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'50 Pies, 50 States' is a baking ode to America's ingredients and people

Editor’s note: This segment was rebroadcast on Nov. 21, 2023 and May 27, 2024.

This summer, serve up a pie at your festivities. And whatever U.S. state you’re in, Stacey Mei Yan Fonghas a recipe for a pie inspired by ingredients, traditions and flavors of all 50. She details all of them in her cookbook “50 Pies, 50 States: An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the United States Through Pie Hardcover.”

Fong grew up in Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong, but spent the last 17 years living and learning in the U.S. She’s gone on road trips, made friends, enjoyed American food, and when she was lonely, broken-hearted or stressed, she baked pies.

Wild Alaskan salmon and halibut make up Alaska’s pie. Prickly pear and apple go into Arizona. For New Jersey, there’s a one-of-a-kind Jersey breakfast sandwich pie featuring ham, cheese and sunnyside-up eggs in a poppy seed crust. Every recipe comes with a heartfelt dedication to the person who inspired it, and the book also offers tips, history, photos and more.

“America is beautiful. It’s got the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty,” Fong says, “but all of that kind of means nothing without the people that made me want to stay here.”

Book excerpt: ’50 Pies, 50 States’

By Stacey Mei Yan Fong

California artichoke pie. (Courtesy of Alanna Hale)

Sweet tea peach pie. (Courtesy of Alanna Hale)

Jersey breakfast sandwich pie. (Courtesy of Alanna Hale)

Maryland blue crab dip pie. (Courtesy of Alanna Hale)

Boston cream pie. (Courtesy of Alanna Hale)

Rhode Island coffee milk pie. (Courtesy of Alanna Hale)

Excerpted from “50 Pies, 50 States” by Stacey Mei Yan Fong. Copyright © 2023 by Stacey Mei Yan Fong. Photography by Alanna Hale. Food styling by Caitlin Haught Brown. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company.

Emiko Tamagawa produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Todd MundtGrace Griffin adapted it for the web.

This article was originally published on

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The cover of "50 Pies, 50 States." (Courtesy)
The cover of "50 Pies, 50 States." (Courtesy)