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No Pie-Eating People Can Ever Be Permanently Vanquished


You’ve heard of racial determinism. But have you ever seen racial determinism combined with pie? I thought not. This 1902 New York Times article about the relationship between pie and national success will fill this gap in your knowledge. Among other things, it not only makes the statement used in the title of this post, but also asserts that the reason for the lack of British military success in South Africa comes from not supplying soldiers even with tart, not to mention full-fledged pie. It also seems that the decline of large slices of pie into the lame small tart originate with “the pernicious influence of the shopkeeping element,” and that our country is defined by its amazing pie, with each season bringing its own deliciousness.

Update: Unlike many readers, the link works for me, so I’m not sure what’s up. But I’ve included an image of the article itself:

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  • This is the motto of the Bipartisan Cafe, 7901 SE Stark, Portland Or, 97215. Home made pies made frsh daily. Children and political discussion encouraged.


    • lige

      Beat me to it!

    • wiley

      Wow. I gotta check that out next time I’m I have time to spare in Portland.

      Every time me and the mate do our big grocery trip, we eat at Cherie’s first, and order a whole cherry pie for me and a lemon meringue for him to take home.

      I like pie. I like pie for breakfast. It probably has less sugar than most breakfast cereals.

      • Bill Murray

        so we now the answer to the age old question, Who ate all the pies?

        • patrick
          • wiley

            Wow. I had no idea that there was a rapper named Wiley and that he ate all the pies.

            I used to go by the handle “just tina,” and used that as a pen name on my poetry for awhile in the nineties. When I got my first computer in ’98 I discovered that there was a “just tina” on the Lollapalooza circuit so I had to come up with another pen name. Since I haven’t published anything in the last ten years I had plenty of time to come up with another one.

            • patrick


  • Malaclypse

    The International Brotherhood of Jazz Dancers, Pastry Chefs and Nuclear Technicians is pro-pie as well.

    That said, link did not work for me.

  • Simon

    What Mal said. Running Firefox on a Mac, if that matters.

  • jon

    Look upon my pies in awe and wonder. Your tarts are beneath our notice.

    As evidence that God has foreordained our eternal dominance, I offer this strawberry rhubarb.

  • rea

    So, why didn’t the Orioles win the pennant? Didn’t they give Felix Pie enough playing time?

  • sleepyirv

    This is the secret reason I study history. I say it’s about better understanding human society and all that jazz, but it’s really just to read articles from 1902 about how important pie is to humanity.

    • Lindsay Beyerstein

      Clearly we’ve gotten away from traditional values, to our detriment.

  • blowback

    Isn’t a quiche a pie, admittedly an open-faced one. So this claim falls at the first hurdle since the British have frequently vanquished the French, the other way round, no luck since 1066 and even then it was the Normans who had probably never heard of the quiche.
    Actually, the British eat rather a lot of pies, particularly on Saturday afternoons when watching football (ask Dave), which might explain why British football supporters have such a fearsome reputation that every one seems to want to emulate. And then there is the hot water crust pork pie, with all that lard and jelly, most Americans I have known are made ill just contemplating the concept, let alone from eating one.

    • Bill

      Au contraire, mon frere. The French won the Angevin wars (google Battle of Bouvines) and the Hundred Years War. Also the war of the American Revolution, which you really should have heard of.

      • ajay

        Also, the proposal is “permanently vanquished” and neither Britain nor France have been that, as witness their current unvanquished state.

        • Bill Murray

          I have heard that the UK is the 51st state of America, though

  • Anonymous

    Try this for the article location:

    • efgoldman

      Neither your link nor Loomis’ work.

      • Same here. I’m quite interested to read it now.

  • djw

    anon’s link works for me. Maybe cut and paste will work: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F70F14F73B591B728DDDAA0894DD405B828CF1D3

  • One look at those tiny empanada, and it was clear that that 1846 unpleasantness was going to end badly for Mexico.

  • Am out. Will fix link when I get home. Quite a technologically impressive day for me…..

  • Lurker

    The copyright notice at the bottom is fraudulent. If it was published in 1902, it is in public domain. Scanning is a mechanical act and does not re-establish copyright.

    • RhZ

      Good catch.

  • ajay

    the reason for the lack of British military success in South Africa comes from not supplying soldiers even with tart

    Chastened by their early defeats in South Africa, British soldiers have never ceased their efforts since then to assure themselves of a regular and reliable supply of tarts.

  • Steve

    Hear, hear, I heartily agree. Pies for the basis of civilized societies. I’m in favor, not just of fruit pies, but hearty meat pies, pocket pies, the misnamed quiche, pasties, turnovers, empanadas, tarts, turnovers, pierogi, calzones, cobblers, slumps, grunts, pizza! they are all pie to me and deserve recognition for their place in developing the modern world.

    Surely the last 1000 years of worldwide growth and conquest owes its status to pie.

    • Anonymous

      Pasties are my latest obsession. After numerous trips to the U.P., we finally tried them. Perfect for storing in your pack and taking on a hike! (And, I suppose for taking down to the iron mine). I’ve perfected my crust making, so I’m glad to have a new pie product to work on. Plus, how often do you get to use a rutabaga?

      • Apparently the Welsh were brought over to Hidalgo state in Mexico, as technicians for the silver mines, and brought pasties with them, to the extent that they have a pastie festival

        • Anonymous

          hmm.. it appears that I should be crimping at the top and carrots are a no-no.
          I do not take such an Academie francaise approach to food, however.

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  • I bet the Spartans liked pie.

    • ajay

      I think they preferred lambda. For Lakedaimon, you know.

  • Halloween Jack

    The authors of this treatise are clearly incognizant (uncognizant?) of the mince pie menace.

    • I had forgotten about that mince pie menace piece. It is quite good. And not only were the authors here ignorant of it, they promoted mince pie as part of American glory.

      • ajay


        Just to add to the confusion, “mince” in the UK means what Americans call “ground beef” – except in mince pies, which I think are more or less the same on both sides. So if you put mince in a pie, what you definitely have not got is a mince pie.

  • giotto

    So apparently Thomas Friedman and David Brooks have ALWAYS been at the NY Times. . .

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