America's favorite pies

Apparently, the results of a nationwide poll by Schwan's Consumer Brands North America (the makers of Mrs. Smith's) surprised even them. When asked what their three favorite pies were, people chose apple pies a whopping 72 percent of the time (47 percent for plain apple pie, and 25 percent for apple-crumb pie). Second place may be even more of a shock.

That's because the silver medal went to pumpkin pie, with 37 percent of the vote. Chocolate-cream pie came in third with 32 percent, and cherry came in last of the top scorers, with a surprisingly middling 27 percent.

The exact results:

1. Apple, 47 percent
2. Pumpkin, 37 percent
3. Chocolate creme, 32 percent
4. Cherry, 27 percent
5. Apple crumb, 25 percent
6. Pecan, 24 percent
7. Lemon Meringue, 24 percent
8. Blueberry, 21 percent
9. Key lime, 18 percent
10. Peach, 16 percent

That's right. No strawberry-rhubarb, no banana cream, no shoo-fly. Key lime and peach pies found popularity in the Southern states, but apple was strong all across the board. Is America really that boring?

Interestingly, though, Key lime pie is the fastest growing frozen pie all across the country, according to the Schwan's people. Schwan's brand, Edward's Key lime pie, which just went from being only available in the South to being national, just overtook its apple pie as having the most sales. (The company's own chef in the contest, Michael Gunn, has entered multiple categories, and said they weren't swayed by the polls. His favorite entries: mixed-berry pie, Key lime pie, and two-crust apple pie with a Cinnabon glaze. He probably didn't get much sleep last night, but said, "The sugar always keeps us going.")

Other polls in the survey (an online poll of 1,000 people across many demographic groups) included people's favorite fictional pie-makers:

1. Carol Brady ("The Brady Bunch"), 40 percent
2. Claire Huxtable ("The Cosby Show") 22 percent
3. Bree Van de Camp ("Desperate Housewives"), 16 percent
4. Debra Barone ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), 13 percent
5. Marge Simpson ("The Simpsons"), 8 percent

But wasn't Debra Barone supposed to be an awful cook?

Finally, this being a survey conducted at the behest of a pie-making company, there was one more poll: "Who makes the best pie?"

1. Mom, 27 percent
2. Store-bought convenience pies, 26 percent
3. Grandma, 17 percent

Take that, Nana.

Michael Y. Park is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. He studied medieval history as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, and journalism as a graduate student at New York University. His stories have appeared in publications including The New York Times, the New York Post, and the Toronto Globe and Mail.


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