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Pieology: the “Full-filling” History of Pies

Pieology: the “Full-filling” History of Pies

There is something about the pies- an absolutely delectable dish that provokes memories of childhood, and one cannot stop themselves from stating their opinion of what constitutes their favourite pie and how much they love them. Pies are indeed an eating pleasure and the variety they are available today is just overwhelming. Be it the mouth-watering traditional savoury meat pies or the sweet dessert pies.

The origin of pies

One just cannot stop thinking of the origin of a treasure like this. The history of the pies roots back in ancient Greece and Egypt. The Romans, however, were the first ones to bake a pie with a bottom and a top crust. The 2nd-century recipe for placenta may be one of the most ancient recipes for a dish that is, to date, everybody’s favourite- ‘closed pies’. Back then, it was made using a thick filling of honey and goat cheese with added layers of pastry dough with a top and a bottom crust. The increased popularity of tart or sweet pie has often been credited to the 16th-century folks of England. In fact, Elizabeth I was known to be extremely fond of cherry pie. It has also been discovered the upper class and the royalty, as a way to impress their guests, would order the cooks to create pies that contained living animals. Yes, you read that right.

“Live birds in a Pie”

The “Live birds in a Pie” recipe from the 1671 Accomplisht Cook is an example of such a recipe that contained not just live birds but frogs too. By the 17th century, tarts and sweet pie had become readily available and something that everybody wanted. Colonial America was also no stranger to baking pies. As the country grew, so did the access to the sweeteners such as honey, molasses, cane sugar, and, not to be forgotten, maple syrup. Early settlers made blueberry, quince, pear, apple and pumpkin pie. New England came to be known as the ‘pie-belt’ and truly so.

Pies- New England’s household staple

Pies became every New England households’ staple, and it was no more uncommon to serve pies for breakfast. As the country moved towards the West, new ingredients surfaced, and so did the regional specialities. The Northern states came to be known for pumpkin pies, the Midwest for its cheese and cream pies. The upper plains were inspired by the pies made of Swedish tart berries. The Southwest produced pies with nuts from the native walnut and the pecan trees. For Florida, the claim to fame became the key-lime pie, and for Kentucky, it was the chess pie. 

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