Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grandma Goldie's Mincemeat Pie

The photo above is my dad's family - from left George Dunn, daughter Lucille, unknown boy, wife Goldie holding son Vonda, and two unknown children on the far right. Grandpa George's family lived with a farmer named Smiser near Trafalgar, Indiana and helped work on his farm. Grandma Goldie cooked and took care of the farmer's children. The children in the photo were Smisers.

Why is it that the way we cook today never quite tastes as good as when we were growing up. My grandmother, Goldie Dunn made the best Mincemeat Pies every Thanksgiving and Christmas. That's one of the things I miss from both my grandmothers, they were the best cooks. I've often wondered how far back their recipes came from. I know a lot of home-cooking was handed down from mother to daughter and much of it was never written down. I've tried store-bought versions and I just can't quite take a liking to them. I'm going to give you a version of Goldie's recipe for Mincemeat Pie. This is the one she used and some of the measurements are missing. I experimented with the amount of meat, usually beef, and I like a little less vinegar - apple cider vinegar is best.

meat, chopped (abt. 2 cups from my trials)
6 lbs. apples
4 boxes raisins
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 pint vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar

Pick the cooked meat off the bone, put in pan. Put raisins in a pan with water and bring to boil for 10 minutes. Drain, put raisins in pan with meat. Add sugar, vinegar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Peel apples and cut them in thin slices. Add apples to mixture. Cook all for one hour. (You can freeze or can mixture.) Put mixture in pie shell with a top and bottom crust. Bake pie at 450 for 30 minutes.

Grandma Goldie would make a big batch at a time and can it all. Then she would send some home with my dad, so he could make us a pie once in a while. Me and my dad could sit down and eat a whole pie in a day or two. Thank goodness the rest of our family didn't want much of it!

Golda "Goldie" Edith Roberts, born 1899, was the oldest daughter of Joseph Roberts and Nancy Eunice Crouch. Her mother died rather young and that left Goldie to do the cooking for her dad and her four brothers - Ora, Basil, George, and Elmer. Joseph remarried a year later to Frances Harden. So Goldie got some relief from taking care of her younger brothers. I don't know if this recipe for Mincemeat was handed down from her mother, Nancy or her step-mother, Frances. The family says her step-mother took really good care of all the children and really took Goldie under her wing. They all had the best memories of Frances. It's a shame none of them can remember much of Nancy, except Goldie. She really loved her mother.

Joe and Frances had five more children together. The children that survived into adulthood were: Dolly, Clarence, Carson, Warren, and Eva. All are gone now except Eva, she still puts on the family reunion every year. Thanks to great aunt Eva a lot of the old family photos have survived and she's been very generous to share with all of us. The Roberts-Skinner Reunion is always the Sunday after the Labor Day weekend at Brown County State Park. We still have a lot of good cooks in the family!

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