Friday, November 13, 2009

The history of pie...did it fall from the sky?

I was curious about the origin of pie...I mean come you really believe it fell from the sky? I think it is cool to see where the original ideas for food came from. I guess the cave men could have invented pie, I mean they did invent fire and the wheel, so I wouldn't put it past them to invent pie. I did some googling and came up with the following which is a paraphrasing of this article:

Guess what?
The first pies were called "coffins" or "coffyns". Isn't that ironic that pie season starts with the holiday of the dead in October...coincidence I think not. These pies were filled with savory meat and their crusts were tall, straight-sided and with sealed-on floors and lids. Open-crust pastry were known as "traps." Now in days this is referred to as a single crust pie. These meat pies had the crust itself as the pan, and it was tough and inedible. Man, were they missing out, I think the crust is the best part! The purpose of a pastry shell was mainly to serve as a storage container and serving vessel, and these are often too hard to actually eat. A small pie was known as a tartlet and a tart was a large, shallow open pie (this is still the definition in England).

Here is a recipe for how to make pie from back when your grandparents weren't even close to being born...

To Make Short Paest for Tarte - Take fyne floure and a cursey of fayre water and a dysche of swete butter and a lyttel saffron, and the yolckes of two egges and make it thynne and as tender as ye maye. (year 1545)

Say what?

Historians have recorded that the roots of pie can loosely be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. The bakers to the pharaohs incorporated nuts, honey, and fruits in bread dough, a primitive form of pastry. However, Historians believe that the Greeks actually originated pie pastry. The pies during this period were made by a flour-water paste wrapped around meat; this served to cook the meat and seal in the juices.

Nice marketing skills Mr. Cato, its all about the name, hello...

The Roman statesman, Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 B.C.), also know as Cato the Elder, wrote a treatise on agriculture called De Agricultura. He loved delicacies and recorded a recipe for his era's most popular pie/cake called Placenta. They were also called libum by the Romans, and were primarily used as an offering to their gods. Placenta was more like a cheesecake, baked on a pastry base, or sometimes inside a pastry case.

And I thought Mincemeat was sick...

13th Century recipe for pie: Tortoise or Mullet Pie - Simmer the tortoises lightly in water with salt, then remove from the water and take a little murri, pepper, cinnamon, a little oil, onion juice, cilantro and a little saffron; beat it all with eggs and arrange the tortoises and the mullets in the pie and throw over it the filling. The pastry for the pie should be kneaded strongly, and kneaded with some pepper and oil, and greased, when it is done, with the eggs and saffron.

...what is a mullet and a murri you ask? A mullet is a boney fish with a stout body...and a murri is a thick saltly soy sauce like sauce used to flavor dishes.

This is funny...

1626 - Jeffrey Hudson (1619-1682), famous 17th century dwarf, was served up in a cold pie as a child. England's King Charles I (1600-1649) and 15-year old Queen Henrietta Maria (1609–1669) had a party and at the dinner, an enormous crust-covered pie was brought before the royal couple. Before the Queen could cut into the pie, the crust began to rise and from the pie emerged a tiny man, perfectly proportioned boy, but only 18 inches tall named Jeffrey Hudson. Hudson, seven years old the smallest human being that anyone had ever seen, was dressed in a suit of miniature armor climbed out of a gilded pastry pie stood shyly on the table in front of the Queen and bowed low. Hudson was later dubbed Lord Minimus.

I think I might try this one this year...

RECIPE FOR NEW ENGLISH PIE - To make this excellent breakfast dish, proceed as follows: Take a sufficiency of water and a sufficiency of flour, and construct a bullet-proof dough. Work this into the form of a disk, with the edges turned up some three-fourths of an inch. Toughen and kiln-dry in a couple days in a mild but unvarying temperature. Construct a cover for this redoubt in the same way and of the same material. Fill with stewed dried apples; aggravate with cloves, lemon-peel, and slabs of citron; add two portions of New Orleans sugars, then solder on the lid and set in a safe place till it petrifies. Serve cold at breakfast and invite your enemy.

TaDa...the abridged version of pie History!

FYI-I plan on making pie this weekend, I also plan on posting a pie recipe...but as we all know the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray...good thing I'm not a mouse or a man : )

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