It’s All About Pie


Emma Vang and Isabella Jeon

The holidays are right around the corner–Thanksgiving most imminently– and there are a large range of variations on classic dishes centered around this day of thanks. Classic Thanksgiving foods — you may be thinking of turkey or mashed potatoes, or perhaps your own family’s special recipe of deliciousness. However, those aren’t the dishes we’re talking about. Today is all about pie! Yes, that’s the caption. This article fixates on the many pies eaten at American Thanksgiving. Now, it’s not uncommon for people to have mixed opinions on what the best pie is, it’s actually quite expected. There is a wide variety of pies, with some being more popular than others. There are classic favorites, such as apple pie, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie, but that’s certainly not the end to the Thanksgiving pastry. There are countless other kinds of pies to enjoy: key lime pie, lemon meringue pie, cherry pie, blueberry pie, the list goes on and on. But where did all of these pies come from? Or rather, who baked the world’s first pie?

Pies have actually been around for thousands of years. Pies, specifically the pastry shells, were originally created by the Ancient Greeks with the earliest known recipe being attributed to the Romans. When we hear the word ‘pie’, generally we think about a golden brown crust and a sweet or fruity filling, maybe with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream. Unsurprisingly, pies were not historically made this way. “Initially, the pastry or crust was simply the vessel used to cook the filling inside of it – they were even called ‘coffins’ – and later, pie crusts were used as a method to preserve the spiced-meat mixtures that were most commonly used to fill them with.” (The History of Thanksgiving Pies, 2019). The majority of history’s earliest pies were meat pies, but fruit pies were first made during the 1500s. The beloved dessert only continued to develop from there until it eventually took its place among the other dishes at our Thanksgiving dinners.

Now that we’ve covered the essential parts of pie history, let’s get into the types of pies that frequent the tables of our North staff. We’ve interviewed several of your teachers with varying favorites and opinions on the pies of Thanksgiving. For Mr. Schwan, he shared his love for pecan pies with us, “The best Thanksgiving pie, and I don’t dislike any, is the pecan pie. If you are a texture person, this pie delivers: crunchy pecans, smooth gelatinous caramel filling and a crust that holds all that goodness together.” The pecan pie is indeed a delicious choice for your Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a classic American favorite and its nutty, caramel flavors are perfectly suited for the fall weather. On the other hand, Mrs. Rivers stated that she loved good old pumpkin pie, a traditional staple for Thanksgiving. “My favorite pie for Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie with extra whipped cream.” According to the Hermansens, French silk pie is undoubtedly the best kind of pie. In the words of Mr. Hermansen, “A French silk must be made fresh given its dairy-based cream components. French silk pies are made in a way that prevents them from being frozen, sold in bulk or being subjected to the humiliation of being purchased 2/$7 at Kwik Trip.” Mr. Hermansen’s affinity for French silk is quite apparent, and understandably so. These pies are creamy smooth with wonderful, delicate chocolate flavors. Mr. Hermansen acclaims, “[That] A delivery of a French silk pie to your next Thanksgiving gathering tells the host–you matter, I took the time to do this for you, consider your holiday elevated. In the opinion of this humble critic, the French silk is the undisputed king of pies.” Quite humble indeed. Although Mrs. Hermansen has a hard time picking her favorite pie, she shares the same love for French silk pie as well. She states, “It is hard for me to pick a favorite pie because I associate pie with special people in my life, rather than simply a treat to enjoy . . . I associate pie with [those that] make the pie.” Her endearment for her loved ones in addition to the delectable treats served during Thanksgiving perfectly encaptures the spirit of thankfulness. “Pecan pie reminds me of Grandma LuLu who lit up when I made it, as well as my dad whose ability to intake sugar surpasses that of Buddy the Elf. The amount of whipping cream he piles on leads the pie to disappear beneath it. And whipping cream is important in my family. We are self-proclaimed snobs who rudely shoot disdainful looks at tubs of Cool Whip. Pumpkin pie is something I cherish with my daughter Shelby, we are the only two people in our family who binge pumpkin pie with as much enjoyment as we repeatedly binge Gilmore Girls . . . I hate bananas myself, but Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie is one of my favorite pies to make because my Alli loves it.” Mrs. Hermansen’s heartwarming appreciation for her loved ones makes celebrating Thanksgiving with pie all the more enjoyable and special. “If I absolutely had to pick a favorite pie, I would go with French, the one the twins and I make, not the one Mr. H. makes. You can never go wrong with chocolate, the darker the better . . . and piled with REAL whip cream, of course.” Well, I guess nothing is ever quite perfect. Mr. and Mrs. Hermansen, we’ll have to see who makes the better French Silk this Thanksgiving.

We’d like to thank all of the wonderful participants for this article. The Noctiluca appreciates every single one of your responses. We look forward to seeing how everyone, including students and staff, celebrate Thanksgiving this year, regardless of the pie you eat! To end it off, we would like to share a short quote to remind you all of the importance of a good Thanksgiving pie, “We must have pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of pie.” – David Mamet