Dietribes: Live and Let Pie

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According to the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, the core meaning of the word pie (or piece) in Celtic and later medieval Latin was twofold: a morsel which could be eaten with the fingers and which also contained some type of filling - in short, a pastry envelope. The ease by which these treats could be made in a simple medieval kitchen caused the pie to be an important part of British cooking. Of course, pie is enjoyed all over the world, and its place of origin is most often determined by its shape - from Spanish empanandas to turnovers to, yes, the Pop Tart!

"¢ Like pretty much everything it seems, pie has it's own day. Created by the American Pie Council, January 23rd has been earmarked National Pie Day (not to be confused with March 14th, also a Pi Day)

"¢ Would it be a true Dietribes without the mention of an eating competition? As far as pie-eating goes, one of the most famous (and the most disastrous) pie-eating contests imaginable has to be the "Complete and Total Barf-A-Rama" from the iconic film Stand By Me.

"¢ For those who can keep their pie to themselves, Patrick Bertoletti is the unequivocal champ. He holds the records for several pie-eating records, including Blueberry Pie (hands-free), Key Lime, Shoo-Fly and Strawberry Rhubarb, each in about 8 minutes. (For more pie records, go here).

"¢ Everything is about fitness and going green these days, so consider using your pie plate for both fun and exercise by recycling it as a frisbee, which is allegedly how the frisbee first came to be (at least, according to Yale).

"¢ Think Yale needs to consume a big ole piece of humble pie? It's actually more probably umble pie (from "umbles," or innards of a deer). Umble pie was commonly seen as food of the inferiors, and likely where the phrase originated.

"¢ The first pie chart is credited as appearing in The Statistical Breviary by William Playfair in 1801, but pie charts have come a long way since then.

"¢ This one's just for fun: Sing a Song of Sixpence (you know, "sing a song of sixpence / a pocket full of rye / four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie") may actually be a coded pirate message.

So fellow Flossers - what's your favorite kind of pie? And as always, recipes (especially simple but tasty ones) are always appreciated in the comments! (Although none that include four and twenty blackbirds, please - the price of blackbirds is through the roof these days)

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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September 3, 2008 - 7:30am
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