The Original Purpose of Pie

The Original Purpose of Pie

You wouldn’t have wanted to eat an ancient Roman pie

Everyone loves pie right? Anyone who says they don’t clearly hasn’t been looking very hard to find their perfect slice. With a flaky, buttery crust and the practically countless fillings that can be used —from all-American apple pie to pecan, blueberry, banana cream, shoofly, and mud to equally delicious savory options like beef curry, green tomato, and the oh-so-British pork pie — there is really and truly an option for everyone.

Pies tend to be thought of as traditional, something Grandmother makes best. But pie as we know it is a fairly modern the original iteration of pie was pretty far removed from the light, crumbly pastry we have come to know and love.

The first pies are thought to have been made by the ancient Greeks, who made pie shells and crusts by combining water and flour. The Romans are credited with spreading the word of pie across Europe, introducing conquered territories to predominantly savory pies that consisted of different meats, spices, or dried fruit wrapped in tough pastry.

It is precisely the hard-as-nails shells used by the ancients that predominantly separate modern pies from those of yore — ancient shells were actually never eaten. That was not their purpose; instead the pie shell was simply a way of protecting whatever delicious filling was contained within.

Pies came to America with the very first English settlers, who of course brought with them the original recipe for apple pie — which was not like the all-American version we know today. Instead, it was made with unsweetened apples baked in that archaic inedible shell.

Though the pie recipes of yesteryear might not have you craving a slice, never fear — the times (and the pies) have changed, so check out where to find America’s best apple pies (some of which can be shipped anywhere in the country) and enjoy a scrumptious slice of pie!

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