True Pies. An Exhaustive List.

I am writing this emergency post from the cottage.

You weren’t going to get a new post for the entire time I was up here, but I’ve come into possession of some information that I felt it would be irresponsible not to share.

I am filling the gap left by the sudden demise of The News of the World.

I believe it is new information that has not been shared with the world before, and until now has been kept a discreet secret by a society not unlike The Knight’s of Columbus, The Illuminati and the Freemasons. Or those girls with bleached blonde hair who never seem to be in need of a touch up.

Are you ready? There are only 4 true pies.

This is according to my fella’s father who is up at the cottage with us. He’s full of this sort of information.

All other pies are faux, jumped up, pretend pies. He is serious. And not senile. And passionate about pies.

Here is the transcript of how I came upon this bit of information.

Me: I was wishing I’d brought a strawberry/rhubarb pie up to the cottage.

Fella’s Father: That’s not a true pie.

Me: Huh?

Fella’s Father: That’s not a true pie. And I don’t want it in this cottage you stupid, stupid girl. Why don’t you just bring a pie made out of mud, sticks and gummy worms? You stupid, stupid girl. (I may have just surmised those last few sentences.)

Fella’s Father: There are only 4 true pies I’m afraid.

Me: Really? O.K. And what are they?

Fella’s Father:

1st. The truest of the true. The one true original. The King of pies … the ultimate true pie is “The Apple Pie”. No other pie comes close. It is acceptable to serve said pie with a piece of cheddar cheese the size of a roofing shingle. But nonetheless, not unlike the fact that there are several Royal Families of the world … there are other true pies.

2nd. Blueberry.

Me: That’s a true pie?

Fella’s Father: Yes. And it has the added distinction of being the only blue food. I dare and defy anyone to contradict me on this.

Me: Uh. O.K. Are there seriously only 4 true pies?

Fella’s Father: What are you stupid? (Again .. I might be making this up)

Me: Um. No. Go on …

Fella’s Father: The 3rd true pie is Cherry. (as seen above)

Me: What about Strawberry Rhubarb? Why isn’t it a true pie?

Fella’s Father: Well, I haven’t gone through the true pies yet. There’s one other true pie.

Me: Sorry. Yes? What is the final true pie?

Fella’s Father: Raspberry.

Me: I don’t really agree with that choice. I’ve never even eaten raspberry pie. Honestly? That beats out Lemon Meringue Pie as a true pie?

Fella’s Father: (at this point I don’t even hear what he says but I can tell you it’s punctuated with flying saliva.)

Me: That’s O.K. Raspberry is fine. Never mind.

Fella’s Father: You’ll notice there are no cream pies on that list. One of the reasons is that any pie that doesn’t have a roof on it isn’t a true pie. And with a lot of cream pies you just have a shell and some filling and no roof. That’s not a pie. They can call it a pie all they want, but that’s not gonna make it a pie.

Out of curiosity I throw a few other pies at him. To find out of they’re true pies. As it turns out there are a few honorary pies. Sugar Pie. (I debate him on this until he explains that it’s like a butter tart exploded out to the size of the pie) Pecan Pie. And Pumpkin Pie, altouugh Pumpkin Pie’s place on the list of honorary pies is fleeting. It gets a special pass as an honorary pie from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. I am told it will never ever be admitted to the pantheon of true pies.

Me: So what about the Strawberry Rhubarb pie? Honorary?

Fella’s Father: No. Definitely not. Neither strawberries nor rhubarb should ever be put in a pie and in fact, rhubarb, should never even be put on a plate. And lest people think this belays a small, narrow view of the world of pies … well … it does.

So. There are only 4 true pies.

The 4 True Pies





In closing, the fella’s father, leaves me with this final piece of advice … The perfect meal ends with one of the true pies, and of course begins with one of the only 4 true soups …



  1. Jillian says:

    What about Shepherds Pie? It’s called “Pie” so it must be a Pie lol No?…Kidney Pie?…Can’t eat any Pie due to allergies but reading the blog gives me a delicious fix. Thank you for who you are and what you give to the world Karen!

  2. Noel says:

    All sweet pies I noticed, must be your American sweet tooth, because you’ve all forgotten your British roots……. Chicken pies, potato pies, steak and onion pie (washed down with a beer). There’s a whole savoury world forgotten by you Americans.

