“Prize Winning” Mincemeat?

At this year’s Christmas party we were prompted to tell a story, a funny tale, of something that happened in Christmases past. Applause at the end dictated who “won.” But, I’ll get back to that.

The husband LOVES mincemeat. I’d say he’s fairly obsessed. He loves it so much that when one of my elderly patients years ago told me about her homemade mincemeat, he could barely contain himself. One day she talked me through it–we were waiting for her exam, and what better way to pass the time? I can only talk about flossing so much–and I wrote it down and brought it home. Totally HOOKED.

Edith sold her canned mincemeat every year at a local Christmas bazaar. When the husband heard about that, he’d go on the first day and buy every jar, cleaning them out. EVERY SINGLE JAR. It was that good.

Well. The husband, he’s not dumb. Edith was pushing 90 and he figured she and her mincemeat wouldn’t be around much longer. He came up with a plan: he decided to make his own. If you’ve read about mincemeat, you know it can contain many different ingredients. Here’s an example:


This one, while it uses many ingredients, is not as elaborate as some. Edith cooks the meat the day before–all day long so the beef is very tender–eliminating that step the same day she does the canning.

But, let’s back up to ingredient #3. Suet. It’s raw beef fat taken from the area around the joints and kidneys and is used in traditional puddings and other dishes, including mincemeat. Suet can be hard to find. None of the local grocery stores carried it, nor did the butcher. He began calling stores in neighboring towns and found one vendor 40 minutes from home. He was determined. He made the trip and bought the suet.

On the big day, he cooked the meat, chopped the apples, added the suet, citron, raisins and spices. He’d made his first batch of mincemeat and the kitchen smelled heavenly. He was quite proud of himself. He used a recipe for freezer mincemeat, ending up with two, gallon-sized bags of yum. In the freezer they went. Still with me? Great.

A few weeks later he wanted a mincemeat pie for his birthday. It was a Friday and also our daughter’s birthday; he would fetch her later in the day. That morning, he headed for the freezer and with great excitement, retrieved one bag of mincemeat. He set it on the kitchen counter to thaw, to the LEFT of the sink. I’d make the pie later, and brownies for our daughter.

Afternoon had arrived and I headed for the kitchen as he left to pick up Kels. He’d be gone a while. Our son, also home for the weekend, walked in the kitchen to help me with dinner. Living in the country we compost nearly everything, “feeding” our garden when we can. What doesn’t go there –meat scraps, anything dairy–goes in a zip lock bag and into the garbage. I’ve trained my children well.

Andrew approached the sink and began scraping dishes. Sadly, I’d burned the brownies and since they weren’t salvageable, I set them out of my way, on the left, next to the thawing mincemeat. As we stood side by side at the sink–he on the left, I on the right–I busied myself with the pie and he continued scraping.

I’ll never know what stopped us, what it was about that moment, but suddenly, neither of us moved. Seconds (or minutes?) passed before we could look at each other. He’d scraped all the left over food garbage and the burned brownies into the bag containing his dad’s thawing mincemeat.

The air stopped moving. The tears fell. We couldn’t breathe. It was that moment when you cannot talk, you cannot look at each other, you cannot breathe. Time froze. There are no words. When we COULD look at each other, the tears flowed harder and my face and gut began to hurt. The belly laugh ripping my guts–that dam ready to burst–was the most powerful laugh* I’ve ever known (and one beautiful moment I’ll always have with my son, one I’ll never forget). All I could think of was beef, driving for the suet, apples, chopping, and the husband’s sheer determination to replicate Edith’s recipe.

Of course, before we’d had a chance to recover, the husband and our daughter walked in to red faces, tears, uncontrollable laughter, and we were forced to explain. Fortunately, the husband is the most easy-going person I know. He rolls with the punches, gives everyone the benefit of the doubt (until proven otherwise), and lets things go way, way sooner than I ever can or do.


❤ Back at the party, several stories were shared, but applause for ours was the loudest. ❤

*This particular Friday, that very morning, I’d lost my job. If there ever was a time I needed a laugh, this was it. I am thankful for my children (and easy-going husband) every single day.

Image of pie courtesy of the Internet.

Please share your funny stories!

  38 comments for ““Prize Winning” Mincemeat?

  1. December 8, 2017 at 10:00 am

    What a lovely story !! I’m also just letting you know that I’ve nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award 🙂 no worries if you don’t have time/don’t want to. https://citrusandcinnamon.com/2017/12/08/mystery-blogger-award/
    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 22, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      Hello Mairi, I must apologize for just now seeing this message from you. I learned that many of my messages went to my trash file without my permission. The nerve! So, I am going back to respond to those kind folks who wrote. Your message was one of them. Thank you so much for the nice compliment on my mincemeat story. I also thank you for the nomination. I’m guessing that the time has passed, but I really appreciate your thinking of me. My best to you. I just checked your blog and I will definitely be back. Thanks again. Have a great day!


  2. December 17, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    That’s a terrific story! I’m glad your husband was so good about his loss, as it wouldn’t have been nearly so funny if he hadn’t been. But sometimes life works out just right: your husband may not have gotten his mincemeat pie, but you got a much needed laugh that day, and a special memory with your son.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 17, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks, Ann. I think the higher powers were with me that day; I needed that boost (and have often had that same thought you mentioned when I think of this day). And, yes, when my husband walked in and realized what happened–after we were capable of speaking–he was disappointed about the loss but the twinkle in his eyes told me he was laughing right along with us. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. December 16, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I so loved how you told this story. It’s one for the books. I’ve learned a lot about mincemeat today. I liked it the one time I had it. Just not obsessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 17, 2016 at 7:23 am

      Thank you, Marlene! And, was the mincemeat you had home made or store bought? The one thing I forgot to mention in the story was the difference. Store bought: nasty. Homemade: heavenly. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy
    December 16, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Wonderful story—did he ever make it again??

