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June 17, 2015


Well, there's a reason the stuff they sell now is called "mock mincemeat", or at least used to be. As I understand it, invented so that you could eat 'mincemeat' pie during Lent.

I've long had the ambition of making a real mincemeat pie, to see what it's like. Maybe I should reconsider, I typically have a pretty heavy hand with the nutmeg grinder.

sweetened meat....

reminds me of the Meat Trifle episode of Friends

Real mincemeat pie, with an absinthe chaser.

"Good" for what ails you.

If you want to make "real" (i.e. original) mincemeat pie, you might want to dig out one of the recipes from the Middle Ages. Rather less chance of doing yourself a mischief -- if only because of the relative lack of things like netmeg amongst the poor in those days.

Maybe. My oldest (paper) cookbooks are from the early 1900's, circa Great Depression.

Even I have aged more gracefully than Doc Smith's prose style.

That's why God invented the Internet. So you can look up ancient recipes, even when you don't have an ancient cookbook.

I do that on the nook. Sometimes hilarious what OCR does with those old time fonts.

Joel, even at the time it was written, Doc Smith's prose style was, intentionally, over the top. They not only don't talk like that anymore, they never did.

Hmm... I'd always heard it was Welsh rarebit (or more generally melted cheese) that was traditionally held to produce nightmares. "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend," and all that.

Obviously eating a lot of melted cheese just before bed is likely to give you bad heartburn, which could presumably disorder one's sleep in all manner of ways. I'd always assumed that was just the mechanism.

Eating too much cheese has given me waking nightmares on the next day, but they never involved halucinations. More like long periods contemplating the toilet paper holder.

I'd heard that nutmeg could be a hallucinagen, but assumed the dose was way, way outside normal culinary concentrations. I mean, it usually takes me a couple of months to use up even one of those things, and I LIKE nutmeg.

The Welsh Rarebit Fiend is a Gomer Pyle episode that for some reason has persisted in my memory for the last four decades.

My impression is that the dose of nutmeg required to get hallucinations will also make you feel really, really sick.

Doc, I just want to say this is one of the most delightful blog posts I have read in at least a year. It's for this kind of melange of ideas I used to read essays and now look for in the internet.

The only substantive thought I can add is that it was common, when I was a boy, if one got kicked in the groin area, for someone to shout "Nutmeg!" I used to think it was the analogy of treatment of the spice by a mortar and pestle to the region begin kicked. But now I wonder if it's the nausea following such an experience.

I think one of the problems with nutmeg as a recreational drug is that the line between activity and toxicity is very fine. I would definitely not recommend eating more than 1 quarter teaspoon (mixed in with other things).

The person I know who got nutmeg poisoning from badly-mixed quiche was a small woman, which I'm sure didn't help.

I'm sure variation in liver function is a major variable there, too. Humans eat a lot of things that will kill other species, because we've got such good livers.


Doerksen's article includes images of the recipes he worked from. The SF Chronicle recipe used 3 whole grated nutmegs and a tablespoon of mace (along with other things) to flavor 3 lbs beef, 6 lbs apples, 1.5 lb suet, and 4 lbs dried fruit. That's a *lot* of nutmeg, and I don't think it was supposed to make more than 6 pies.



I keep feeling like I ought to do more political thought-of-the-day posting, but there are so many people who can do that ...

yeah, Dr S.: good post.

I can attest to having, as wee lad, had mincemeat pie based on bear and had it subsequently explained to me that it was one of the few ways bear could be made at all edible, as it is tough, stringy and very fatty and gamey. I had uncles and cousins that were "country" enough that they would actually hunt bear and eat what the killed and a lot of aunts who were good cooks. Can't speak to the nutmeg content, though rum or brandy was almost certainly involved.

Anyway, this reminds me, I used the last of my nutmeg on some scalloped potatoes last Tuesday, time to stock up.

in our house, nutmeg goes on two things: sauteed spinach and egg nog.

Scalloped potatoes, apple pie, quiche. But your mention of egg nog has me thinking. I wonder if nutmeg would be a good icecream flavor?

I keep feeling like I ought to do more political thought-of-the-day posting

Dr S, *I* keep thinking I ought to do fewer political thought of the day posts. Maybe if I study more how you do it....

no no, wj, PLEASE keep doing what you feel moved to do! If we each follow our own Muse, maybe we can pull ourselves back to that "consistently updated" place!

I've actually had nutmeg-flavored ice cream. Doesn't work anywhere near as well as with egg nog.

Dr S, yeah but I sometimes feel the urge to challenge myself by trying something new. ;-)

Nutmeg works well with coarsely mashed carrot and turnip.

