Is Apple Pie American?

Apple pie is often considered by many Americans to be an American dessert. The dessert is somewhat of an unofficial symbol of the U.S., and is also the most popular pie in the United States. Americans even have a saying, “American as apple pie”. As much as Americans indulge in apple pie each and every thanksgiving, apple pie isn’t an American de.

For one, the first apple pie recipe was created in the year 1381 in England.  The Americas wouldn’t be colonized by Europeans until over a century later, or even discovered by those colonizing nations until over a century later either, which would give the apple pie to gain a foot in England. Those apple pies were different from today’s apple pies, mainly because there wasn’t any sugar in the pie, since sugar was extremely expensive at the time. The closest resemblance to modern apple pie was a Dutch recipe from 1514, which was almost identical to modern apple pies. Apple pie hadn’t been brought to America until the 17th and 18th centuries, which is at least 84 years difference between when the Dutch made apple pie and when the pie was brought to America, again, plenty of time to gain a foothold in the Netherlands. The Swedes also made apple pie, but the pie was more crumbly in texture than its counterparts. All versions had been brought to America since all three of those nations had colonized America some point in history, generally until the early 18th century, when England, or Britain since the unification in 1707, controlled the area known as the thirteen colonies. Regardless, apple pie was not invented in America.

Another point to mention is that domesticated apples aren’t native to North America, or even Europe for that matter. Apples are native to what is now Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The only type of apple native to North America is the crabapple, or crab apple. Crab apples aren’t usually eaten by Americans, and aren’t domesticated either. The apple seeds had to be taken from Europe, where apple trees were a common sight, and brought to America to be planted. European honeybees had to be transported to America as well so the apples would produce enough. Domesticated apples weren’t taken to America until the 17th century, which not only means apple pie was invented over three centuries earlier, but also means that Native Americans couldn’t have made apple pie except by using crab apples, which would have made the pie taste completely different from apple pies made in Europe.

A suitable choice for the “most American” dessert would be the cobbler. Cobblers were developed in America during the 18th century as a substitute for the British suet puddings, since the colonists didn’t have the right ingredients or tools to make them. In the colonies, the colonists often improvised when certain materials or tools weren’t available. Initially, cobblers were served at any meal of the day, but over time became festive desserts, especially in the American south. Cobblers, unlike apple pie, were created in America. The closest resemblance between suet puddings and cobblers are the slump, grunts, and pandowdy, all three cooked somewhat similar as if they were dumplings. Suet puddings are English puddings steamed or boiled. The pudding often contains beef fat, or suet, raisins, spices, bread crumbs and flour. Those are only one type of cobbler, and in the south cobblers are more like deep dish pies, which don’t bear much of a resemblance to the suet puddings of England. Apple pie wasn’t even made in America to begin with, unlike cobblers, which were made in America. In addition, cobblers didn’t have to use a specific fruit, sometimes colonists would pick wild berries that grew, such as cranberries, which are native to the northeastern United States, and use them for filling. Until prohibition, apples were mainly grown for hard cider, and cobblers were already festive desserts when prohibition was enforced, so American consumption of apple pie was more limited. Also, the saying, “American as apple pie” wasn’t even coined until after world war two, when apple pie started to become prominent in American society, and cobblers had already been popular dessert items for a while before then.

In conclusion, apple pie is not an American dessert, but rather a popular European dessert that happened to become popular in America as well. Apple pie was not created in America but in England over a hundred years before Europeans began colonizing America. Even Dutch apple pies weren’t brought to America at least 84 years after they were created, meaning that those apple pies would have gained at least a small foot in the Netherlands before being brought to America. In addition, domesticated apples aren’t native to America or Europe, but instead are native to central Asia, which includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and were brought to America by Europeans, which practically eliminates the possibility of Native Americans creating apple pie, since apple seeds had to be transported to America, and that hadn’t been done until the 17th century, almost three centuries after the English invented apple pie. Cobblers are an American dessert on the other hand, since not only were they made in America, but the differences between suet puddings and cobblers are notable, especially cobblers made by southern tradition, which look completely different from suet puddings. Cobblers can, and were made with wild berries, such as cranberries, that are native to North America, as well as any type of fruit filling. The final verdict; apple pie isn’t an American dessert.