“Deftly, he changed the subject to pie,” wrote Julia Glass in her latest novel, The Whole World Over. Pies have existed for at least 2,000 years, harking back to ancient Egypt.

More of an American pastime than just a dessert, pies have been in this country since its inception. The first American cookbook, written by Amelia Simmons in 1796 had 14 pie recipes.

Whatever the reason, pies stand front-and-center in the U.S. psyche as part of our identity and national heritage. Does any other country have a food that can stand in for patriotism?

Robyn Poarch of Porch Pies grew up baking pies in the deep south of Alabama. Her grandmother, from Tennessee, taught her recipes that stretched back through generations.

Inspired by a move to Los Angeles and requests from friends, Poarch started her own business from her home kitchen in Valley Village. Made fresh to order, the family heirloom pies are then hand delivered to your door. Poarch says “these pies are baked with love,” and some of Porch Pie’s regulars have a standing order for a pie each week.

Many of Poarch’s recipes center around “chess” pies. This type of pie, quite sweet, did not need the refrigeration of other kinds of pies and could be kept in a pie “chest.”

Ms. Poarch bakes chess pies including lemon, coconut and chocolate. The consistency of chess rests somewhere between a cheesecake and a custard.

Other favorites include pecan pie (great with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream) and sweet potato pie, which bears a strong resemblance to pumpkin, but with a slightly stickier texture. Another unusual filling, buttermilk, makes for a sweet, creamy dessert with old-fashioned flair and definitely, as the porch pie Web site states, “delivers southern sweetness to your home.”

The pies, evocative of a simpler time, or at least the idea of a simpler time, make for a perfect end to a warm summer evening. They conjure up comfort and coziness without pretension. What is it about pie?

To order and for more information, call (323) 632-4816 or visit www.porchpies.com.