The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 28, 2013

Apple pie has no place at Thanksgiving

It's practically a law that in late November, every publication must offer a Thanksgiving guide. This year, I would like to draw your attention to two exceptional ones. The first is the Onion's "11 Steps For Cooking a PERFECT Thanksgiving Turkey," which is full of hilariously bizarre advice (e.g., "Thaw for two or three days by burying the bird in a deep hole in the backyard"). The second is "Grub Street's Very Simple Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner," which is full of hilariously good advice (e.g., "Serve a lot of alcohol").

Actually, I should say that Grub Street's list is mostly full of good advice. Everything's great up until this part: "Put someone else on pie duty and if they show up with anything other than a pumpkin pie and an apple pie, throw them out of your home immediately."

This is simply wrong. If someone shows up at your Thanksgiving with an apple pie, you should throw them out of your home immediately. Apple pie has no place at Thanksgiving.

Yes, yes, I know; apple pie is supposedly Americana incarnate. But the saying "as American as apple pie" is absurd, because apple pie is not very American at all. Apples grow everywhere in the world, and virtually every culture came up with apple pie before we did. What's more, most other cultures' versions of apple pie are better than ours. Consider France's tarte tatin, which is caramelized and al dente where American apple pie is bland and goopy. I know you know, in your heart of hearts, that apple pie is nowhere near the best pie America has to offer.

But even if you like apple pie - even if you hold the naïve, jingoistic belief that apple pie is a great pie - it still doesn't belong at the Thanksgiving table. There are three main reasons for this:

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