News articles on Mincemeat [the pie filling, not the term referring to thrashing the Huns soundly] taken from 1916-1918 newspapers available in the New York State Historic Newspaper database at http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/
The Daily Journal (Lackawanna, New York), January 4, 1916, p.2
The hand of the reformer has reached out and desecrated the mince pie. Excise officials of Colorado view with horror the danger of intoxication which they claim, rests within the mince pie, and have decreed that in the future all traces of brandy shall be emitted from the delectable dessert. We have no quarrel with the excise officials of Colorado, but we ask if this is not carrying the enforcement of a prohibition law too far. Making a martyr of the mince pie is striking pretty close to home. It would give the civil authorities power, for instance, to enter the home, sample the mince pie before the family has a chance at it and, if they found it especially delightful, to condemn it and carry it away with them to eat it quietly and happily when they reached a secluded spot. The authorities could not be blamed for this exactly, because we have all seen mince pies which no human could resist. It's the family which has the kick coming. The wise housewife knows that it is not necessary to put brandy into mince pie to make it appealing to the palate. Others believe that the brandy gives it a tang which it could never attain without the use of alcohol. One famous cook explained the difference between mince pie with brandy and that without brandy was that the latter was "hash." Be that as it may, anybody will tell you—if he happens to know the alcohol which gets into the mince meat, gets out again in the process of cooking. Immediately the legal question will arise in Colorado, "When is a pie a pie?" In all probability the courts will be called upon to determine whether a pie is a pie before it is cooked, or after it is cooked. If the latter is the case, the pie-maker can only be charged with a violation of the prohibition law when the pie inspector calls before the pie goes into the oven. This, of course, makes it extremely difficult for the inspector. Aside from the ?????, however, the question remains how long will the American public ??? such absurdities of law-making?
The Daily Journal (Lackawanna, New York), January 14, 1916, p.3
How to Make Delectable Pies For the Winter Season
Cook three pounds of lean beef with a pound of suet until the meat is tender. Cool in the water, then remove the meat and chop fine, adding twice the amount of finely chopped apples. The apples should be washed, quartered and cored before chopping. The skins may be left on if chopped first. Add the suet which was cooked with the meat and which will rise and form a cake of fat on the top of the liquid. It should be chopped, and the water in which the meat was cooked should be placed on the stove and allowed to cook away to about a cupful of stock, which should be added to the chopped meat, apples and suet.
Now add two pounds of brown sugar, three cupfuls of molasses, three pints of cider, three pounds of seeded raisins, two pounds of currants, half a pound of very finely chopped citron, half a cupful of cider vinegar, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and mace, with salt and pepper. Add the spices slowly (a teaspoonful only at first), tasting frequently. The seasoning is the most important point in the mincemeat. Much depends on it, and it requires judgment to know what is lacking and just how much to add. If desired richer add orange and lemon juice with chopped quince preserve, also the sirop from the preserves with this addition. The combination is delicious and as rich as one would care to eat.
The Republican Journal (Ogdensburg, New York), December 22, 1917, page 1
Soldiers in France; Turkeys Won't
Arrive in Time; Cranberries Lost
(By The Associated Press.)
WITH THE AMERICAN ARMY IN FRANCE, Thursday, Dec. 20, (Delayed)—The great bulk of the American expeditionary force will not get its expected Christmas dinner.
The submarine attack forced the ship which was carrying cranberries to turn back, and through some unknown circumstances two ships which were carrying the supply of turkeys left the United States so late that it was impossible for them to arrive in France in time.
The turkeys which already have arrived in the army zone were left over from Thanksgiving, as was mincemeat which has been received. This supply, however, will go an extremely short way.
The Quartermaster's corps is now busy trying to secure a substitute for the anticipated Christmas provender on this side of the Atlantic, but the army is disappointed, for turkey at Christmas had been looked forward to by virtually every member of the command. The Quartermaster had made careful preparations, but his calculations went wrong, as today's announcement shows.
When the news became known among the forces there were loud cries of distress for many soldiers, and many envious eyes were cast at the roaming French poultry. From the general outlook now, it appears that the principal dish of the day will be "money turkey," which appears on the commissary list as ordinary canned corned beef.
Over one cook shop in the zone there has been erected a striking picture of a gobbler, under which is written:
The Brockport Republic (Brockport, New York), December 27, 1917, page 3
Tried on 500 Soldiers and pronounced Perfect
Washingon, Dec. 24. — Meatless mincemeat, another culinary triumph in the art of food conservation, has been brought to the housewives of the country by the National Emergency Garden Commission as a worthy companion to pumpkinless pumpkin pie and gingerless gingerbread.