    (I am an Australian – where pie knowledge is essential for citizenship status)

    • Karen says:

      Noel – Um … I’m Canadian. This blog is from Canada and the fella’s father is as Canadian as you get. The savoury pies are a whole other category that obviously couldn’t be included in the dessert pie list! ~ karen

  3. Liz says:

    In all honesty I’d take a Saskatoon berry pie over a blueberry pie ANY day. Do you think your fella’s father would accept that as a suitable substitution? Also (even though I’m not a fan of rhubarb) growing up Mennonite, we occasionally had a main meal of fresh baked rhubarb pie and salty ham. I know it sounds ridiculous to serve pie as a main course, but it was AMAZING! You had your sweet, salty & sour all in one serving…mmmmmmm

    • Karen says:

      Liz – Mmmm. It’d probably only make the list in Saskatchewan. Mennonite?! I’d like to hear about that. I once bought apple butter from a Mennonite farm. That would be the extent of my Mennonite experience. That and the beautiful buggies. (I live a short drive from Mennonite country in Ontario) ~ karen!

  4. Samantha says:

    Having just returned from Muskoka myself, I must admit I agree. Yet, do convey to your fella’s father that he has missed the 4 key pie consuming opportunities in the list. There are only 4 times a day that is appropriate to eat pie. That would be breakfast pie, lunch pie, supper pie and midnight pie. Of course this schedule only applies to cottage pie consumption and is totally calorie and fat free.

    • Karen says:

      Samantha! You’re not going to believe it but that’s exactly when pie was consumed at the cottage! Honest to God. ~ karen

  5. Liz S. says:

    So now that you have teased us with these 4 true pies, what about some true pie recipes? I have mastered your pumpkin honorary pie and am eager for more.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Love this! I’ve never had a blueberry pie and I disagree with the Fella’s Father about Strawberry Rhubarb pie, it’s by far my favorite (and of course this means he’s wrong). Will we hear about the 4 true soups?

  7. Veronique says:

    I am deeply hurt by this post, for Strhubarb pie is my all time favorite.

    *yes you can call it “Strhubarb pie” too, but for your own safety I’d drop the word “pie” around Mr. Only4truepies.

  8. Deb J. says:

    Maybe rhubarb pie doesn’t make the official ‘pie’ list because it is the ultimate breakfast food. Don’t get no better. And ‘raspberry pie’. My grandma fed me lots of raspberries – and I even helped pick them – but NEVER in a pie. Recipe please.

  9. Bill Grigg says:

    Karen, I hope your man doesn’t go all dementia like his father obviously has. Seriously. What’s next “The Only True Jam” list?

    Is it sweet and tasty and paired with pastry? Then its damn fine pie!

    You show up at my cabin bearing any flavour of pie you want. The door doesn’t even have a lock.

    Who grows both strawberries and rhubarb just for pie.

  10. Andrea says:

    Oh man, now I seriously want, no – need – a piece of pie. I’m feeling raspberryish.

  11. Thera says:

    “According to the expert, Bumbleberry pie is NOT a true pie nor is it an honorary pie. It is a pie that is trying too hard.”

    rotflmao! Duly noted!

  12. Kharina says:

    How about a pork pie? It’s such a masculine pie I doubt he’s dare to dis it. And you have to eat it with pickles and chutney and a massive door wedge sized chunk of mature cheddar.

  13. Zom G. says:

    I have just fallen in love with a man I will never meet.
    And I am going to make pie this weekend.

    This is fortunate for all
    because now my true love
    (himself a fan of true pie 2)
    be jealous of my aforementioned
    new love because
    he will have pie.

  14. kristin says:

    But… but… strawberry rhubarb pie has a roof! And it’s friggin’ delicious! I’ll take it over apple any day. The roof thing makes sense, but I’m still not comfortable with the idea of pies with roofs being excluded because of their fillings. Especially when raspberry’s among the four. Raspberry pie? What?! Honestly, (bearing in mind old-man logic) I think he’s just naming his top four flavours.

  15. Jessi says:

    The reason peach doesn’t qualify is easy. It’s because peach pie is gross. What I want to know is whether the pie rules also apply to jams & jellies.

    The soups should be chicken, tomato, split pea, and vegetable (beef optional). Right?

    Thanks for the giggle. :)

  16. Sheila says:

    I agree, apple is a true pie. It is THE Holy Grail of pies…the Mother Mary of pies…oh gosh when did I become all religious about apple pie! Add some ice cream and…
    Now, strawberry-rhubarb? It’s like the g-spot of pies. Most people just don’t get it. But once they do??? WHAM! And their comin’ back for more!
    Is it wrong to think of it that way? Strawberry-rhubarb is awesome!

  17. Ophelia says:

    What about Shaker Lemon Pie? It’s way better than lemon meringue (ick), has a roof and a nice solid fruit interior.

  18. Ange says:

    Haha, I’m so glad I checked your website today before I remembered that you were re-posting the Monarch series (really awesome posts, I just don’t have time for any Monarch-rearing at the moment, though I know a teacher on summer holidays who would love it!) This post made me laugh, especially since I’ve been dealing with a lot of ridiculous people lately… Good times!

