“Nothing comes closer to satiating my ungodly bull bloodlust than a nice slice of Key Lime. And lots of alcohol.”
We all often hear things described as being “as American as Apple Pie.” It’s a simple, lazy way to say something is typically American. Early America Fun Fact of the Day staffers assumed that baseball is the most American thing next to ecstasy and apple pies until Jon Hamm, our mailroom worker and a relatively recent hire, decided to do a little research, and discovered that Apple Pie’s “American” nature is grossly exaggerated.
Apples did not even originate in the United States- they had to be brought over by the English, where apple pies had long been popular. But the American colonists, showing the true American spirit, said, “fuck pies” and used the apples to make alcoholic cider instead. While there is a town called “Pie Town” named after apple pies, it’s in New Mexico, which is just three letters and a space away from being Mexico. So, we at the America Fun Fact of the Day had to smash up our Apple Pie cooking station from our offices, and ban ourselves from using the term “as American as Apple Pie” (this is entirely unrelated to the fact that every AFFotD can be summarized by saying “____ is as American as Apple Pie”).
But that left a void in our pastry loving, red-blooded hearts. What could replace Apple Pie as our Pie Messiah?
There was only one possible answer, only one baked dessert loaded with sweet, sweet, cavity creating sugar, and invented right here in the U.S. of A.
The Key Lime Pie.
Just look at that thing. Some of you no doubt just tried to have sex with your computer screen because of how delicious that looks. It’s okay, your supervisor isn’t going to judge you, not when you explain to him everything that the Key Lime Pie has done for you, him and, well, America.
The Key Lime Pie was invented in Key West, Florida in the 19th century by a woman named Aunt Sally, who was the personal cook of William Curry, Key West’s first millionaire, who made his money as a ship salvager (boom, fact, all of it fact). Aunt Sally, whose real name was Sally Pie Forrester, was once the premiere pie maker of the East Coast, where she made pies in all the finest pie shops in New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia (which at the time was still a relevant city). She was, as the kids say, the belle of many balls, and in 1835 she once made a pie entirely out of diamonds that sold for a then-record eighteen dollars and ninety three cents. She never could have foreseen the cruel twist of fate that would lead to her fall from grace, nor how it would one day change the way we look at pies.
During an 1850 pie baking contest, Sally was the clear favorite. In fact, that year the competition was named “The First Annual Sally Pie Forrester Will Bake Pies While The Competition Tries Not To Embarrass Themselves.” But then, all of her fame and accolades were to be ruined by one catastrophic mistake. To this day, it is unknown if Sally accidentally grabbed the wrong ingredient, or if sabotage had taken place, but in the process of baking her pie, she added sweetened condensed milk to her pie instead of mercury. Sweetened condensed milk was viewed to be “too healthy” for pie, and many American cooks believed that it lead to mental retardation for those who consumed too much of it. Mercury was seen as a much more effective sweetening agent, and it gave pies the tendency to make joints tingle, which was a pleasurable feeling. When it was revealed that this switch had taken place, Forrester was banned from ever baking pies on the East Coast for the rest of her days, and she was forced to move to Key West to cook for a man who smelled like shipwrecks all day.
A cruel fate indeed.
Several years later, after a breakthrough study announced that sweetened condensed milk posed “minimal long term health consequences,” Key West was in the middle of a particularly bad Pie Mercury shortage, so Sally, who had taken on the moniker of “Aunt Sally” to avoid being recognized as the infamous Sally Pie Forrester, decided to begin experimenting with the condensed milk. Adding key lime juice and egg yolk, Sally was able to create a high calorie, high cholesterol, delicious dessert that could raise obesity rates by 15% in Key West alone, a truly American goal.
At first she kept her recipe secret, as “Aunt Sally’s Key Lime Pie” became the most celebrated American-made pie of all time. After many years, she finally revealed her ingredients to the general public so they too could make the perfect Key Lime Pie.
Since then, Key Lime Pies have had a long, storied, delicious history. In 2006, Key Lime Pies have been named the official dessert of Florida, and it remains the best pie to eat during the summer throughout the nation. JFK was chosen as president of the United States after winning a pie eating contest against Richard Nixon (Nixon’s nose got in the way), and several professional sports teams had a stock of Key Lime Pies on the sidelines to give their players energy before the invention of Gatoraid.
Key Lime Pies were once used by Dexter Morgan to kill someone via euthanasia, which literally means that Key Lime Pie is the only Pie in America delicious enough to end someone’s suffering. So next time you go by a bakery, stop in and get a slice of Key Lime Pie (preferably the ones made green with artificial food coloring, because chemicals in food is extremely American), and maybe give the Apple Pie the finger on the way out. It’s the only American thing to do.