The Amazing History of Apple Pie
The history of apple pie is more complex than you might expect. While many people seem to think that apple pie is an emblem of America, it actually has some surprisingly non-American origins. This is despite the fact that Americans love to eat this particular pie for all sorts of patriotic holidays such as Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July.
Originally, the history of apple pie began in England. And from England, the recipe likely came from France or the Netherlands. Whatever the case, the origins of apple pie are exceedingly European. Keep in mind that even if Native Americans knew about apple pie beforehand, they wouldn’t have been able to make it because apple trees didn’t exist in North America yet. Apple trees would only start growing in America once the seeds and saplings were brought over by the Europeans.
In America, crab apples existed in great quantities, but these apples were small, green, and very bitter. They certainly would have not made great apple pies. Most of the other ingredients needed for an apple pie also came from countries other than America. Cinnamon came from Asia, butter was a European invention, and the pastry craft originated in Arabia and France.
The English and the Dutch were the first to make apple pies in the way we are familiar with today. The modern apple pie likely came about in England in the 14th century. Before that, most pies were savory and contained meat. Eventually, people found that fruit pies were not only filling, but delicious as well. For that reason, it’s unsurprising that people brought the recipe with them as they ventured to America.
American Cookery by Amelia Simmons is considered America’s first cookbook. It was published in 1796 and it included two recipes for apple pie. Since that period, apple pie remained quite popular, perhaps because it was so affordable and easy to make. It was of particular popularity during the Civil War. Both Confederate and Union soldiers enjoyed searching around for apples so they could later cook them into apple pies.
However, it was during the early 1900s that apple pie really began to be associated with America. This occurred due to a series of advertisements praising and promoting the strength and prosperity of the American people along with their healthy appetite for apple pies. This may seem like a strange connection, but it seemed to work. In the 1930s, Oregon and New York even got into an argument over which state produced the best apples for apple pies.
Throughout the Second World War, the popularity of this pie continued. After the war, it also became a symbol of love since women would often bake this pie for their husbands and children. Apple pie has persisted ever since and today, it still remains a dessert staple in not only the United States but in other parts of the world as well.