartridges at dwelling. She set about to struggle again the one method she knew how, which was to incorporate some floor glass into pies she bought to troopers on the streets in Baton Rouge. 

Not all lethal pies had been intentional: Accidents induced a few of the folks to go away from consuming pies. On Dec. 1, 1864, a Minnesota newspaper lamented the poisoning of seven enlisted males from consuming a cracker pie. Happily, nobody died, and it was found “arsenic had been utilized by mistake for tartaric acid.” Saleratus, the precursor to baking powder, contained some harmful properties and when not blended proper was deadly. 


A much less stomach-churning controversy over pies arose again in Boston within the mid-1800s. At the moment, there aren’t many individuals in america who haven’t heard of the well-known Boston cream pie. However every time somebody thinks they’ve proof of its true origin, one other file is discovered to refute the precise yr the favored pie was first made.  

Native legend has the pie being created in 1856. Claims have it being served for the grand opening of Boston’s Parker Home. Nonetheless, many can’t or is not going to clarify the existence of the Dedham Cream Pie. Printed recipes of the tasty Dedham, Massachusetts, pie come out across the identical time, and one recipe for it was printed within the metropolis of Boston. The particular person documenting the Dedham dessert was a feminine doctor and nurse.         


Finally, the pie made its option to the Americas through completely different European cultures. As an illustration, the Spanish introduced over their model of the pie, the empanada. The title actually interprets into “enbreaded” or “wrapped in bread.” These treats had been variously full of meat, cheese, tomatoes or corn, amongst different meals. As soon as they crossed the ocean to North and South America, many empanadas had been baked however topic to being fried as effectively.  

Like a pastry, the dough is solely folded over the substances inside. The contents and shapes could fluctuate depending on the place they’re situated, however the precept is similar. One metropolis in Louisiana embraced these savory treats, dubbing them “Natchitoches meat pies.” They’re served in eating places and even at comfort shops proper off the I-49 exit and are available gentle or spicy beef or full of crawfish. Don’t despair in case you stay far-off, as they’re even frozen and despatched throughout america boxed up.  

The Italians adopted go well with with an exquisite rendition of a savory pie referred to as a calzone. It’s nearly like a pizza folded over, and is widespread throughout the U.S. 


Within the early 1900s, pies went from being utilized in warfare to being the main focus of a warfare in opposition to them. Because the nation launched into a nationwide well being motion, pie grew to become the main focus of a smear marketing campaign. Women Residence Journal printed two articles condemning the favored dessert, with the creator, Sarah Tyson Rorer, stating: “The within of a pie is injurious [and] pies and truffles ae indigestible.”  

Because the Nineteen Fifties, although, pie has returned to being the phenomenon it deserves to be handled as. The vary of fillings has solely elevated over time, together with Key lime, potato chips and Oreos. So the following time you dig right into a pie of any taste, take into consideration the lengthy journey it took over centuries, oceans and continents to get to you.

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