Today, I’d like to talk to you about “apple pie”. If there is one fundamental cultural icon in America today, it is apple pie. But why? Where did apple pie come from? What makes it “American”?
Long ago, before homo sapiens roamed the planet, there was the apple. Some Christian depictions of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden sometimes depict the apple as the fruit Adam and Eve ate.
No, the apple wasn’t a fruit in the Garden of Eden, but a fruit indigenous (millions of years ago) to an area of the planet we now know as Kasakhstan. Yes, that 70% Muslim country and former Soviet republic is the ancestral home and cradle of civilization among apple trees. The origin of apples lies in the heart of the Tien Shan mountains where, “forests of wild apples, some growing at 10,000 feet, others in 1300 foot-deep canyons, show a wealth of diversity and resistance to disease and pests.” ~Cornell University
As people began to travel west, they brought with them apple seeds which eventually found their way to Europe.
Upon the settling of the America’s there were no apples in the western hemisphere. Early settlers had to rely on shipments from Europe while their planted seeds began to grow.
The first cultivation was in Jamestown in 1607, but the apples were so bitter they were not for eating. The bitter apples were only good for the colonists to make cider. Instead, the colonists were more likely to make meat pies.
Thousands of years of cultivation created a large array of species of apple in many shapes, colors and sizes. In the American colonies, countless orchards began to spring up and apple trees began a huge genetic change. John Chapman (1768-1847), also known as Johnny Appleseed, made it his life’s quest to supply many states with countless new seedlings.
By the 18th century, apples used in pie began to become a popular desert in America and remains so today.
It is evident that the apple is woven into the fabric of America. The presence of the apple, which predated the country by millions of years, has been among us since the beginning, at first in bitter form. It’s presence has served us, been cultivated by us, and become a positive contributor to building our culture and society.
Likewise, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our society and culture from the beginning. Similar to the first bitter apple that the colonists tasted, you can choose to say it is too bitter and want nothing to do with it or you can make something positive from it.
Like the apple, once being planted by colonists in an ecosystem where no apples existed, Islam too has already been planted here by colonists where it had not existed. It is, and will forever be what you make of it. You can chose to help integrate it to help Muslims make a positive contribution to a society they love and have been a part of for over 238 years, or not. Regardless, Islam, like the apple, is here to stay.
Islam is as American as apple pie.
““You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~The Bible