“As American As Apple Pie”
Posted on May 13, 2016
Write-Up & Photo by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
National Apple Pie Day, May 13, pays homage to a fruit-filled delight which is much more than the quintessential American dessert – apple pie it is a symbol of American culture and ideals. “As American as apple pie” is an expression which has been around for at least a century and a half since 1860, note on-line sources. During World War II , “mom” became part of the idiomatic phrase thanks to American soldiers who said they were fighting for “Mom and Apple Pie”. Eventually “the boy/girl next door” was added, rendering the popular articulation which remains relevant in this the 21st Century, “As American as Mom, apple pie and the boy next door”.
Look up the expression, in part or whole, to find plentiful definitions, speaking to it’s widespread use. Some definitions are as simple as “American in characteristic” or “considered very typical of the United States and the people of the U.S.” Popular examples are baseball and blue jeans.
Sweet, charming and “cute but doesn’t seem to know it” is a ‘boy next door’ explanation. Think Derek Hough.
When all is said and done, it seems when one is talking “apple pie” it’s about that which is wholesome yet spirited, reliable, and good to the core.
How did all begin?
As with the foundation of American history, apple pie in America began with the Pilgrims who brought apple seeds over on the Mayflower from England, according to historians. At the time, in England there were seventy apple varieties. Pies of a heartier sort, as well as, apple pie made with raisins, figs, pears, saffron and “good spices” quickly became staples in early America noted one food writer. They were easy to transport, sustaining to the stomach and crusts required less flour than bread so were less expensive to make.
Apple seeds were first planted in 1625 in the Massachusetts colony. By the late 1700s America had eclipsed England having cultivated some 14,000 varieties of apples. After sugar prices dropped say historians, fruit pies became increasingly abundant on American tables. Due to the travels of ‘Johnny Appleseed’ (John Chapman) apple seeds were spread across parts of the country.
“As America expanded west, the spread of apples was helped by John Chapman better known as Johnny Appleseed,” wrote historian Janet Clarkson. “He did not, as is popularly believed, simply scatter apple seeds wherever he went, but established small nurseries across tracts of land primarily in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.” Pioneers who followed in his footsteps, said Clarkson, dried and preserved apples for food, cider, brandy and applejack (alcohol distilled from cider).
Today, apple pie is a must on the most American of all holidays – Fourth of July Independence Day and Thanksgiving.