“American as apple pie”—this phrase has been woven into the fabric of the United States’ culture, symbolizing wholesomeness, simplicity, and tradition. But how did this humble dessert become an icon of American identity? Let’s take a look.
Contrary to popular belief, apple pie isn’t originally an American creation. Its history traces back to Europe. The first recorded apple pie recipe was written in England in 1381. This medieval version was significantly different from today’s pies. It included ingredients like figs, raisins, pears, and saffron, and lacked a sugar sweetener.
Apples, the core ingredient of the pie, are also not native to America. They were brought over by European colonists in the 17th century. But as apple cultivation flourished, so did the popularity of apple pie. By the 18th century, recipes began to resemble the modern apple pie.
Symbolism in American Culture
By the 19th and 20th centuries, apple pie became associated with home, comfort, and national pride. During World War II, the phrase “as American as apple pie” was popularized when soldiers often answered “for mom and apple pie” when asked why they were going to war. This cemented the dessert’s status as a symbol of America. So there you have it!