Don’t put raw beef in a dessert and serve it with custard, please
Two years after Eater’s position on Quality Chop House’s mince on dripping toast put the essential London restaurant at the centre of an online storm, the Anglo-American accord on mince is again under strain. American recipe website The Spruce took a Christmas submission from British food writer Elaine Lemm for a mincemeat and apple tart; mistook mincemeat, the sweet, alcoholic mixture of dried fruits, spices, and either beef or vegetable suet for straight raw beef mince; unquestioningly put that raw mince in a pastry case topped with apples; recommended serving it with custard; and then put the whole thing online.
With its perfect combination of ingredient synergy, troubling photography, and a reminiscence of Rachel’s disastrous trifle in Friends that was definitely overinflated, the tart set the internet ablaze, occupying a particular corner away from senior Tory sources fabricating punch ups and those punch ups being regurgitated uncritically by senior political broadcasters.
First: the history. Mince pies and their tart counterparts originally majored on beef, hence the name; now fewer companies and restaurants use beef, but some of London’s best mince pies rely on it. Confusion is reasonable. Arguments appeared suggesting that Britain has since renamed mincemeat as “sweet mincemeat” (really?); that British food is like this and so, duh, it’s real (the 1950s and the New York Times called, they want your take back); that the most amazing thing is that the entire cross-cultural cock up managed to avoid being racist (yes.) The most confusing thing appears to be that the recipe contains a cross-link to mince pies, complete with an explanation of mincemeat and its history, that went entirely unheeded. Poor treatment for what all can agree is... A quintessential British Christmas classic.
utterly obsessed with this american site that has confused mince with mincemeat, and created this abomination pic.twitter.com/Y31NqYGYrV— Luke Bailey (@imbadatlife) December 9, 2019
Ok sorry UK this is on you for calling beef "mince" and fruit "mincemeat." You're the ones that said "meat"!! Don't say meat if you don't mean meat!!! https://t.co/GZiuVpEsKC— Jaya Saxena (@jayasax) December 9, 2019
Shoutout to the bad mincemeat pie for being a hilarious cultural-mistransmission content fuckup that is somehow amazingly not racist— Helen Rosner (@hels) December 9, 2019
And in other news...
- Incredible cookbooks, beautiful knives, and a perfect peeler: Eater London’s Christmas gift guide is here.
- A testament to Singaporean cafe culture in Borough Market is one of the best new cafes in London.
- Mark Wahlberg’s Wahlburgers is looking to sell its only London restaurant after six months.
- Burrito slinger Chilango confirms it will restructure its restaurants to avoid administration — this will likely include closures. [Propel]
- Good tweet: