TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What Is Mincemeat?

Mincemeat pies are in some places a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas dish.

What is mincemeat?


Mincemeat is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, and sometimes beef suet (the hard white fat on the kidneys and loins), minced—or finely chopped—beef or venison. Originally, mincemeat always contained meat, but many modern recipes contain beef suet or vegetable shortening, but no meat.


Fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth century recipes included vinegars and wines, but by the 18th century, distilled spirits, frequently brandy, were being used instead.