Ask any American their favorite part of Thanksgiving, and more often than not, pie tops the list, along with turkey, cranberry sauce and football.
According to an independent survey commissioned by the American Pie Council (APC) and conducted by Nielsen in 2014, pie is the preferred dessert not only on Thanksgiving but also on other holidays and throughout the year. Seventy percent of respondents cite pie as their favorite Christmas dessert and 67 percent consider it a staple at family gatherings.
Although Americans continue to get busier and busier with commutes, carpools and kids' extracurriculars, the art of pie baking is not dead, said Linda Hoskins, Executive Director, American Pie Council. "While ready-made and frozen pies from grocery stores and bakeries are always a hit at home and at potlucks - baking homemade pies is still appealing. Our survey revealed that Americans still hold dear to pie-making skills and passing down family pie recipes as a part of their heritage. We have seen this first-hand every year for the last 20 years at our annual APC National Pie Championships."
In fact, Americans so love their pies, residents of Illinois are pushing to make pumpkin pie the Official State Pie of Illinois. The bill was proposed by Illinois State Representative Keith Sommer in September, just in time for the area's annual pumpkin festival. The proclamation reads, "With its connections to rural life, family and hard work, pumpkin pie symbolizes the values that are close to the heart of all Illinoisans." The bill will be put to vote in spring 2015 legislative session. Illinois residents who want to support the push for pumpkin pie can sign an online petition sponsored by the APC. A link to the petition can be found at: www.piecouncil.org.
It's no surprise that pumpkin pie is the flavor of choice for those in The Prairie State. Illinois grows twice as many pumpkins as the next largest pumpkin-growing state. In fact, 90 to 95 percent of the country's canned pumpkin is processed there, as is 85 percent of the world's entire canned pumpkin supply. In 1978, Morton, Ill., home of Nestlé USA's Libby's® Famous Pumpkin Pie brand, was declared the "Pumpkin Capital of the World" by then governor, James Thompson.
If the legislation is successful, Illinois will be the seventh state to adopt an official state pie. Current pie-loving states include: Delaware - Peach; Florida - Key Lime; Indiana - Hoosier Sugar Cream; Maine - Blueberry; Massachusetts - Boston Cream; and Vermont - Apple. Oklahoma has adopted Pecan Pie as part of its Official State Meal.
But elsewhere in the country, and especially during the holiday season, pumpkin pie rules. It was rated as the number one choice of dessert at Thanksgiving, and tied with chocolate for the number two favorite pie overall. What's America's favorite pie most of the year? Apple, of course, while cherry pie ranked third.
Turns out, when it comes to eating pie, no time of day - or night - is off limits. Survey respondents said pie is more than an after-dinner dessert: 58 percent say it's a great late night snack while 113 million Americans admit to eating pie for breakfast! Pie lovers beware, though. More than a quarter of those surveyed admitted to hiding a piece of pie to save it for themselves!
Those who value the freshness and creativity of baking homemade pies can find a wealth of award-winning recipes on the APC website, www.piecouncil.org. Each year, the APC plays host to the APC National Pie Championships in Orlando, Fla., where hundreds of commercial, professional and amateur pie bakers converge to compete for "Best of Show" status, cash, prizes, and of course, bragging rights. Among the most creatively named of the 2014 winners were: Violet, You're Turning Violet! Blueberry Pie; Pining for Pineapple Orange Pie; Rockin' Poppin' Root Beer Float Pie; I Cannot Tell a Lie...Washington Cream Pie; Cherry Mocha Latte; and Luv You to the Moon Pie, among many others. Each year, nearly 1,000 pies are entered across the three levels of competition.