  19. Another Karen says:

    My favorite pie is banoffee pie (similar to BANana cream, but the cream is replaced with tOFFEE). And if you consider whipped cream a “roof,” it certainly qualifies. I try not to make it too often because it’s soooo good.

  20. Mr. Pickles says:

    If you ever wanted to raise your fella’s father’s blood pressure, suggest he take a trip to Memphis, TN where they serve something called “Chess Pie.” It has no “roof” and most certainly would be voted off Pie Island quickly. In case you’re interested in learning more about it, here it is in all of its “glory”:

  21. Amy in StL says:

    I have to wonder why peach doesn’t make his list. Good peach pie is second only to apple pie. While I love the idea of pie needing a roof, I have to wonder if maybe this is a Canada only rule. I’m pretty sure down here in The South; Key Lime pie would probably trump all those are King of Pies.

  22. Melissa says:

    MMM. Raspberry Pie. My grandma in Northern B.c. always made raspberry pie and it’s still my dad’s favourite. But I have noticed that not very many people have tried one. Personally, I am a promiscuous pie lover. I love all of them, topless or not!

  23. Jessie says:

    I’m sure he will negate this as a pie, and say that it tries too hard – but the best pie ever is blueberry peach pie. Yes, I shall throw down the towel in challenge, it is the. best. pie. ever. As long as my grandma or I makes it, that is.

  24. Sydney Davis says:

    I had my suspicions about this bit of knowledge and I am beyond pleased to have them confirmed. Truthfully, Apple is the king, queen and jack of all pies. No arguments.

    Hope you are enjoying the cottage!

  25. Library Mix says:

    This wrongheaded philosophy makes me laugh. Strawberry-rhubarb is one of the aristocrats of piedom. The combination of sweetness and tartness combined with a flaky crust is almost excruciatingly yummy. I cleaned up one of my garden beds yesterday and finally harvested my rhubarb (it is so tolerant of neglect). The result was a strawberry-rhubarb sauce (great with yogurt or vanilla ice cream) that made us swoon. Putting it in a pie crust would have made it… even swoonier! I look forward to hearing and probably disagreeing with the philosophy of true soups.

  26. Shauna says:

    Mmmm, I love strawberry rhubarb pie. My Nana made them for my Popop all the time. They had a huge garden and pie was his favorite dessert. No birthday cake for him – only pie. I daresay he was a pie connoisseur and would have had quite the debate with your fella’s father;)

  27. Julianna says:

    Are there no blackberries in Canada? Surely, that can NOT be true? I live in Southern California, now, but I grew up in Ohio, feasting on Blackberry Pies with top and bottom crusts. And Strawberry??? I’m flummoxed, here…. At a loss for words… Dammit, now I have to go and bake a pie, and I really didn’t allow time for it this morning. :D

  28. christine hilton says:

    Sounds to me like somebody needs a little humble pie.

  29. Thera says:

    Love it! You made me smile and I am sorry but I have to agree with him and I have always hated rhubarb in any form. But I do have a question, what about Bumble-berry Pie? It actually has apples, blueberries and raspberries in it :D

    • Karen says:

      Thera – According to the expert, Bumbleberry pie is NOT a true pie nor is it an honorary pie. It is a pie that is trying too hard. – Karen

  30. Hilarious. But I’m with you…love me some strawberry rhubarb pie. mmmmmmm…..pie….

  31. Original Nancy says:

    He is certainly correct…you stupid stupid girls!….J/K about the stupids….but it made me smile

  32. Rebecca says:

    My family makes an old English recipe for Concord grape pie. Totally my favorite pie ever.

  33. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    Now we have to make up a proper name for pastry shells filled with delicious stuff, since we can’t use “pie”. Raspberry pie? I’ve never heard of it.

    You can throw a couple of pies my way. I’d go in like Donald Driver for the grab.

    • Tanis says:

      I’ve read that a true pie needs a bottom crust and top crust. If there is no top crust, it is called a ‘tart’.

      Phewf, no need to make up a new name!

      • Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

        Excellent. Tart is such a cute little word. From now on, I will correctly identify my desserts.

  34. I agree with him on the apple pie being served with cheddar. True pie or not though, I have to say cherry wouldn’t make my top four.

  35. Nancy says:

    Blueberry (my personal favorite) is on the list so I guess I’m OK with this…I agree with Fella’s dad though…we must have some rules here as to what is a pie or things could get totally out of control..I mean think of what could happen..watermelon pie…mango pie..and a new favorite for Karen…potato chip pie…lol

  36. BTLover2 says:


  37. Robyn @ Imperfect Nest says:

    That’s really funny. I love that his pies have to have ‘roofs’. Makes sense to me.

