Random Food Facts

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Sometimes I find little tidbits and odd facts that I want to share with you, and I thought December would be a fun time to do this, especially since these tidbits have a link to the holidays.

Mincemeat—a true mincemeat, that is—really does have meat in it. Mince is the word used in Britain for ground beef. Centuries ago, meat was preserved by combining mincemeat with a blend of spices, beef fat (suet), vinegar and fruits. These days, you rarely get a true mincemeat pie (with beef). Although really good fruit mincemeat is often made with suet, which lends a touch of beefy flavor to the complex combination. Check out History of Mincemeat Pie, which has links to some authentic mincemeat recipes.

Yorkshire Pudding is not pudding at all, but a bread that most closely resembles … hmm, well a popover, if I had to choose something. The ingredients are the same: flour, milk and eggs … Crusty brown shell filled with just baked egg-y dough in the center. Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding makes an appearance on many a British Christmas dinner table.

In Venezuela, Christmas meals traditionally include hallacas (ay-ya-kas), which look similar to tamales, if you are familiar with that cornmeal-based dish. The cornmeal, in this case, is filled with a mixture of slow-cooked beef, pork, olives, raisins and more (of course, everyone’s own mother makes the best hallacas!) then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. If you are interested in checking out a recipe, here is a good onethat gives alternatives to the banana leaf wrappers.

Suet is beef fat and a big part of British cooking. There are suet crust meat pies and suet infused desserts (puddings, if you are in England, although not Yorkshire pudding in this case). Read about a fun challenge of making something sweet with suet –traditional steamed Christmas Plum Pudding is made with suet. You can check out one of the very best versions, Delia Smith’s Christmas Pudding (made with suet!) here.

Do you have an interesting beefy fact for us? Leave it for all to read in the comments section.

Barb Freda

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