walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Kookiness knows no cultural bounds: it is as human as apple pie


I kept looking at the URL going, am I really here? Is this person really picking on a listicle over at Buzzfeed about hand pies? And is she really claiming that pie is a Latin American ... invention?

A wheat and butter crust does not, somehow, sound like it came from the Americas. Or, honestly, even Galicia. While the author _could_ have been making the argument that empanadas were brought over to these continents by Columbus, I have some suspicion that's not where she was going with this. I have posted before about theories of the origins of pie, and how terrible most efforts to track the history of pastry and pie are. R. and I decided to poke around a little more at it, with a focus specifically on the apples.

Apples come from Kazakh. That's the definitive word, apparently, based on whole genome sequencing. (Thanks, R.)


Wheat comes from the Levant.


In order to have pie, you need wheat (altho please don't hesitate to argue with me on this, because new recipes are Fun!). And you need some kind of fat/oil, and you need a heat source. I always think you need an oven, but you need a heat source and it can't be boiling (I haven't met anyone yet who thinks that boiled dough produces a pie, but again, speak up!). It can be an oven, it could be a closed pan on or in a fire, you can _definitely_ fry those little fuckers. So the Kazakhs probably didn't invent apple pie, because they boiled stuff and that was more or less the extent of it (not knocking boiling. Boiling is amazing).

I, personally, would like to nominate Turkey for the original home of pie. They retain an impressive array of pie-like variations: oil and butter pastry, every kind of filling, every imaginable size and configuration. Also, they had apples, and I am a traditionalist. If you don't have apples, I feel you cannot really claim pie (I recognize this is a prejudice on my part).

In any event, I don't see how you can make a plausible claim that pies of any form (and all forms, ultimately) got their start way out on the Iberian peninsula, which is pretty much where any empanada based claim for "hand pies" would ultimately devolve. If it was in Galicia, it got there either from the north or the south, but either way, somewhere east of the peninsula.

Cultural appropriation arguments are often problematic, but rarely this ridiculous. Which is sad, because the author is _right_ to point out that it is horrible to take so much from people and then treat them with contempt. That is a real problem; it's just that while empanadas are small pies that can be carried about and eaten without benefit of plate or fork, not all small pies that can be carried about and eaten without benefit of plate or fork are empanadas.

I don't care what your mother told you.

ETA: OMG, it was way back in 2010. Yikes.

Review of a book about pie:


Additional posts about same and related:



This is about the apple pie recipe in the Forme of Curry (I've ordered the Baghdad cookery book with the newer translation, now that I know about it), and more discussion of pies in general:


Ironically, a lot of this bout of picking at bad books was started by an effort to read Spivey's shudder inducing volume with the super amazing cover art. And Spivey engages in a whole bunch of absolutely false claims about cultural appropriation, too. Hmmmm. The primary appropriation claim I mention in this post:


involves an assertion about Grafenberg that is just untrue in every possible way. But there's also weird claims about Abu Bakr II in there as well.

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