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As American as Apple Pie

Earlier this year I was invited to speak at the Student Conference for Latinx Affairs (SCOLA) at Texas A&M University.  Specifically, I was invited to speak as a Latino artist, and by the subtitle of this year's conference, as an influential voice, as a representative voice, and this invitation has forced me look inward and reflect on my own Latino heritage.  And in this state of reflection, I thought about the idiom:  As American as apple pie; and I realized something beautifully ironic... 

...unintentionally, this idiom is one of the truest statements of American demographics ever made.  The composition of peoples of this country just as the ingredients that make up an apple pie are immigrants to the New World.  Apples have been cultivated by Asians and Europeans for thousands of years, but they were only introduced to North America during the 17th century.  Wheat, the grain from which we derive our most common form of flour, originates not from America, but from the fertile crescent where it was first domesticated in 9600 BC.  And if you enjoy your apple pie a la mode or with a dollop of whipped cream, I should remind you that no cows ever roamed the plains of this continent until Christopher Columbus introduced the first head of Spanish cattle to Santo Domingo in 1493.  And cinnamon, a key ingredient in the best of apple pies, has been a prized commodity since antiquity, predating even the conception of western democracy, the societal foundation of our nation.  So for those who use this idiom to define what is true and native to America, I would like to suggest a better phrase…

 Photo by Jody Horton

Photo by Jody Horton