Pie Safes and Pie Chests

What Is a Pie Safe?

The pie safe or pie chest was more than likely introduced to the US by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. Despite the name they were used for everything from bread to cake, including meat was kept in a pie safe. The pie safe reigned as one of the most important pieces of furniture from 1700’s through early 1900’s. The pie safe was their modern-day fridge as it sat on the back porch try to catch as much of a cool breeze as possible.

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It was generally a tall and narrow cabinet made of pine, with two hinged doors. It was freestanding and could be moved easily if necessary. Inside the cabinet were shelves to hold pies and other foods. There would be chicken wire or punched tin designs in the top, sides, doors, or a combination of both. The screen allowed the baked goods to have ventilation while keeping rodents, flies, and hungry children at bay. The ventilation helped the food to stay cooler and to keep it from molding easily.