11.335 Mincemeat

Cycle 11 – Item 335

5 (Sat) December 2020



by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

Newbery 100 Medals, 100 Meals (23) (see also NEWBERY)

While reading the 99 books that have been awarded the annual Newbery Medal since 1922 – leading up to the 100th winner to be announced next year – I will also attempt to create one dish for every book, a dish that is directly referenced in or indirectly inspired by the events of the book.  Food plays a strong role in many of the stories; not surprising as the characters in most of the books are faced with adversity of some sort, including poverty, so they’re often very hungry and thus grateful whenever they get a bite to eat – as we all should be at every meal, literally give us this day our daily bread.  The dishes will be featured as posts on Give Me This Day.

Ginger Pye (1952) by Eleanor Estes.  The book is about Jerry and Rachel Pye, who buy a puppy – “He’s purebred, part fox terrier and part collie.  There may also be a little bull in him too.” – and name him Ginger – “People will think it is Gingerbread.  And all the while it will be Ginger Pye.” – and then, when Ginger suddenly disappears, try to track down a guy with a yellow hat, who they suspect kidnapped Ginger – “Vilyun.  It must be vilyun because vilyun sounds more vilyunous than villun.”

I enjoyed the book.  What I thought would be a fairly standard tale about a cute dog turned out to be a fun mystery story, with a bit of edge in the mysterious bad guy.

Sealed and frozen this entire time (see 9.337 Sundubu Jjigae).

Mincemeat is an English pie filling.  Traditionally made with minced meat (e.g., beef, venison), chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, prunes), mixed with spices (e.g., nutmeg, cinnamon) and liquor (e.g., brandy, rum), plus sugar and juice.  Modern recipes sometimes omit the meat, while retaining the name.

[paraphrased in part]

One night when Jerry and Rachel had been desperately knocking on doors asking people had they seen Ginger, a certain lady came to the door and before they could even get out the sentence about Ginger she held up her hands and said, “I’m making mincemeat.  Can’t you see I’m making mincemeat?”  And she slammed the door in their faces.  Her hands hadn’t had any mincemeat on them that they could see, but the way she held them up and the way she said, “mincemeat,” made them imagine they were dripping with it.  So they called her “Mincemeat” from then on.

Not for an instant did I consider making a mincemeat pie.  First, I detest fruit, especially dried fruit, especially dried fruit as an ingredient in cooked food.  Further, the thought of meat in a sweet dish made me gag.  Reminds me of the Friends episode where Rachel accidentally adds ground beef to an English trifle (Joey: “What’s not to like?  Custard – good!  Jam – good!  Meat – good!”) (see also 2.266 Gorgonzola Blueberry Ribeye Steak).  Also reminds me of picadillo (11.288 Picadillo and Rice), which does contain beef and raisins, along with many other components.  Anyway, nobody in the book actually eats mincemeat, so I didn’t feel obligated to make it.

Instead, I decided to do a dish simply involving minced meat, literally.  It started off as beef kofta, seasoned with spices that I had purchased in Lebanon exactly 3 years ago tomorrow (see 9.335 Legendary Meat on Dough), formed into thin logs on wooden skewers, intending to broil them (actually, I had planned to go camping this weekend, where I would’ve grilled them over coals).  However, the mixture turned out too wet – maybe too much onion – so the logs wouldn’t keep their shape.  I discarded the skewers, made meatballs, and cooked them in the air-fryer.

Set for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.
Flipped after 10 minutes.

The meatballs were okay.  The best part was that they came out of the air-fryer still round, evenly cooked – I am loving this device.  A tad crumbly on the bite.  Despite the Lebanese seasonings, they tasted like regular Italian-American meatballs, which isn’t a bad thing.

With the kofta, I had planned to cook pilaf.


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