Confusion on the way home

Reading time: 3 mins

“Ohhh that reminds me,” she said “I’ve got a mince pie for you”.

Considering we had been talking about the screeching fan belt of the car in front of us, this was a bit of a leap. I’m not sure what reminded her but I let that slide, you don’t learning nothing after 10 years of marriage. Quickly my mind caught up with hers and I too started to ponder dinner.

“Great,” I said. “Hmmm, do we have any potatoes in or shall I stop at the shops?”

A simple enough request, one would have thought, yet the silence remained broken only by her bemused glance.

“ummmm, yes there are some in the fridge…” she assured me, with a definite tone of bewilderment.

Unsure of her confusion I continued, “Hmmm, is there any veg? or maybe just have beans with it…?”

Her response was less than satisfactory, unless you are a farmyard animal perhaps, but where I grew up snorting doesn’t really constitute an answer. I glanced across at her and could just see the beginnings of a smile, creeping across her face. What was going on? Had I missed something? I tried to figure out what she was up to but she derailed my train of thought.

“Why?” she asked, with a hint of a smirk.

OK, this was getting annoying. What was she grinning at? Can’t a man consider the dietary requirements of his evening whilst driving home? What is so wrong with enjoying a nice cooked pie with some delicious boiled potatoes, some beans, a nice big slab of butter and a cold beverage. After all, there was entertainment in the form of football later on, so best to set myself up with a hearty meal! Food of kings if you ask me.

So why was my Queen mocking me so?

Determined to find out I pushed aside thoughts of her forthcoming beheading (I may be a handsome king but I rule my land with an iron fist) and pressed on.

“To have with the mince pie for dinner… I was thinking we could just chuck on some bea…. Hey, what IS so funny… what are you laughing at!”

Try as I might I could not get a word from the giggling buffoon sitting in the passenger seat next to me. Perplexed, I left her to it and tried to figure out what it was that was making my wife laugh so hard that she had tears streaming down her cheeks and was starting to have trouble breathing…

Then I realised.

I shall now pause this story to explain that this, dear reader, is why I hate Christmas.

It’s not the rushing about like an idiot to find presents that at least look like you didn’t just pick them up because it was all that was left in the shop.

Nor is it the bombardment of adverts on TV, radio, billboard and newspaper.

It’s not even the “it’s Christmas so everyone must be jolly” attitude that is rammed down your throat at every occasion.

No, the reason I hate Christmas is because I seem to be the only person who makes the effort to ensure that the, somewhat distinct and pronounced, difference between mince and mincemeat is properly communicated.

Yes I know mincemeat used to have meat in it but it doesn’t anymore and, truth be told, I quite enjoy a mince round now and again. Anyway, just because I refuse to bow to peer pressure whilst the rest of you weak-willed, soft-minded idiots happily follow the crowd of sheep bleating “mince pie, mince pie” does NOT make it one and the same thing.

I’m sorry, I refuse to budge. I refuse to yield. I am right. YOU are ALL WRONG. That small, round, deliciously sweet and spicy pie you have with your morning coffee on Christmas morning, is a MINCEMEAT pie. What is so hard about remembering that? Is it the flashy lights on the tree? The brain damage from barging your way through the drinks aisle at the supermarket? Or perhaps you forgot to put the brandy on the Christmas pudding this year because you drank it all and turned your brain to mush, you bumbling, drunken fool.

Regardless. Mincemeat is not mince.

Now, where were we, ohhh yes…

“Darling, I love you dearly, you are the light of my life, the air in my lungs and everything that is good in my world. But for fuck’s sake, STOP LAUGHING AT ME!!!”

11 comments

  1. In this day and age it amazes me that The Nanny State (or the Grandmother State – ie the EU) haven’t outlawed the use of the term ‘mince pie’ as it is not either a pie containing meat or mashed up (nor does it move in an affected, dainty manner).

    Am I the only person who would rather have almost anything else than one of those ‘treats’?

  2. Gordon, you have full right to call it whatever you please.

    And the rest of the 99.8 per cent of the country who wish to call it what they wish to call it, the common, accepted name (albeit one which, I observe, is apparently indicative of a political slough and the fact that the country is going to hell in a handbasket, as ever) will call it that.

    But surely isn’t minceMEAT even more misleading? Because there’s nothing ‘meat’ about it. Well, apart from the suet.

  3. We had veggie-mince pie with potatoes for dinner just last night. It was yum.

    The mincemeat vs mince confusion is funny. I would have laughed too.

  4. We always referred to them as “sweet mince pies” when I was a child, and I have stuck with that. I had my first one last night, and very nice it was too.

  5. Ok, Mr Pedant – I thought of you this afternoon. I looked in our cupboard at a box of Mr Kipling Mince Pies. I was going to photograph the box of Christmastime pies, but that might have been taking things too far. You’re just going to have to take this one. Calling them mince pies rather than mincemeat is perfectly acceptable and in very common use.

  6. Somebody said in a comment that “mince pie” is the commn accepted name. Well, I disagree. That depends on where you live and I suppose 80-odd % of people in Britain do live in England but I still don’t think the name they use is the accepted one, cos I for one, amd others I know, just don’t accept it. Keep calling them mincemeat pies. Use the word or lose it!
    Scottish names will erode away, though, because the pies are often produced centrally and turn up in Scottish shops packaged in boxes,eg by Mr. Kipling. You see what’s happening? The major supermarkets’ posters etc too are published for distribution throughout GB so you will see big signs in those shops advertising “Mince Pies”. Grrrr.
    Yes, we know it has no meat, but that’s just historical.
    Do people walk into the butcher’s shop and ask for a pound of mincemeat when they really want mince?
    There are other discrepancies. Turnips and swedes come to mind.
    Santa or Father Christmas?
    Watch out, Hogmanay (stress on the LAST syllable) could even disappear in favour of New Year’s Eve!

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