In the cradles of civilization (Mediterranean region including Ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Arabia) the primary fat was olive oil.

The figs were retired from the sauce pan long before the meat was done and they were served around the ham as a garnish.] Compare with this Latin text, English translation and modern instructions: "Pernam, ubi eam cum caricis plurimis elixa veris et tribus lauri foliis, detracta cute tessellatim indicis et melle complebis.

Deinde farinam oleo subactam contexes et ei corium reddis et cum farina cocta fuerit, eximas furno ut est et inferes." Boil the ham with a large number of dried figs and 3 bay leaves. Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6, and bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden. 268) "Pastry dough: Roman pastry dough was made with lard or olive oil rather than butter. Spelt flour needs rather less fat than wheat flour.

No one, least of all the early settlers, would probably proclaim their early pies as masterpieces of culinary delight.

The crusts were often heavy, composed of some form of rough flour mixed with suet." ---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F.

Moreover, there are several editions of ancient texts and recipe numbers/titles do not always match.

Food historians confirm the ancients crafted foods approximating pie.

The first pies were very simple and generally of the savory (meat and cheese) kind.

Flaky pastry fruit-filled turnovers appeared in the early 19th century.

Cooking methods (baked or fried in ancient hearths, portable colonial/pioneer Dutch ovens, modern ovens), pastry composition (flat bread, flour/fat/water crusts, puff paste, milles feuilles), and cultural preference (pita, pizza, quiche, shepherd's, lemon meringue, classic apple, chocolate pudding).

All figure prominently into the complicated history of this particular genre of food.

The challenging part of researching these early pies is most of us rely on translators of original texts.