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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

National Pie Day

Jan. 23 is National Pie Day.

According to the American Pie Council, NPD is the perfect time to pass on the love and enjoyment of pie making and pie eating.

And in celebration of this wonderful day of pastry, here is a whirlwind history lesson of the pie.

Cleopatra ate pie — it’s been around since the ancient Egyptians. According to the Pie Council, the first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a "rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie."

Pyes (pies) appeared in England as early as the 12th century. Sadly, back then there was actually more crust than filling, so pies were probably pretty dry. Often these pies were made using fresh fowl and "the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles." Fruit pies thankfully came around in the 1500s. Queen Elizabeth I is given credit for the first cherry pie.

The first English settlers brought pie to America. At first, the Americans ate only the filling and left the piecrusts for the birds, but soon they discovered what heaven a mouthful could be when pastry and sweetness were combined.

The pie has come a long way since its days of goat cheese and fowl. The council calls it "the most traditional American dessert." Pie is so popular that its name has become a cultural icon in songs, movies, and similes (these days, anything sweet, hot or sexy is like apple pie).

If you are stuck on ways to celebrate NPD, the Pie Council has a whole list of things to do with pie (Ex: Hand out pie slices to strangers and encourage them to do the same for others to spread the peace on earth and goodwill to mankind that we all hope for). We recommend eating one of these locally made pies in celebration:

The Australian Bakery Cafe in East Atlanta Village makes a fantastic selection of Australian meat pies.

The Blue Eyed Daisy at Serenbe makes some great traditional Southern pies.

Southern Sweets Bakery makes apple, coconut cream, cherry and key lime pies.

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