Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mince Pie

You learn something new every day. Last night I actually found out that I have a friend who was brought up eating mincemeat pie -- you know, the sweet Christmas treat -- with real meat in it. Through all my years I always thought it anomalous that something would be called a 'mincemeat' pie and consist principally of chopped fruit (albeit with some suet in it). I chalked it up to one of those British food humour matters like 'sweetbreads', which always seemed to me to be an extremely euphemistic name for pancreas being neither sweet nor bread.

Well a little googling reveals that in fact there is a history of meat in mincemeat pie although the Wikipedia piece on mincemeat pie suggests that my experience is more the norm (that is no meat). However I did find one article on the history of mincemeat pie which actually relates a story about mincemeat pie being made with whale in Boston in the 1800's. Now that would have been interesting.

In the end there is no reason why the pie should not have meat in it. There are some types of meat that are just made for sweet situations. Duck, for example, calls out for sweetness and the best duck dishes -- Canard a la Orange and Peking Duck -- are definitely sweet. Similarly, lamb and Major Grey's Mango Chutney go together like hand in glove. However there are some other meats that I am a bit more dubious about in the context of a sweet treat (candied beef just makes me sceptical).

The warning has been given; the gauntlet thrown down -- Christmas Eve will be Mincemeat Pie with real meat.

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