  38. sue says:

    I’m with your father-in-law, but would elevate cherry to #1. Only fruit pies qualify, BTW.

  39. Melody Madden says:

    Ok, now I just gotta know what those soups are?

  40. KatMoss says:

    LOVE it!!! And I have to agree with your Fella’s Father that Apple is indeed the best and most wonderful of all True Pies. Especially with a giant piece of cheddar cheese, although my Oklahoma-raised husband thinks it’s weird to eat cheese with pie…apparently, only people from “the North” (I’m a Michigan girl transplanted to Tulsa, OK) believe in cheese with pie. Momma always said “Apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze!” I also agree that rhubarb should never, ever be put on a plate. Blech. My family disagrees – I’m the sole rhubarb dissenter.

  41. LeeAnne says:

    Tell Fella’s Father THANK YOU for clearing that up. I’ve wondered about that since a little kid. Though we never had any True Pies in our house as a kid, we got the store bought sort that always tasted as ho-hum as they looked. However a high school friend’s mother would bake. When she did a Cherry Pie (this pie should always have capital letters) she’d often pack her daughter’s lunch with a slice of cherry pie for me. Holla Cracker Jacks, it was good and now I know why – it was a True Pie, made by a True Baker.

  42. latenac says:

    I think Fella’s Father must have been tortured with rhubarb as a child or something. I can sort of understand stating true pie has a roof however the 4 “true” pies listed barely touches the kinds of pies that have roofs. What about peach pie? And really I think raspberries belong in tarts, not pies.

    • Karen says:

      latenac – I don’t think *just* having a roof constitutes a true pie. It is only one of many conditions that must be met for a pie to be called a true pie. ~ karen

  43. amy walters, aDESIGNdock says:

    Haha…that’s amazing Karen. Now get back to your holidays!!! Happy Friday ;)

  44. jenny says:

    He has, obviously, never had a warm slice of MY strawberry-rubarb pie with a huge scoop of strawberry icecream on the top! It is not only a true pie, it is the POPE of Pie! The Great Atlantic Canadian Summer Pie!! (Every Church in the Maritimes can not be wrong.) Sorry I raised my voice a bit there, but I haven’t had my morning coffee yet, and the topic was alot to handle first thing in the a.m. :)

  45. CJ says:

    Oh heavens – I think I’d want an escape from your escape…

  46. Mindy says:

    LMAO. What about blackberry? Or boysenberry? It probably wouldn’t be safe to say in front of him that I hate cherry pie, would it? But I do agree with the fact that strawberries should not be allowed in a pie crust. Warm, cooked strawberries? Bleck. And why do people always mix them in with rhubarb? As if it isn’t good enough to stand alone. I make a rhubarb cake that will bring you to tears. San strawberries.

    In other news, I found a new blog today and thought of you. The post that sucked me in involved an extremely large metal chicken. And bath towels. And hilarity at its finest. If you have yet to discover her, you can thank me later. Or curse me for handing you, yet another, time sucker.

    Click to be amazed:

  47. Alisha says:

    I can’t handle the suspense! 4 true soups better come with 4 true recipes!

    Please relay to your fella’s father that any pie with seeds in it automatically exempts it from the true pie list (Raspberry!?!?) though I do agree with him that a true pie has a topper – but I consider meringue the perfect toque :)

  48. Rose says:

    LOL!!! Too funny!
    Thanks for the emergency post laugh.

    As an aside, I have been diligently looking in my local conservation area and wherever I see milkweed plants for any monarch eggs. So far it’s been very disheartening. HAS it been too hot for them to lay their eggs lately? I am fully prepared to risk getting harassed and possibly arrested to dig up the whole plant when I find one. Wish me luck!
    (on finding one. . . not getting arrested. But it could be an interesting story.. . )

    • Karen says:

      Rose – The eggs are teeny tiny. Keep looking. The easiest way to find monarch eggs is to sit and watch for Monarchs. If you see them around milkweed, just wait and watch for a bit. They’re sure to lay eggs right in front of you. ~ karen

  49. Claudine says:

    Which are? Oh Karen, you can’t leave me hanging like this. Now that almost all the pies I’ve ever made and loved are negated with one fell swoop, I need to know whether or not I’m enjoying faux soup. Can I go on eating my favorites, or am I living (consuming) a lie?
    Please note that not once during the writing of this comment did I refer to you or any of your readers as “Stupid”.

  50. jody says:

    Oh come now, what about peach? Peach has to be on the list! :)

    • Maria says:

      ☝️No question peach pie has to be on the list. It far outweighs raspberry. It is the true summer pie.

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