“We love our baseball and apple pie,
We love our county fair
We’ll keep Old Glory waving high
There’s no place here for a bear”
There are few things as American as apple pie: the simple dessert, traditionally served at Thanksgiving, is widely regarded as an iconic national dish. However, the phrase “as American as apple pie” is simply false, as one of the most popular foods in American culture is, in fact, not very American at all.
Before settlers came to America, apple pie was a common dish in England. The first documented Apple pie recipe dates to the time of Chaucer, around 1381, and lists the ingredients as “good apples, good spices, figs, raisins, and pears.” There are Dutch variations of the apple pie recipe dating to the Middle Ages.
So, when the British and Dutch colonies headed to the “New World” they brought the recipe of the mouthwatering dish with them.
Today, the United States is the second largest apple producer in the world. However, back when European settlers first arrived, there were no native apples in the New World. While waiting for the planting of European varieties brought across Atlantic, the pie hungry colonists improvised and used meat rather than fruit.
When the apples did grow on American soil, they became a staple breakfast. In addition to apple pie, the settlers used apples for making cider. The first American apple pie recipe can be found in 18th-century manuscripts, and has since become a symbol of American prosperity and national pride.
Apple pie has been used as a symbol of patriotism on many occasions throughout American history. During the Second World War, whenever journalists asked soldiers why they were going to war, they would answer “for Mom and apple pie.”