Gary Brown: Keeping our eyes on the holiday pies

Gary Brown
Gary Brown

You may not be aware – I had no idea – but the favorite Thanksgiving Day pie for people in Ohio apparently is butterscotch.

Don't blame me for that odd selection. The people of Ohio have spoken with their online Googling. So, the butterscotch preference ended up being marked for Ohio on a Google Trends map I saw on social media that showed "uniquely searched pies in the past 30 days."

It seems the Google people assumed that anyone asking online questions about a pie is interested in buying, baking or especially eating it on Thanksgiving. Nobody reads up on a pie without salivating all over their electronic devices.

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Personally, I'd prefer a slice of pumpkin with a dollop of whipped cream on top and a hunk of sharp cheddar cheese on the side. The latter dairy element was my dad's idea. He said the cheese – always sharp cheddar – added a bit of a bite to his dessert experience.

Some in the family scoffed, so dad never made the combination mandatory for his offspring, our aunts and uncles or other guests for our Thanksgiving dinners. But, he always made dramatic and elongated "yummmm" sounds to encourage participation.

Pies preferred regionally

Traditional pumpkin pie, which appears to have benefitted over the years from a strong public relations campaign from pumpkin growers lobby groups that mention it every year along with turkey and stuffing, is the preferred Thanksgiving dinner pie in fewer states than you might figure.

Google searchers in only five states on the map – California, North Dakota, New Mexico, New York and New Jersey – asked recipe questions or made other queries about that particular pie.

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Apple pie was preferred in 10 states, including Alaska, three states in the Midwest (Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri) and most of New England. Hang out for the holiday in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island and you're probably going to get a pie made out of macintosh.

Five states in the South favored sweet potato pie – including Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Delaware and Maryland. Among other Southern states, Tennessee and North Carolina residents like a little buttermilk pie, Texans apparently want pecan pie, people in Mississippi prefer chocolate pie instead of joining those in neighboring Louisiana who want Mississippi mud pie, while Googlers in Arkansas and Kentucky went with the people of Indiana and West Virginia in trying to find out about peanut butter pie.

Cherry pie was preferred in Colorado, Oklahoma and Iowa. Cream pie – Nebraskans and Hawaiians specify banana cream pie – apparently is desired in Nevada, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is a dairy state. I'll bet they want a wedge of cheese with their cream pie. Dad would have moved to Wisconsin to celebrate Thanksgiving if he'd known that.

Uniquely chosen pies

This is where our national pie preferences get interesting.

Floridians, and we're assuming this includes the snowbirds from Ohio, want key lime pie, even though there is little to no key lime production in that state. The Florida Keys are, well, just keys and not pie part producers. Perhaps even more surprising, key lime pies are the preference of people in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. I'm not sure why.

The singular pick of Thanksgiving pies in other parts of the country – besides the Buckeye State being the only state going with butterscotch – are tamale pie in Oregon, frito chili pie in Kansas, blackberry pie in Washington, grape pie in Arizona and coconut pie in Virginia.

The people in the District of Columbia had online questions about banoffee pie. I did too, so I Googled it, and I found that it combines "a crunchy graham cracker crust, sweet dulce de leche, thick slices of fresh banana, and a billowy whipped cream."

According to the website for Sally's Baking Addiction" everyone who tries a slice "is instantly hooked."

Still, and again this is a personal opinion, if I had to chuck the butterscotch pie of Ohio and go with another state's pie, I'd move to Pennsylvania and celebrate Thanksgiving with the people of the Keystone State. The Google map assigned that state the shoofly pie.

"Since this original version called for pantry staples like butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee, and plenty of molasses, shoofly pie was inherently inexpensive to make, which made it popular among home bakers."

I don't know much about pies, but I'm pretty sure I'm cheap.

Reach Gary at On Twitter: @gbrownREP

This article originally appeared on The Alliance Review: Gary Brown: Keeping our eyes on the holiday pies