By Rosie Moore
I did not make mincemeat pie this Thanksgiving simply because only I and one or two other people like it and I end up throwing most of it away, which I hate to do. But I missed it and will consider baking one for Christmas.
The origin of mincemeat pie dates back to 500 years ago in England where it is still considered an essential accompaniment to holiday dinners. Something tells me that the Pilgrims might have had a similar pie also. They are also called “Christmas pies.” The Christmas pie came about at the time when the Crusaders were returning from the Holy Land and brought home a variety of spices, which included cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. The real mincemeat pie comprised of goose, venison, or beef, seasoned apples, dried fruits, cider and molasses then baked to a golden crust.
Puritans brought a stop to the “fun” in the mid-17th century, abolishing Christmas and censuring mincemeat pie along with other “idolatries” of Catholicism. In fact, for twenty-two years in Massachusetts it was always winter and never Christmas. The Puritans “inveighed” against Christmas pie as an invention of the “Scarlet Whore of Babylon”, the Devil and all his works.
Once the Puritans let their hair down in the 1800s, mincemeat pie came back in force and became a sacred and cherished American institution. Even though it’s characterized as a Christmas pie, it is also a staple dish at Thanksgiving at my house. I was going to include a recipe for this delicious pie but many of my readers are cooks and have a lot of cookbooks with that recipe in. Also None-Such mincemeat, which can be bought at most grocery stores, I think, has the recipe on its jars. Versatile cooks today may douse the dried fruits in brandy.
There are still days left this season to invite neighbors and friends and eat mincemeat pie, sharing its fascinating heritage of patriotism, religion, and controversy.
Thought for the day: Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by. Carl Sandburg
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