The First Known Pies Weren't Sweet Or American-Made

When it comes to baked goods, sweet pies are one of the most quintessentially American. Just look at the phrase "as American as apple pie." Not to mention, certain regions throughout the nation have their own pie specialties, from Pennsylvania's molasses-filled Shoofly Pie to Florida's key lime pie (which may not even originate in Florida).

However, the first known pies weren't crafted in America at all — and they weren't even sweet. According to BBC, the first known dish that most closely resembles our modern-day pies was actually created by the ancient Egyptians. Their original take on pie featured a crust made with whatever grains were accessible, including barley, rye, oats, or wheat, so they likely looked and tasted a bit different than the pies we'd expect today.

While that version probably wouldn't have much in common with the flaky crusts and fluted edges we know and love in pies today, culinary contributions from the Ancient Greeks and Romans got a bit closer. The Greeks crafted something from water and flour that likely resembled modern-day pie crust a bit more, while the Romans whipped up a similar flour and water-based dough to drape over meat in order to prevent it from drying out. These early iterations of pie transformed over the following centuries and increasingly became closer to the variations we know and love today.

When things got a little sweeter

There are still plenty of tasty savory pies enjoyed around the world today, with fillings that range from spiced ground meats to vegetables. Even back in ancient times, some bakers were veering towards the sweeter side of the spectrum — one Roman recipe mixes savory elements like goat cheese with sweeter components like honey, for example.

However, you'd have to jump forward by quite a few centuries to see sweet creations such as fruit pies become truly popular — to the 16th century in England, to be specific. Cookbooks at that time featured many recipes for fruit pies featuring cherries and strawberries, a marked departure from the once-savory pies served up on the regular.

America put its stamp on the pie game shortly after that. Standard fruit pies were joined by new variations such as pumpkin pie, a beloved American holiday staple that was first shared in a cookbook published all the way back in 1796 (although it was described as a pudding within a crust, rather than specifically a pie), with things like cream-based pies coming not long after.

Nowadays, with inventions like frozen crust and pre-made filling, it's easier than ever to whip up a freshly-baked pie. And given that 90% of Americans "agree that a slice of pie represents one of the simple pleasures in life," according to the American Pie Council, that's definitely a good thing.