Padma Lakshmi Explains Why Apple Pie Isn't As All-American As You Think - Exclusive

When you think of truly American foods, few things come to mind quicker than traditional apple pie. The incomparable classic has been gracing summer party spreads and Thanksgiving tables from sea to shining sea for generations. Surely, nothing says U.S.A. like a heaping slice of the dessert, right? "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi has a different take on it, however, sharing that the true origin of apple pie is slightly different from the patriotic roots we have come to associate with it. Lakshmi says she learned all about the background of the baked good and more while filming the latest season of "Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition" (available on Hulu), which explores the history and cultures behind the country's most beloved holiday traditions.

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Lakshmi shared some of the important and more interesting things she learned while filming the series. Specifically, she explained why the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert we love so much isn't quite as all-American as you might think.

All the ingredients for apple pie originally came from somewhere outside the U.S.

For a dish to be considered truly American, you'd assume that all or most of the ingredients in it would be native to the U.S. Though, that's not the case with apple pie. While filming the Thanksgiving episode of "Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition," Padma Lakshmi says she learned a ton about the foods that were indigenous to the Americas, and what was eaten before settlers imported their traditions and cultures from abroad.

"A lot of things that we associate with Thanksgiving, like apple pie, not one thing [in it] is all-American," Lakshmi exclusively told Mashed. She further explained, "Not one ingredient in apple pie is indigenous to North America, including the apples, or the cinnamon, or the lard, or the butter ... all of these things." In fact, most of the ingredients for apple pie, including the dairy and wheat products, were imported from Europe (via History Channel). Cinnamon is originally from Asia (per Britannica). Even apples are originally native to eastern Europe and Asia, says National Geographic.

How apple pie became America's iconic dessert of choice, well that's a different story that dates back to the Civil War, per Reader's Digest. And while it might not quite feel right to call it all-American, that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy a slice of it this holiday season.

You can catch Padma Lakshmi in the newest season of "Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition" available now to stream on Hulu.