In a culinary adventure that spanned across seven years, Stacey Mei Yan Fong embarked on a mission to create 50 distinct pies, each representing a state in the United States. Her goal was to pay homage to the unique characteristics of each state and the people who call them home. Now, her book “50 Pies, 50 States: An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the United States Through Pie” is finally here, showcasing the incredible diversity and creativity that can be found in the world of pie.
Pie, according to Fong, is more than just a dessert. It serves as a metaphor for life in America, with its limitless possibilities and ability to adapt to various flavors and styles. Having grown up in Singapore and Hong Kong, Fong was initially exposed to meat pies, a culinary tradition inherited from the British colonial influence.
The concept of sweet pie, on the other hand, felt uniquely American, reminiscent of scenes from movies featuring diners. When faced with the decision of whether to stay in the United States or return abroad due to visa issues, Fong chose to make America her home.
To distract herself from the challenges of the permanent residency application process, she embarked on the state pies project, aiming to explore the country she had chosen through the lens of pie.
Pie, particularly apple pie, has become a cultural symbol deeply ingrained in American society. Fong’s cookbook, along with other recent pie-related releases like Cake Zine’s “Humble Pie” and Rossi Anastopoulo’s “Sweet Land of Liberty,” not only redefine the concept of pie but also challenge the notion of what it means to be American.
They invite us to reflect on our collective imagination and idealization of the United States, while also showcasing the diverse experiences and narratives that can be represented through pie.
Within Fong’s book, the pies themselves become a window into the life and community she has built in the United States. Each pie recipe is accompanied by stories about the respective state and a dedication to a local friend.
Fong’s creations include a strawberry mayhaw jelly pie with beignet toppers for Louisiana, a blueberry and Moxie pie for Maine, and a corn dog-hotdish pie with funnel cake topping for Minnesota. While some classics make an appearance, the majority of the pies are Fong’s interpretations of the states, reflecting her personal journey and exploration of what each state means to her.
Pie has the power to transcend cultural boundaries and bring people together through a shared love of food. It serves as a reminder that despite our diverse backgrounds and experiences, we can find common ground and create something beautiful.
Fong’s state pies project is not just about baking delicious treats; it’s about forging connections, celebrating diversity, and embracing the rich tapestry of American culture.
As we delve into the world of pies, we are invited to reimagine the concept of the United States. Pie becomes a medium through which we can explore our identities, honor traditions, and celebrate the unique flavors that make each state special.
Fong’s cookbook and other pie-related releases spark a sense of curiosity and wonder, prompting us to consider how pie can serve as a vehicle for storytelling and bridge gaps between different cultures and communities.
In conclusion, “50 Pies, 50 States: An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the United States Through Pie” is a testament to the boundless creativity and diversity found within the realm of pie-making. It showcases the unique flavors and stories of each state, inviting readers to embark on a culinary journey that celebrates America’s rich cultural tapestry.
Through pie, we can savor not only the delicious flavors but also the shared experiences and connections that make us all feel at home. So, grab a slice of pie, and let your taste buds take you on an adventure through the United States, one delectable bite at a time.