I had a lovely Thanksgiving. At the last minute, I was even able to track down some mincemeat pie at my parent’s little grocery store. It’s the small things! I was very thankful. For me, it simply isn’t Thanksgiving without mincemeat pie and my grocery store didn’t carry it at all. Frustration! Groaning! Perhaps even whimpering. Clearly, if I want mincemeat pie for future Thanksgivings, I need to learn how to make it myself. I hereby resolve that next year, there will be mincemeat made by my own hands.
I started my googling towards this end on Thanksgiving Day itself. I was stunned to find a recipe for Green Tomato Mincemeat and then further stunned to have my mother confirm that the mincemeat she had had as a girl was always of the green tomato variety. Green tomato mincemeat??!! It turns out that there are dozens of internet recipes for this! To go back a little, the reason Thanksgiving = Mincemeat for me is because my wonderful great aunt Joy served it at her Thanksgiving dinners that I attended each year as a child. Those dinners were the stuff that tradition is made of. Although some things have fallen away–Joy no longer hosts hundreds and I no longer play with Barbies on Thanksgiving–I haven’t stopped passing up the pumpkin and looking for the Mince pie. Aunt Joy is from my Dad’s side of the family so I have always associated mincemeat with them. Now I learn that my mother grew up eating it too–made out of green tomatoes! This is tragic, because just a few weeks ago I had a lovely supply of green tomatoes and I could have tried it. Now I will have to wait an entire year!
My googling also led me to the information that Mincemeat is traditionally considered a Christmas pie. Surprise # 2! Again, my mother confirmed: “Oh yes, I always thought it was funny that they served mince pies at Thanksgiving. It’s a Christmas pie!” Oh. I wondered if this was a Canadian thing (My mother is Canadian). Further googling revealed that Mincemeat is definitely an English thing and that Mincemeat pie was long associated with Catholicism. In fact, the Puritans refused to eat it because for them Mincemeat was tied up with idolatry. I’m glad I’m not Puritan!
I can’t help being drawn to the recipes that call for suet. Something about suet screams authenticity (I’m not sure that I’m brave enough to go as far as the recipes that call for venison though!) MinceMEAT, yeehah! Apparently, it’s possible to substitute vegetable oil, although that doesn’t seem like a good substitute. Any ideas on where I could get real suet anyone? Have any of you ever made mincemeat–with or without green tomatoes, with or without suet? How did it turn out?
Meanwhile this resolving to make mincemeat post has reminded me that last year I resolved to do Advent and today is December1st! I’d better get cracking, or there will be no reason to hold out hope for this year’s mincemeat resolutions!