The History of Pie

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The History of Pie

Caitlin Sklarz resides in Burlington, Vermont where she is attending the University of Vermont. She is currently finishing up Bachelors in Psychology and plans to go on for a degree in Nursing. Caitlin enjoys spending her free time with her boyfriend and dog, and taking walks in the beautiful Vermont woods.

Desserts They are the most popular food in America today; yet, desserts are relatively new to food world. Pastries, and pies in particular, are probably the oldest of all. Pies have been filled with numerous foods, from meats to sweets, and even live animals and people Want to know more? Keep reading and learn about pie-from over 10,000 years ago to today.

Pastry making goes as far back as the Neolithic Period. These round, flat cakes were first known as “galettes.” Our ancestors made these pie-like treats with oat, wheat, rye, and barley, then filled them with honey and baked the dish over hot coals (Montagne, 490).

The tradition of galettes was carried on by the Greeks. Yet, this ancient people ingeniously realized that the galette idea served as a perfect vehicle to cook raw meat. So, they created pies with the popular meats and fruits of the time. But, presumably from losing some teeth, the Greeks learned not to eat the hard, tough, pasty crust and merely use it as a pan.

This early Greek version of the pie was later adopted by the Romans upon conquering Greece. The pie idea was spread throughout the continent as the Roman Empire was created. The pies during this period were marked by a flour-water paste wrapped around meat; this dually served to cook the meat and seal in the juices. In fact, the Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato recorded his era’s most popular pie, “placenta” (De l’agricultura, 9). Well, now that we're all nauseous, at least we now know that pies were consumed in the 2nd century B.C.

By the Medieval Period pies, then recorded as “pyes,” reached the height of their popularity in the royal courts. 12th century English courts used the whole foul in the pie and hung the legs over the sides of the crust as handles. Though this idea is no doubt unique, many vegetarians today would be very disturbed! Similarly, the French used pyes in their banquets and added a neat twist of their own; all royalty were invited to this event where they were entertained by magicians, jugglers, musicians, and dancers.

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