Heroes of medical science...
1829, the Czech physiologist Jan Evangelista Purkinje ingested three ground nutmegs with a glass of wine and recorded headaches, nausea, hallucinations, and a sense of euphoria that lasted for several days.

My own experience with MAOIs involved a particular blue cheese in France, some years ago. The symptoms were every bit as unpleasant as suggested above, and the hallucinations extraordinary... though euphoria was not part of it.

I haven't touched blue cheese since.

I've actually had nutmeg-flavored ice cream.

The only spice-based ice cream I've ever tried is cinnamon, which is amazing. It's truly tragic you hardly ever see it in the States.

(I did once find a recipe for sand cake whose raw batter tasted almost exactly like cinnamon ice cream, but given the unhealthy amount of butter in that - I can't remember off the top of my head if it was 2 or 3 sticks for a 2"x9" cake - I don't think that could possibly do as a placeholder...)

I like a little nutmeg on various sweet potato dishes I make. Also mashed creamed cauliflower, as well as the dishes others have mentioned.

This was a great post, marbled through with the tasty fat of fascinating arcane facticity.

Pynchonesque nearly.

I liked the previous post with the dried salmon and mice still life too, and the lust-bringing oysters and cats, two of my favorite creatures, one for eating on a first date, or alone, whichever happens more often (guess) and the other for company afterwards.

Which is which, you might ask?

I wonder how nutmeg tastes with grilled mice.

I admit I don't read much of the fanfic/scifi award stuff the DOC writes because it seems so inside baseball to me, but I wouldn't expect too many readers to spend time with my ruminations on the nuances of baseball's infield fly rule either.

Mince pie and the lead in fuel and paint.

A who's who of poisoned America.

Brett seems to really get into the nutmeg stash. Is this an attempt at self-explanation?

I can see myself in future, when he puts forth some thrilling conspiracy mongering, writing "Please put down the nutmeg and walk away!"

Probably this weekend at the latest.


That's very interesting, because your symptoms of MAOI interaction are not what I had, which was purely hypertension. You had something much more like nutmeg poisoning, in fact.

I'm betting that while I had an interaction between the MAOI and only one tricky amine, there were had many different biogenic amines in your blue cheese, each of which interacted with the MAOI slightly differently. Did you get high blood pressure, too?


That's a getting a bit too close to a personal attack on Brett. Cease, please.

It may be useful at this juncture to remind folks of the continuing availability of Taking It Outside, aka Hating On Charles Bird for us old-timers, as a venue for expressing those thoughts and feelings that might cross the posting rules threshold here on ObWi.

Operators are standing by 24/7.

That is all.

I'm pretty sure that the *original* mincemeat was not minced meat, and goes back considerably farther, perhaps sixteenth or 17th century. "Meat" was a general term for food as well as a specific term for flesh meat, and the old English mincemeat pies had (this is by memory) a good deal of dried fruit in them.

But I'm not in reach of my copy of _Food and Drink in England_ at the moment to check.

Back in the experimental days, which I have no excuse for surviving besides the dumb luck we are all blessed with, we tried to catch a buzz off ginseng. We made teas, incense, and any damn fool thing we could think of - never got anywhere. Much easier to water down Dads booze, at least until he caught on.

Err, Nutmeg, that is. Though prolly anything in the spice cabinet got a shot.

My "experimental" days are now, in my 50's. I was very straight laced when I was younger. Until my 40's, the only psychoactive substance I ever used was caffiene. Mainly in the form of tea.

Though mostly I like experiementing with food. Made some chicken mole over the weekend, and last night mashed up the leftovers with the sauce, and used it in siopao. It actually works amazingly well that way! I would definately do that again.

My "experimental" days are now, in my 50's. I was very straight laced when I was younger. Until my 40's, the only psychoactive substance I ever used was caffiene. Mainly in the form of tea.

Though mostly I like experiementing with food. Made some chicken mole over the weekend, and last night mashed up the leftovers with the sauce, and used it in siopao. It actually works amazingly well that way! I would definately do that again.

Anybody else have some good fusion recipes? I'll kick in my chicken mole siopao recipe.

My preferred Skylark

Since the Womens' World Cup is on, this seems relevant:


Team USA / "USWNT" have looked pretty underwhelming so far in the same way that Brazil did in their group -- and look what happened to them!

For me, I am nervous about England's chances against Norway. Technically, they are 5 places below us in the world rankings but, honestly, they got to the final of Euro2013 when England went out in the groups - so how our rankings are not reversed I do not know. Fingers crossed, and hoping that Hegerberg can't shoot between them.

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