Saturday, November 29, 2008

Advent Activity Calendar - December 17

Scripture Reading:

Isaiah 49:7

"This is what the LORD says-- the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel-- to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: 'Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.'"

Country in Focus: England

Tradition: Mincemeat Pie

Activity: Make Christmas Pie


4 lbs. venison or beef, cubed
2 c. calf suet, chopped, fine
6 c. apples, chopped
3 c. meat stock
5 c. sugar
3 c. apple cider
1 c. molasses
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
3 c. raisins
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cloves
2 tbsp allspice
2 tbsp nutmeg
2 lemons, juiced
2 oranges, juiced
1 c. sherry


Place chopped meat in a large pan cover with stock simmer over medium heat until meat is tender. Remove from heat. Transfer to a large pot combine meat cubes, suet, apples, stock, sugar, apple cider, molasses, cider vinegar, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, lemon juice, and orange juice; simmer for 2 hours. remove from heat. Add brandy or sherry and mix together.


Mincemeat pie is also known as Christmas pie. It was developed as a way to preserve meat without having to salt it or smoke it. The pie was usually made of minced mutton. Traditionally minced pie was more meat than fruit than fruit.

The Christmas pie began in the 11th century with the Crusaders. When they returned from the Holy Land, they brought back with them many new oriental spices. The pies were made with three spices to represent the three gifts of the Magi.

The pies continued in some form or another until 1657 when Oliver Cromwell, the self appointed Lord Protector of England (from 1649-1658) declared that Christmas was a pagan holiday. Soldiers were order in the city of London to remove by force any food being cooked in celebration of Christmas. The smell of mincemeat pies or goose no longer filled the air.

In the 17th century, the pies became known as "secret pies". They were made in eccentric shapes to hide the fact that they were Christmas pies. Spices had became more abundant and therefore the mixture in the pies had become spicier. Cromwell's influence spread to the colonies as well, and mincemeat pies were banned in many towns in New England as well. The celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681. Anyone caught celebrating was fined.

The ban was lifted on Christmas was lifted in England when the Puritans lost power in 1660. The ban was lifted in Boston in 1681. But even after the ban was lifted, Christmas was still not celebrated in either place with the gusto it is today. It was the Victorians that brought the life back to Christmas celebrations for both England and New England.

I hope that you will enjoy making some form of mincemeat pie. There are many mock mincemeat pie recipes on the internet as well.

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