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Mincemeat is Neither Mince Nor Meat

My Christmas dinner table features mincemeat pie every year. The recipe is mostly apples and raisins, with a lot of cinnamon, but I've seen recipes that use pears or dried plums or other fruit. There is no real meat in it, although commercial preparations contain a small amount of "beef suet" for truth-in-labeling reasons. A couple of hundred years ago, mincemeat was a method of preserving meat with the addition of fruit, spices, and sugar, but over time, the meat went away to leave a sweet dessert filling. To add to the confusion, "mince" is a British term for what Americans call "ground beef." You can see where this is going.

In August, Spruce Eats published a recipe for mincemeat pie, accompanied by pictures that showed a pie crust filled with ground beef. The author of the recipe, British food writer Elaine Lemm, did not list ground beef as an ingredient, and did not know about the images. The only explanation is that the photographer followed the recipe, but interpreted "mincemeat" as "ground beef." When Spruce Eats republished the recipe for Christmas, it went viral for the pictured meat, illustrating the old adage that "England and America are two countries forever divided by a common language." The original recipe post has since been updated. Read what happened and the reactions the incident caused at Buzzfeed. 


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So it's not just my great grandmother's recipe that used venison in the mincemeat pie!
I grew up thinking that other recipes didn't use venison because it was hard to get.
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We would make mincemeat using actual meat, usually venison, it made a kind of sweetened meet pie. Later at a renfaire I had a meat pie and thought yep that's what we called mincemeat.
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