Moss also spoke of what she calls the “genealogy” of a recipe. In the book, Moss includes a chart of the evolution of chess pie.
“The names are often very different, but the recipes are often the same,” Moss said.
Chess pie goes back hundreds of years as a “transparent pudding.” It was also called lemon or orange pudding, cheesecakes, and even tarts and custards.
Moss’ chart starts with an English recipe from 1734 and traces the filling for the pie through 16 recipes and four centuries up to a North Carolina recipe from 2012. Amazingly, the recipes are very similar. The flavorings differ a bit — mainly veering from lemon to orange to vanilla.
The Winston-Salem Journal – Southern cooking in the 18th century