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Q: what is the history of pie
A: The history of pie is rich in flavor. Pies have been around for thousands of years, we know this, since the ancient Egyptians kept records of their practices and pie is included there, along with all the mysteries and charm of those long ago days. [ The Egyptians would fill their pies with such ingredients as honey, fruit and nuts. The visitors to Egypt learned as many of their secrets as
possible. The ancient Greeks liked the idea of pie and took the recipes home with them, then surrendered the recipes to the Romans, who thought so much of pie as to make offerings of pie to their deities. Since then the rich history of pie has grown while traveling to many different lands, many people enjoy pie. Did you know that pie was originally a simple cooking and serving container fashioned of dough for containing and cooking the enclosed ingredient as well as their juices? When a pie had a crust, it was at that time known as a coffin, although pies with no crust were at that time known as traps. Large, short-sided pies are tarts and very small pies are tartlets. When someone made a pie of some type of bird, he or she would leave the legs of the bird outside the edge of the pie and used the legs for handles. Pies at that time had a very hard crust and were very often to hard to be eaten, since the crust of the pie was used mainly for baking the pie as there were no pie pans back then. Think primitive pottery here, at times it was also known as bulletproof dough. Because of this quality, between the 13th and 16th centuries, many pies held live birds, frogs and other small creatures, even dwarfs and sometimes a small orchestra. These were contained inside the pie to emerge to enliven royal feasts with entertainment. Pies made their way to England and soon showed up in America with the first colonial settlers, them bringing along cottage and shepherds pie. From the American natives, the pilgrims learned the many healthy fruits and berries. Women at that time conserved their rations by making round pies and shallow pies. During the 1700s, pie first saw one of its best celebrating moments while gaining popularity in many homes, picnics and fairs. Many people have enjoyed pie eating contests or pie throwing games. ]
Expert answered|phobicism|Points 1442|
Asked 6/4/2010 1:56:21 AM
Updated 6/4/2010 1:18:13 PM
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Pie--the filling and baking of sweet (fruits, nuts, cheese) or savory (meat, fish, eggs, cheese) ingredients and spices in casings composed of flour, fat, and water is an ancient practice. The basic concept of pies and tarts has changed little throughout the ages. Cooking methods (baked or fried in ancient hearths, portable colonial/pioneer Dutch ovens, modern ovens), pastry composition (flat bread, flour/fat/water crusts, puff paste, milles feuilles), and cultural preference (pita, pizza, quiche, shepherd's, lemon meringue, classic apple, chocolate pudding?) All figure prominently into the complicated history of this particular genre of food.

The first pies were very simple and generally of the savory (meat and cheese) kind. Flaky pastry fruit-filled turnovers appeared in the early 19th century. Some pie-type foods are made for individual consumption. These portable pies... pasties, turnovers, empanadas, pierogi, calzones...were enjoyed by working classes and sold by street vendors. Pie variations (cobblers, slumps, grunts, etc.) are endless!

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first use of the word "pie" as it relates to food to 1303, noting the word was well-known and popular by 1362.

"Pie...a word whose meaning has evolved in the course of many centuries and which varies to some extent according to the country or even to region....The derivation of the word may be from magpie, shortened to pie. The explanation offered in favour or this is that the magpie collects a variety of things, and that it was an essential feature of early pies that they contained a variety of ingredients....Early pies were large; but one can now apply the name to something small, as the small pork pies or mutton pies...Early pies had pastry tops, but modern pies may have a topping of something else...or even be topless. If the basic concept of a pie is taken to mean a mixture of ingredients encased and cooked in pastry, then proto-pies were made in the classical world and pies certainly figured in early Arab cookery."
---The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] (p. 602-3)

American pies

"As a favored dish of the English, pies were baked in America as soon as the early settlers set up housekeeping on dry land. Beyond mere preference, howevers, there was a practical reason for making pies, especially in the harsh and primitive conditions endured by the first colonists. A piecrust used less flour than bread and did not require anything as complicated as a brick oven for baking. More important, though, was how pies could stretch even the most meager provisions into sustaining a few more hungry mouths...No one, least of all the early settlers, would probably proclaim their early pies as masterpieces of culinary delight. The crusts were often heavy, composed of some form of rough flour mixed with suet."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004 (p. 272)
Added 6/4/2010 1:18:13 PM
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