Erica at Mental Hygiene has made that classic of twentieth-century commercial food pies, the Ritz Mock Apple Pie! Short review: it’s good, and actually tastes like an apple pie made with very small bits of apples rather than discernible apple slices. (But watch out for sugar-syrup spillovers and burns on your stove and inside your oven. Click the link above for more photos and the recipe.)
She also reports, via a crackerjack research discovery by the Crazy Pie Lady, that the pie has roots that long precede the Great Depression. While not made with Ritz crackers, there were other versions of this pie made in the nineteenth century out of crumbs and scraps. Here’s an 1858 letter from Sue Smith of Henderson, Texas that explains how to make an “apple” pie out of stale carbs:
I have learned to make a new kind of Pie I think you all would like them they taste just like an apple pie make some and try them see if you dont love them. Take a teaspoon heaping full of tartarlic (sic) acid and dissolve it in water a teasp (sic) full of sugar and stir it in the acid then take cold biscuit or light bread and crumble in it. have enough to make to (sic) pies put it in a crust and one over it and bake it they are fully as good as Apple pies the spoonful of acid and cup of sugar is enough to make two pies.
Enough for today about food. This blog is getting quite a reputation, with all of my recent links to Cakewrecks and pie-blogging here and here. Historiann.com was the ultimate destination for two people googling “how did they bake cookies in the old days?” Short answer: they didn’t, at least not in Anglo-American kitchens before the nineteenth century. Mrs. Carter has all manner of recipies for pies, cakes, puddings, and custards, but there are no cookies in Mrs. Carter’s cookbook. (Maybe a search for them in a Dutch-language cookbook will yield success, but my guess is that cookies are a nineteenth century confection.)