Pie Customs Around The Country
By Mary Emma Allen
As I study recipes and travel the country I find
various customs involving pies...the types made and the times they're
served. For instance, there is Pecan Pie in the South, Key Lime Pie in
Florida, Strawberry Pie in season, Mock Apple Pie when you can't acquire
apples, Vinegar Pie a pioneer hand down in the Mid West.
However, in New England, I've found pie for
"Pie for breakfast!" people have exclaimed when
I've mentioned this in other parts of the country. Not that this is a
regular occurrence for us, but pie, especially apple, is an old New
Farmers in "olden days" worked several hours before
breakfast, so they were ready for a hearty meal when they came into the
house. Apple is the one I've come upon in my research that's mentioned
most frequently as breakfast pie. However, I'm sure other types were
It's said, when Ralph Waldo Emerson was questioned
about the New England habit of pie for breakfast, he responded, "What is
Types of Pies
Pie, according to definition, is a baked food
composed of a pastry shell filled with fruit and usually topped with a
pastry crust. You also can have a filling of meat, cheese, eggs or other
Main dish pies consist of meat and vegetables, with
quiche a variation on this. The English have long favored meat pies and
refer to dessert fruit pies as tarts. The pie baking custom, both main
dish and dessert type, was brought to this country by the colonists.
This food has found its way into our culture in pie
eating contests, pie baking contests, pie tastings, and pie breakfasts.
I recently heard of a neighborhood tradition of an "after Thanksgiving"
pie breakfast, but you can institute it at other times as well.
For this, one invites neighbors, family and friends
to breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving Day (or other holiday) for
an enjoyable time of conversation, pie, pastries, and perhaps an egg
type casserole, along with orange juice, coffee and tea. This also may
be a way to use up leftover pies from holiday dinner. Each person can
contribute something for the breakfast, sort of potluck st ye.
If morning isn't a convenient time, why not
organize this as an afternoon affair? It could be a tea and pie social
or open house when family members, who didn't attend your holiday
dinner, can stop by and visit.
Or plan a luncheon, with everyone bringing pie and
some other potluck type of dish. There are many variations to this as a
fun time...throughout the holiday season.
Key Lime Mango with a Choclate Graham Cracker
Photo credit Kathleen Walls
Even though apple pie is a traditional one
for New England, whether eaten for breakfast or other times of the day,
there are so many other varieties. My husband enjoys chocolate pie
(deep, dark chocolate) along with apple. Strawberry rhubarb in season is
another one favored, as well as his mom's recipe for strawberry pie.
Refreshments, after I taught a class in "Writing
Your Family Stories" at a friend's home recently, consisted of lemon
meringue pie. This was just as I liked it, with a tangy lemon filling,
not a bland oversweet one.
Jim's Favorite Chocolate Pie...Chocolate
lovers would enjoy this for breakfast!
Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 2 3/4 tablespoons
cornstarch, 1/4 cup cocoa (dark chocolate powder for cocoa), 1/8
teaspoon salt. Add a little from the 2 cups milk and stir mixture until
smooth. Then add remaining milk gradually.
Cook in a double boiler or microwave until thick
and smooth, stirring frequently while cooking. When thick, beat with an
egg beater or wire whip for two minutes; then stir in 1/2 teaspoon
vanilla. Pour into an 8-inch baked crust. Serve with whipped cream.
(c)2012Mary Emma Allen
(Mary Emma researches and writes from her NH home.
She writes for children and adults and enjoys teaching workshops on
"Writing Your Family Stories." E-mail: