Thanksgiving is right around the corner and there is one dish that can always be found at the feasting table: pie. Pies are versatile and date back to the Ancient Egyptians. But they weren’t always just sweet treats.
The earliest roots of pie have been traced back to 6000 BC. Some of these first pies were also called “coffins” which used inedible tough pastry, meant to be used as a sort of container to cook its contents. The Ancient Egyptians made an early form of the pie, called a galette, which was a baked free-formed pie, made with oat, wheat, rye, and barley, and filled with honey, nuts, and/or fruit.
These traditional galettes were then passed on to the Greeks, who are thought to be the originators of the pie pastry. With their developed flour-water paste, they believed that it helped cook their meat and keep its juices sealed in. Upon conquering the Greeks, the Romans took their own spin on these meat pies and incorporated it into their meals.
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Pies spread throughout Europe thanks to the Romans and were customized and adapted by the many countries that received its idea. These early pies were predominantly made with various types of meats and appeared in England by the 12th century, eventually making its way to America with the Pilgrims as they settled on Plymouth Rock and celebrated the first Thanksgiving.
This would eventually lead to the development of pumpkin pie.
The Native American tribes grew a variety of crops, including pumpkins. As gifts to the Pilgrims, the Native Americans gave pumpkins to them after a harsh winter wiped out half of the settlers. About half a century later, the concept of the pumpkin pie started to become more popular, appearing in various chefs’ cookbooks, starting in France with Francois Pierre la Varenne’s, “Le Vrai Cuisinier Francois,”in the 1650s, then in England in the 1670s, and then in an American cookbook in the 1790s with Amelia Simmons’s, “American Cookery.”
Nowadays, pies come in all different shapes and flavors. People have become more creative with its ingredients and presentation throughout the years. Not only has pumpkin pie become part of a Thanksgiving feast, but apple, sweet potato, and many more are among the many options.
What’s your favorite kind of pie?
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