The new mincemeat, officially described as a "camouflage," was tried on 500 troops on a transport, who pronounced it perfect and called for more.
Half a package of seeded raisins, half a pound of prunes stewed with lemon juice and peel, one-quarter cup sweet cider and four tablespoons brown sugar are the ingredients; chop the raisins and prunes together. The result is said to be a meatless mince meat pie which is said to cord with the food administration's meatless Tuesday.
As turkey does not violate the meatless day, Christmas dinner may be completely meatless now.
The Post Star (Glen Falls, New York), February 25, 1918, page 9
Sweet Potato Bread
Make sponge the same as for other bread.
Boil one good-sized sweet potato for each loaf. Mash soft with potato masher; put potatoes into the sponge, using same amount of flour as for other bread.
Knead all together into loaves and bake.
With the conservation of sugar that is now being so strongly urged, honey, "corn syrup," maple or brown sugar may all be used in place of white sugar in making mincemeats. There are a number of recipes for preparing mincemeat, from the richest, which is rather costly,—down to the green tomato mincemeat. Both of these inexpensive substitutes are excellent and, if properly made, will give a delicious pie filling at very small cost.
Although chooked [sic] beef has generally been used as the basis of the compound, beef tongue is really to be preferred. Boil the tongue until tender, chop finely and use in the same manner in which you used beef.
It is also best when making the mincemeat from the more costly formula, to prepare a quantity as it requires no more fuel and but little more time and labor to prepare six jars than are needed for one. Either veal or lamb's tongue may be substituted for the beef. If economy must be closely considered, plain boiled mutton will form no mean substitute.
Homemade mincemeat is always to be preferred to the very best varieties that can be purchased. The cleaned raisins and currants can now be brought by the package, the work of preparing it is greatly simplified. Exact proportions or weight should be used in the making although in the matter of spices, sweetening and other flavoring the individual taste may be followed.
Mix together two pounds of cooked tongue and one pound of fresh beef suet, both finely chopped, four pounds of Baldwin apples that have been quartered, pared and cored before chopping. Two cupfuls of thick honey, one small cupful of molasses, one quart of cider, two pounds of raisins, seeded and cut into pieces, a quarter of a pound of finely shredded citron, a quarter of a teaspoon of paprika, salt to taste and two ounces of minced candied lemon peel.
Turn into a kettle, add half a cupful of liquor in which the tongue was cooked and simmer for about one hour and a quarter. Half an hour before it is cooked mix in half a tablespoonful of mixed ground cinnamon and mace, one grated nutmeg, half a tablespoon of powdered cloves and one pint of boiled cider. This is a rich and delicious mincemeat, the recipe for which has been in used for over 100 years.
Warm together two cups sorghum, one cup shortening, two tablespoons ground ginger and beat for ten minutes. Add two teaspoons soda dissolved in a little hot water, one cup sour milk and enough flour to make a soft dough that can be rolled out. Turn on a floured board, cut into shapes and bake in a brick oven.
Sift two cups flour with one teaspoon soda and one-half teaspoon salt. Rub into the flour one cup chopped suet and add one cup raisins. Mix with one cup sorghum, one egg, one-half cup milk, juice of one-half lemon. Turn into buttered pudding dish and steam two hours.
The Ogdensburg Advance and St. Lawrence Weekly Democrat (Ogdensburg, New York), November 29, 1917, Page 6
You have baked for 30 years
To Save and Serve
Use None Such Mince Meat for regular mince pies, cakes, puddings, and cookies
Merrell-Soule Company . . Syracuse, N.Y.
The Sun (New York, New York), December 1, 1918, page 60.
Mincemeat Made Now Is Best for Christmas
You must make your own mincemeat this year. Of late years perhaps you have been buying it in little tin cans, but now no one buys anything in tins that she can possibly make for herself.
Don't imagine that you need go without this time honored adjunct of the Christmas dinner, however. If you glance through any mincemeat recipe you will see that though fairly expensive in ingredients and what the old time housewife would call rich, it is not rich in the ingredients that would make it unpatriotic. And with a little clever substitution it can be made as good a war time dish as johnnycake or corn dodger.
