[DWJ] Re: mince pies

Allison Marles Gryski apm at alumni.uwaterloo.ca
Fri Dec 28 12:06:04 EST 2007

Canada, presumably due to being part of the Commonwealth, has
the British meanings for mincemeat and Christmas pudding and so forth
(or at least, we do in my family).  


On Fri, Dec 28, 2007 at 03:57:17PM +0000, Minnow wrote:
> Our Jadwiga wrote
> >We made the drive to Dietrich's market [snip]
> > and they had real mincemeat pies for sale. I
> >didn't buy any, as Dietrich's pies are way too heavy for me, but the
> >non-meat mincemeat pies were on sale at Valley Farm Market when we stopped
> >there for the Christmas pies.
> We may be divided by a common language again, I suspect.  Real mincemeat is
> meat-free in England; only mince from the butcher is ground-up meat.
> Perhaps in this thread there is a confusion of naming, probably one that
> dates back to the time when the word 'meat' in English meant 'food', and
> 'flesh' meant the meat of an animal's flesh (beef and such).  'Mincemeat',
> wot goes in mince-pies, doesn't in its original form contain the flesh of
> any animal at all.
> Apart from some that have beef suet in them, most English mincemeats are a
> vegetarian dish.  English mince-pies could even be made vegan by the
> ommission of the suet and a careful pastry, I guess.  The ingredients list
> on the shop-boughten Sainsbury's Own pies has apple, sugar, raisins,
> sultanas, glucose syrup, currants, vegetable glycerine, dextrose, candied
> mixed peel, vegetable suet (palm oil, sunflower oil, wheat flour), treacle,
> mixed spice (coriander, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, carroway, clove)
> cinnamon, acetic acid and orange oil in its 'mincemeat' bit; only the
> pastry contains the cows' milk powder that would make a vegan discard them.
> Mrs Beeton's 'Mincemeat (Vegetarian)' recipe uses lemons, apples, raisins,
> currants, sugar, butter, candied citron, candied orange, cayenne, mace,
> cinnamon and almond essence.
> Mrs Hartley in her 'Food in England' offers a recipe for 'mincemeat' dating
> back to about 1650; it contains lemons, raisins, currants, candied peel,
> chopped almonds, a little fine suet, brandy, and sugar.  (She links it with
> marmalades.)
> Mrs. Beeton offers 'mincemeat' containing suet, currants, raisins, apples,
> sugar, sultanas,  candied peel, lemon, brandy, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon;
> also an 'economical' mincemeat with apples, currants, raisins, suet, sugar,
> candied peel, lemon and nutmeg.  (maybe she is being teetotal?)
> Pamela Fry in *The Good Cook's Encyclopedia* of 1962 has 'mincemeat' of
> suet, raisins, sugar, almonds, nutmeg, currants, sultanas, apples, candied
> peel, mixed spice, lemon and brandy or rum; The Radiation Cookbook of 1935
> has raisins, candied peel, sultanas, currants, apples, suet or butter,
> brown sugar, lemon, orange, mixed spice, nutmeg, and brandy or rum.
> It isn't until one looks in a transatlantic manner that one gets flesh involved.
> Mrs. Beeton's 'mincemeat: (American Recipe for)' has cooked fresh
> beef-tongue, suet, sugar, currants, raisins, candied citron, apples,
> lemon-rind, alspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, brandy,
> sherry and sweet cider.
> The Rombauer's *The Joy Of Cooking* has 'mincemeat' with chopped beef or
> ox-heart, apples, beef suet, sugar, cider, raisins, currants, chopped
> citron, dreid, chopped and candied orange peel, ditto lemon, lemon juice,
> cinnamon, mace, cloves, salt, pepper, nutmeg, sour cherries (with juice),
> broken nut meats and coriander seed.
> I gather there was a piece in the New Yorker this year that claimed the
> poor English peasants used to be forced to boil up their meat and
> vegetables and fruit together in order to make 'Christmas pudding', but I'm
> sorry, Christmas puddings don't have meat in them either, in the English
> recipes.  (I am not going back downstairs to check in Beeton and Rombauer
> again!)
> Minnow
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