    Liked by 1 person

  5. December 16, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Karen that was absolutely priceless! Sounds like your mince loving man’s a good sport, just as well hey. Thanks for the smiles this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 16, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you! He’s a fabulous sport. In fact, he’s always cheery but especially in the morning. His upbeat “Good Morning!” is always greeted with grumbles and snarls by our daughter because she is anything but cheery (before coffee, and me, too, if the truth be told). hehehehehe. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 16, 2016 at 4:16 pm

        Oh my, he sounds so similar to my man. In fact the whole scenario sounds very similar to that of my household in the morning. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. December 16, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Oh Karen – I’m laughing loudly too at this story…. I have to admit though that given the circumstances and ‘effort’, I think I’d have been scraping off the rubbish and making the pie.. maybe cooking for slightly longer than normal and serving it to hubby and explaining that I’m going to refrain from eating it so there’s even more for him to enjoy! Hope you’re all sorted for Xmas (I’m not….)? Have a lovely weekend xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      It wasn’t possible even though we wanted to fix this, badly. We looked at the amount of food “stuff” in the bag with the mincemeat that we just could not. That’s what made it funnier. Poor guy. Tee hee hee…..;)

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 16, 2016 at 3:21 pm

        Ahhh bless him.. I feel mean for laughing.. and so should you… NOT!!! hahaahahhahxx

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 16, 2016 at 3:44 pm

          LOL! 🙂 Our son (who did the dirty deed) is now in Vietnam and when I wrote this post I started really missing him and thinking of how he would respond to that memory. He’d laugh with the best of them. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • December 17, 2016 at 12:04 am

            Ahh – bless you Karen… I’m sure you must really miss those laughs.. but remember it’s only temporary and you’ll be able to catch up soon I’m sure! Thinking of you!! xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • December 17, 2016 at 7:25 am

              Thanks, Wendy. Yep, he’s coming home soon. ❤ Have a great weekend.

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 17, 2016 at 6:43 pm

              Phew.. we have to ‘let them go’ but it’s good to get them home too.. You have a lovely weekend too – thankyou! x

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 20, 2016 at 7:56 am

              I’m counting the days. How are your plans coming along?

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 20, 2016 at 8:28 am

              Hi Karen – Just got home for mega Xmas shop so nearly finished.. just a couple more presents and some food.. So pretty good by comparison to other years where I’ve been working flat out up to Xmas Eve.. Phew!! What about you? Is your son home for Xmas or afterwards? x

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 20, 2016 at 8:45 am

              Hi, Wendy. I participated yesterday in the First Annual Mother/Daughter Ugly Christmas Sweater Shopping Spree. We had a blast. We met my childhood friend and the three of us giggled our way through the day; we even got compliments on our wardrobe (much to our surprise). I’m nearly done shopping so now it’s house and food preparations for Sunday. I’m refusing to stress…so far…;) Enjoy!! ❤

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 20, 2016 at 8:52 am

              Fantastic Karen.. We went to our local theatre which is a lovely theatre dating back to the early 1900’s and which was renovated very lovingly a few years ago.. Look it up if you fancy a peep it’s called The Plaza in Stockport.. It’s so quaint and the Xmas Pantomime with my granddaughters was real Xmas Fun and truly began our festivities. I’m off shortly to a local Church to the Carol Service which my granddaughter is singing in with her school choir.. Lovely.. xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 20, 2016 at 9:00 am

              Wonderful. That makes me smile. I am SOOOO looking forward to being a grandma–but that will be a while yet. I hope you post pix of your special day. Thanks for the smiles. Enjoy! ❤

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

              We couldn’t take photo’s inside once the performance started but I’ve got a couple that I’ll pop on there over the next couple of days.. Yep – I’m lucky to have the girls living so close by.. You’re turn will come when the time is right… no rush! xx


            • December 22, 2016 at 8:17 am

              Yes, I’ve felt the same: the time is right when the time is right. Hugs to you!

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 22, 2016 at 10:09 am



            • December 20, 2016 at 8:55 am

              ps… I’ve never heard of a mother/daughter ugly Xmas Sweater Competition but it sounds like tremendous fun! xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 20, 2016 at 10:28 am

              Well, it wasn’t really a competition; it was my daughter’s idea to wear our bad sweaters in public. She said before we left the house, “You only live once.” 🙂 I love that spirit. ❤

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

              Hahahahah – how fantastic.. She sounds like she’s a ‘chip off the old block’ Karen.. Like mother like daughter! Fabulous spirits…. travelling from one generation to the next! xx


            • December 22, 2016 at 8:14 am

              She’s definitely more brave than I….and I love it. 🙂 Enjoy your week, Wendy! ❤

              Liked by 1 person

            • December 22, 2016 at 10:09 am

              haha – thanks Karen.. I am and hope you are too! x


            • December 22, 2016 at 11:10 am



    • December 16, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      P.S. I am mostly sorted. Sort of. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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