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Blamed for bad health, murderous dreams, the downfall of Prohibition, and the decline of the white race, it nonetheless persisted as an American staple through the s.
Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe Cover of the December 17 Reader; click image to enlarge As an icon of the American way, apple pie is a johnny-come-lately, a usurper, a pale pretender to its pastry throne.
The phrase as American as apple pie is of 20th-century origin and didn't attain wide currency until the s. Perhaps not coincidentally, the 40s are also when mince pie went into eclipse as our defining national dish.
But to its 19th- and earlyth-century admirers, mince pie was "unquestionably the monarch of pies," "the great American viand," "an American institution" and "as American as the Red Indians. Acquiring an appreciation for it was proof that an immigrant was becoming assimilated.
It was the indispensable comfort dish dispatched to American expeditionary forces in World War I to reinforce their morale with the taste of home. Custard pie is good and so is apple pie, but neither has the uplifting power and the soothing, gratifying flavor possessed by mince pie when served hot, with a crisp brown crust.
It was beloved as an entree, as dessert, and, in parts of New England, as breakfast. And although more popular in winter than summer, and absolutely mandatory at Thanksgiving and Christmas, mince pie was eaten year round, unconfined to the holiday ghetto it now shares with iffy ritual foods like eggnog, green bean casserole, and marshmallow candied yams.
Most remarkably, mince pie achieved and maintained its hegemony despite the fact that everyone—including those who loved it—agreed that it reliably caused indigestion, provoked nightmares, and commonly afflicted the overindulgent with disordered thinking, hallucinations, and sometimes death.
Consider the case of Albert Allen of Chicago, arrested in for shooting his wife in the head. The other fellow was cheating and I tried to shoot his fingers off. When I awoke, I was holding the pistol in my hand and my wife was shot. The point is that newspapers from the time of the Early Republic through the s abounded with comparable cautionary anecdotes—as well as a lot of jokes—about the dangers of mince pie.
Supposing Allen's excuse was on the level, he got off lightly compared to poor George Humphreys, whose death at sea, initially ascribed to yellow fever, was subsequently determined to have resulted from his gluttonous consumption of three mince pies—or so the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in Not rotten or poisoned or contaminated mince pies, mind you: But for every published warning on the dangers of mince, the newspapers published a poem, essay, or editorial praising it as a great symbol of American cultural heritage or a nostalgic reminder of mother love and better times bygone—or even, as the State of Columbia, South Carolina, asserted ina beneficial Darwinian instrument that had "thinned out the weak ones" among the pioneering generations.
The mince pie we speak of here bears only passing resemblance to present-day mincemeat pie, that gooey vegetarian article sitting next to the store-bought gingerbread men at office holiday parties. I set out recently to bake two large mince pies by scaling down recipes published in the s by the Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle.
The former I chose for its local provenance and wealth of detailed instructions, the latter for its reassuring headline: My plan was to take these beefy dishes to the Thanksgiving dinner I'd been invited to, persuade or coerce the guests there to try them, and canvass their reactions.
Suet, if you don't know, is raw, shredded beef fat, ideally harvested from the regions around the loins and kidneys.
Except for people who stuff their birdfeeders with it in wintertime, there's not much call for this commodity in these cholesterol-conscious times, but the butcher at Villager Foods in Oak Park was kind enough to run off a greasy, maggot-white batch especially for me at a reasonable price. Next I was off to the grocer's to procure sweet unfermented apple cider, raisins, currants, a big bag of Granny Smith apples, and a pint of brandy.
Back home I reluctantly submerged the gorgeous top-round roast in boiling water, then left it to simmer for three hours. Simultaneously I boiled the cider until its volume was reduced by 85 percent, which yielded the syrupy goo known logically enough as boiled cider.
As my pots steamed and bubbled away on the stovetop, I assiduously soaked and rinsed the currants per the Trib's advice, so that they wouldn't introduce any dirt into my pies. This effort was probably wasted—I believe our current currant producers have found a technological fix for the dirt problem.
But the instruction helped me make sense of an enticing advertisement I'd read in the Anaconda Montana Standard touting a local bakery's mince pies as "absolutely free from grit. Heaven forbid any fat should sneak into a dish that calls for fistfuls of suet. My meat minced and my cider boiled, I combined these two ingredients with a mountain of chopped and peeled apples, a foothill each of raisins and currants, two cups of molasses, and a terrifying three-quarters of a pound of suet.
Dividing the resultant glop into two batches—Trib and Chronicle—I heavily seasoned both with cloves, allspice, and cinnamon.Microbial flora on restaurant beverage lemon slices.
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From bar . The 13 Germiest Places You Need to Know. Reviewed By Avrom Simon, MD on 6/21/ Enough so that there can be up to times more bacteria on a restaurant menu than a toilet seat!
Bacteria on one diner's hands can get on a menu and can survive up to 48 hours. "Microbial Flora on Restaurant Beverage Lemon Slices" NPR: "Dirty Money: A.
MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image – a place setting for a meal.
Before you eat, think about what goes on . Y'all ready for this lengthy essay? When we entered the restaurant it took about 5 minutes for someone to even appear at the host stand.
Should've walked out then. Yelp users haven’t asked any questions yet about TGI Fridays. Ask a Question. P.S.- the water was so bad that we didn't want to drink it until we received the lemon.
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