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British Influences on North American Foodways: Mince Meat Pie

Mince meat pie, recipes below
I have given allot of thought over the years as a professor of history and foodways and author to the topic of British influences on North American foodways. In my research I came across a 1661 recipe in an English cook book for mince meat pie written in old English. During the Christmas holidays my grandmother Lucy Opie, a southerner from Virginia, made mincemeat pies in her home in Sleepy Hollow, New York located on the banks of the Hudson River just 30 or so miles north of New York City. But it was very different from this 1661 interpretation which is decidedly savory: “To make a minced meat pie. . . . Take a large Neats [ox] tongue shread it very well, three pound and a half of Suet [The hard fatty tissue around the kidneys of cattle and sheep] very well shread, Currans three pound, halfe an ounce of beaten Cloves and Mace, season it with Salt when you think’t fit, halfe a preserved Orange, or instead of it Orange P[ee]ls, a quarter of a pound of Sugar, a little Lemon Pill sliced very thin, put all these together very well, put to it two Spoonfuls of Verjuyce, and a quarter of a Pint of Sack [a dry fortified wine with brandy such as Port or Sherry].” My grandmother learned to make a sweet and very rich mince meat pie in Virginia made with currants and raisins seasoned perfectly with lemon and orange zest along with hints of nutmeg, allspice, brown sugar, and the slight taste of brandy. The baking pie created a unique fruity and spicy aroma throughout her house that told me as a toddler that it was Christmas time again.  Here are some modern mincemeat pie recipes you can try some savory and some sweet. 

Traditional sweet Mincemeat pie recipe:

Vegan sweet mincemeat pie recipe: http://mincepierecipes.com/vegan

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