In a lengthy review in the Guardian, author and scholar Raj Patel lists the ways that people are mistaken in thinking that “nothing could be more American” — with even the recipe a ripoff of a British pumpkin pie.
He then lists at length the seldom “bloody” roots of almost every part of the beloved dish — from apples, sugar, and even the gingham cloth it is traditionally served with.
“In the drama of nationalist culture, the bloody and international origins of the apple pie are subject to a collective amnesia,” Patel wrote.
“The apple pie is as American as stolen land, wealth and labor. We live with its consequences today,” wrote the author, a research professor in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.
The article — “Food injustice has deep roots: let’s start with America’s apple pie” — describes how apples arrived to the West in the 1500s with colonists and their “vast and ongoing genocide of Indigenous people.”
English colonizers then used apple trees “as markers of civilization, which is to say property,” he stated.
“John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, took these markers of colonized property to the frontiers of US expansion where his trees stood as symbols that Indigenous communities had been extirpated,” he wrote.
He associated sugar with the slave trade, and gingham to “war capitalism” that “enslaved and committed acts of genocide against millions of Indigenous people in North America, and millions of Africans and their descendants through the transatlantic slave trade.”
While the article was issued last month, it began going viral this week — outraging conservative commentators.
“I remember when we used to use the phrase ‘the flag, motherhood, and apple pie’ to signify things about which Americans were unified. It is now ‘an offensive symbol of white supremacy’ and ‘birthing people,'” Ben Shapiro tweeted Tuesday, continuing, “So I guess we’re still good with apple pie.”
While he did not directly link it to the Guardian article, many others did as they showed outrage at Patel’s claims.
“According to The Guardian newspaper(London), apple pie is racist too. These people are nuts,” @Zayphar wrote.
Another commentator named John Black wrote, “The ‘woke’ #CancelCulture mob seeks to destroy everything that is American and/or good.”
“It’s so absurd it sounds like a parody of #CancelCulture. No such luck…,” he tweeted.
Others laughed about imaginary complaints people could have with the delicious treat.
“And what about people with gluten sensitivity? Apple pie is glutenist AF!” one person jokes.