Meatless Monday – What’s in a Name?

Sweetbreads and mincemeat.

There is no bread in the former nor flesh in the latter. Mincemeat is a kind of fruit jerky made with spices, spirits and citrus and often baked into pies. While squirrels store nuts for the winter, humans store dried fruit.

Sweetbread (not to be confused with sweet breads ie pastry) is almost like zombie food: no brains but an offal lot of organs, specifically the pancreas and thymus gland of cow and sheep.

If you happen to see mincemeat on the holiday menu, don’t fear. Although the original recipe did call for meat, the modern-day version usually does not. Some recipes use suet, an animal fat that melts easily, but this can be substituted with dairy butter, vegan ‘butter’ or coconut oil.

In pot, melt 1 tablespoon of your choice of fat per cup of dried fruit. Add ½-¾ cups of apple juice per cup of dried fruit. Then add a mix of dried fruit plus zest of 1 lemon or orange. Cook on medium heat until bubbles start to form then turn the heat down to low and let simmer a good half hour. Optional: Add a splash of brandy, rum or wine. Let sit overnight in a container before using. Mincemeat can be baked in pie, cookies, cake, scone, muffins, served over ice cream, oatmeal or eaten all by its lonesome.

What was once a savoury pie is now a sweet one. The availability of spices and the Crusaders helped to shape the pie that has become popular in Britain at Christmas. For more on the history of mince pies, check out the following links.

http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/PieHistory/MincemeatPie.htm

http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/mincepies.shtml

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