Mince pies are really sacred to Christmas, and it has been through a rather natural running together of our ideas of Thanksgiving and Christmas that we have sometimes had then on the first occasion as well as at Christmas. But in these days we don't indulge in more sweets than we really crave, and surely one kind of pie is enough.
So it is the wise housewife who has reserved mincemeat pie till after Thanksgiving. Make a good batch of mincemeat now, mellow it till your Christmas baking, and then leave it on hand to make pies for desserts occasionally during the cold weeks that follow Christmas.
Here is a Hooverized recipe for you. If you have a well tried recipe of your own perhaps it is better to stick to that, substituting corn syrup for almost all the sugar and lessening the quantities of meat used. This one, however, is excellent:
Two pounds of lean beef finely chopped, two pounds of suet also finely chopped, a quart of corn syrup, a scant pound of sugar, three or four quarts of firm and tart apples finely chopped, three pounds of chopped seeded raisins, three pounds of finely chopped citron, two pounds of currants, two teaspoons of salt, a cup of strong coffee, two cups of bottled cider, one teaspoon of cloves, one teaspoon of allspice, two teaspoons of cinnamon, and if you have it, a cup of currant jelly. All these ingredients should be put together and cooked for two hours and then turned into an earthen crock.
The beauty of mincemeat is that the goodness all depends on the palate of the one who makes it. It is never too late to add a little more of this ingredient or that.
In this recipe the candied lemon and orange peel are omitted with satisfactory results, because white sugar is required if they are used. Likewise some recipes give a little lemon juice and orange juice, but as these fruits are extremely high priced this year it is an omission that can well be made in the cause of war time thrift.
Brandy and sherry formerly had a permanent place in mincemeat, but perhaps we can forego the flavor added in that way this year, when even our cooking has "gone dry" and the harmless bottle of cooking sherry that sometimes used to be enthroned on the shelves where never a drop was ever sipped, has gone the way of other luxuries of peace, largely because of its high price.
Old time cooks used to make their mincemeat up after some standard recipe and then leave the crock in a convenient place, well covered with an earthen cover. Then as opportunity afforded they would add to it. Perhaps to-day they would have the rich juice from a jar of brandied peaches, tomorrow a few raisins would be left from dinner, and another day it would be convenient to add a little boiled down cider. But always there was constant tasting and nothing was ever added without the utmost careful discrimination by the housewife, who became in the course of many years' preparation of the Christmas pie quite an expert in the delicate art of tasting mincemeat.
There is a good suggestion there for the war time housewife. Of course you will want to put the meat and apples and suet and other things in that need cooking and the spices and bottled cider that are needed to preserve the other ingredients at the outset. Of course, brandy and sherry, if you had them, would not go in till boiling is over. This would spoil the flavor. But such additions as currant jelly and fruit juices may well be boiled later and put in the crock from time to time as you happen to have a little of these things left over. Then your mincemeat will become a real war time dish.
Now here is a suggestion for baking the mince pie. Don't bake up a batch of the pies and then keep them on hand a week. They are not so good to taste and far less wholesome that way. They are best when fairly fresh but not piping hot. The mincemeat itself may be kept on hand for weeks, even months, in a cool place, but once baked the crust becomes soaked, and it is far from wholesome if allowed to stand many hours.
Many persons bake the pies with a lower crust only and criss crossing of pastry for the upper crust. Others use plain pastry for the bottom crust and puff pastry for the top cover.
"Mock mincemeat," as it is called by the Food Administration, is not something that was invented specially to meet the demands of the war, for it is really no more or less than the green tomato mincemeat that old fashioned country cooks have long made. They refer to the pies when made as tomato pies. Here is the recipe as given by the Food Administration in a recent pamphlet:
Three pounds salted green tomatoes, two pounds apples, one cup chopped suet, two cups molasses, one cup corn syrup, one pound raisins, one cup vinegar, one teaspoon cloves, two tablespoons cinnamon, one teaspoon allspice, one teaspoon nutmeg. Soak the tomatoes for two hours and chop them fine. Chop the apples. Add the other ingredients and cook the mixture until it is thick. This mincemeat will keep for some time in a covered jar.
It is especially given in this pamphlet as one of the ways in which to use salted green tomatoes. They are made by packing well washed tomatoes in a container, covering them with a 10 per cent brine, covering them and weighting them down on top. It is best to cover them with a layer of grape, horseradish or Swiss chard leaves and to weigh them down with a large clean stone resting on an inverted plate.
If you have any salted green tomatoes you will find this an excellent way to use them.
Webpage and Transcription by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks