Food - Drink
The Ambiguous Origins Of Chess Pie's Name
Chess pie is a gooey custard-filled treat and a Southern icon, but no one is sure about the origins of this dessert's curious name. One theory claims that diners at restaurants used to ask about the dessert, and the waitress might respond that it was "just pie"; with a Southern accent, the phrase could sound like “jess pie” or “chess pie.”
On the other hand, the earliest chess pie recipe comes from “Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery,” where the pie is listed under “cheesecakes without cheese curd,” so “chess” could be derived from “cheese.” Colonists around the same time period also used chests to store food, so perhaps “chess pie” is a derivative of “chest pie.”
Lastly, Phila Hach, southern chef and restaurant owner, claims that “chess pie” comes from chestnut meal, which was used in place of cornmeal to thicken the pie's filling back in the day. The only thing we know for certain is that this dessert is delicious, and will satisfy anyone's craving for a super-sweet, creamy treat with a buttery crust.