Today is National Pie Day, and to be honest, we were caught a little off guard. The chart we have been following indicated it was Rhubarb Pie Day, which made little sense given that rhubarb won’t be in season for another few months yet…but then again, not all of these holidays make sense. We were able to find a cheap strawberry-rhubarb pie in the grocery store, and that would have sufficed, but then a friend pointed out that it was actually Pie Day – no specific ingredient – and that changed everything. Especially since there is a Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day in June. Given the choice, Tara and I would prefer a different pie, maybe a cream version. We got our wish – more on that in a sec.
Pies have been around since about 9500 B.C., and were created as a means of transporting foods over long distances, such as ocean voyages. Ship manifests used to include a butcher or cook and live animals, but this proved to be uneconomical and a waste of cargo space (have you seen how much head room a giraffe needs?!). So when flour was created and baking invented, pies proved to be an easy, nutritious, and long-lasting food to bring along on a journey. The first published recipe was for a goat cheese and honey pie with a rye crust. Most early pies were made with meat; the Romans, who weren’t just skilled world-conquerors but also pretty good cooks, were adept at using salts and spices to preserve and flavor meat. A favorite meal of Caesar’s was four and twenty gladiators baked into a pie. Pie cooking spread through Europe; songbird pie was a big hit with English royalty. During his coronation in 1429, King Henry VI was served a “Partryche and Pecock enhackyll” pie consisting of cooked peacock and topped with a cooked and mounted peacock, colorful feathers and all. This tradition of placing a cooked bird atop a pie was a popular way to identify what was beneath the crust. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather just take a bite myself. Fruit pies were (thankfully) developed soon after.
Once we found out today was actually Whatever-Kind-Of-Pie-We-Want Day, we decided to ditch the cheap strawberry-rhubarb pie (I anonymously gifted it to my coworkers) and swing by Shari’s, a restaurant known for their – everybody ready? – chicken fried steak.
Just kidding. They’re also known for their pies. And with a dozen varieties to choose from, we were in pie heaven. Could we have baked our own? Sure. Should we have baked our own? Maybe…but this challenge is tough enough without having to worry about making everything from scratch. Come June 9, I’ll bake my own strawberry-rhubarb pie. In the meantime, we enjoyed individual slices. I got coconut cream, she got chocolate silk. Suffice it to say, we enjoyed ’em both!