"pie" means dessert in the United States.
And it's not true elsewhere in the world, where "pies" have a host of connotations and might as easily be savory as sweet.
Many people think of pie as a form of empanada, such as pasties, or variations on a pie.
Think of a pie as not a round dessert split into slices, but as a hand-held, sealed crust full of anything from sweet pie to meats, potatoes, and other savory fare. It's an on-the-go food that can be pretty much everything you want it to be.
That's versatile, and it appears to be something that makes sense on a fast-food menu. So far, however, American chains haven't embraced this notion, at least on their US menus.
McDonald's () has introduced a fresh sweet pie, although not on its U.S. menu.
McDonald's Made Handheld Pies a Thing
In 1968, McDonald's produced its classic hand-held apple pie, served hot. It was a fresh take on an American classic that was added to its menu at a time when new menu adjustments were a real deal.
"The recipe for McDonald's apple pie came from a Knoxville, Tenn., franchisee named Litton Cochran, who had established the first McDonald's in 1960," he said.
"The apple pie was the first dessert added to the McDonald's menu in 1968, the same year that the fast-food company introduced the Big Mac. The original recipe and turnover-style pie was fried to crispiness with a light golden color and served hot in a folded cardboard carton."
In 1992, McDonald's discontinued frying its pies, repurposing them with a baked version. That was considered a healthier option, but it was an unpopular move when it happened.
"The sweet outer crust and the hot sweet filling inside is a match made in heaven. The pies were really apple turnovers in the shape of a golden-flaky rectangle," writes the pie blog.
McDonald's has put a lot of fillings beyond apples into its pies over the years.
In fact, it has created more than 40 variations of the pie, including fillings including strawberry, pineapple, and pumpkin. Outside the United States, popular flavors include taro (China), sweet corn (Thailand), and berries and currant (the United Kingdom).
Nevertheless, the pie has taken someplace entirely new -- but you'll have to go to Japan to try it.
McDonald's Gets a Savory Pie
McDonald's often employs its global footprint to develop new ideas that will eventually return to American shores. In this instance, the company has added a Bacon Potato Pie to its menu in Japan on a limited-time basis.
"The Bacon Potato Pie is essentially one of Mickey D's iconic pies, brimming with savory deets, like fluffy potatoes, scrumptious bacon, and onions, all wrapped into a creamy milk filling."
While savory desserts might not be an American idea, it's easy to see how this concept might be introduced to the United States, perhaps with a new name.
Imagine the convenience of a Big Mac "pie" or a Bacon Cheeseburger version, sold to people on the go, or those who eat in their automobiles.
These are very American concepts that might help expand the notion of what exactly a "pie."