We have just celebrated the most American of holidays once again: our 244th anniversary as a nation. In today’s turbulent times, are we still proud to be Americans? I am.
The intro, “as American as,” means a person, product or item is essentially typical of the United States and does not owe its origin or qualities to any other country. Americans as a whole love apple pie and it can usually be found at Independence Day celebrations as well as Thanksgiving dinners.
Apples are abundant in America, and it is a dessert of choice for so many that it is considered a quintessential American dish. Apple pie, however, does not fit the bill for the simile, because it was not invented in the U.S.
It was enjoyed by the English for hundreds of years prior to colonization of New England. In 1902, soon after a British author suggested that apple pie should only be eaten twice weekly, the New York Times editor shot back in a most defiant manner, placing pie in the position of a patriotic American icon:
“[Eating only twice per week] is utterly insufficient, as anyone who knows the secret of our strength as a nation and the foundation of our industrial supremacy must admit. Pie is the American synonym of prosperity, and its varying contents the calendar of changing seasons. Pie is the food of the heroic. No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.”
In March, 1920, the earliest reference known in print came in World Outlook, on page 45 in “The Town that Got Acquainted with Itself” (Chester Pennsylvania) by Margaret Widdemer
“Baths are as characteristically American as apple pie. Chester started Americanizing its foreigners by letting them use the shower baths in the school houses.”
If you would like to know the origin of a favorite expression, text the author at 931-212-3303 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.