National Apple Pie Day
Apple pie is seen as being very American. Just how American? Well, there is not one but two National Apple Pie Days in a year. And it's almost a certainty you've heard the phrase "as American as apple pie." How ironic it is, then, that apple pies didn't even originate in the United States, nor did apples!
Apples came from Asia, and their seeds and cuttings were brought to the Americas by Europeans during colonial times. Prior to this, only crab apples were grown in the Americas. The first apples brought to the Western Hemisphere were tart and were used for making cider. It wasn't until around 1800 when apples better suited for pies—with a higher acidity and crispness—began being grown in the United States. It was also around this time that Johnny Appleseed began traveling the country and helping solidify the association of the apple with America.
The earliest record of the phrase "American as apple pie" dates to 1924, when it appeared in an advertisement in the Gettysburg Times. The association between apple pie and America became inextricable by World War II when American soldiers would tell journalists they were fighting for "mom and apple pie." This eventually led to the phrase "As American as mom and apple pie." It became a prevalent saying in the United States during the Postwar years.
The earliest known apple pie recipe was printed by Geoffrey Chaucer in England in 1381. It included apples, spices, raisins, figs, pears, and saffron in a pastry crust. A Dutch apple pie recipe was found that dates to 1514. Dutch apple pies usually have a lattice pastry top. French, German, and Italian apple pies all appeared in recipe books before American colonies had been settled. Many early apple pie recipes didn't include sugar, and some early pies were made in inedible containers called coffins. Today, apple pie usually has a bottom and top crust. It can be served hot or cold and can be topped with ice cream, custard, and whipped cream.
How to Observe
Celebrate National Apple Pie Day by making an apple pie from scratch or picking one up at a bakery. There are many recipes you could try. You could even do your best to make Chaucer's recipe from 1381, the earliest known apple pie recipe.