National Pie Day

There are dozens upon dozens of varieties and flavors with fillings, toppings and crusts. From nuts, to fruits to custards… pies are creative and addictive.

National Pie Day is celebrated annually on January 23rd. National Pie Day, an unofficial national holiday, simply was created to celebrate the pie.  It is a day for all to bake or cook their favorite pies and share with family and friends.

In celebration of National Pie Day, you can have a bake off and pie eating contest as a gathering. Make a favorite and have some specialty coffees and teas available for the event.

 

History of Pie

The first pies appeared around 9500 BC in the Egyptian Neolithic period or New Stone Age.

Pie once offered cooks a practical way to bake and store all kinds of perishable ingredients. Meat, game, fish, fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices, along with more familiar fillings like berries, nuts, and custards, were mixed and matched in piecrusts that could be more than an inch thick. If fat was poured into a hole in the crust’s lid after baking, the contents could be preserved for months. Small, folded-over hand pies were given to travelers and field laborers, who kept them stashed safely in their pockets or rucksacks until mealtime—a messy-sounding practice, until you realize that the crusts were probably more like papier-mâché shells than the flaky delicacies we admire today.

 

Within the newcomers of the United States, flavors and styles of pies began to reflect the regional differences of the areas where they settled. Pumpkin pies and pies sweetened with maple syrup were enjoyed in northern states, where Native Americas taught new settlers how to extract sap from maple trees. In Maine, the plentiful blueberry crops were often baked into pies, and over time blueberry pie became the official dessert of that state.  “Chess pie” was popular in the South—a silky pie with a rich filling of sugar, cream or buttermilk, egg, and sometimes bourbon. The Pennsylvania Dutch made molasses “shoofly” pies, as well as stew-like savory meat pies known as “bott boi,” or pot pie. Settlers in Florida, utilizing the plentiful local citrus, turned native limes into key lime pie. The state of New Hampshire became known for its fried hand pies, quaintly called “crab lanterns.” The Midwest, famous for its dairy farms, favored cheese and cream pies. French immigrants to New Orleans created the pecan pie after the Native Americans introduced them to pecans. Massachusetts invented the beloved Boston Cream Pie, a hybrid pie-cake. This colorful variety of pies reflects the diverse tapestry of early American culture.

 

portland-food-photographer-01portland-food-photographer-02Photography: Kim Smith Miller

Source: Tori Avey and Oprah.com

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