Mention mincemeat pies, and most folks wrinkle their noses in horror. “Meat and prunes,” I remember thinking as a child, a combination as frightening as liver and squash, which wound up on my dinner plate on terrible occasion. These days I love liver and squash (think grilled, still-pink calves’ liver with onions, and roasted butternut squash spiked with a bit of cumin, fennel seed and garlic). And I also have learned to love mince pies. But don’t even consider the mincemeat that comes out of a can; I think that’s what gave me the willies back when. Think dried currents, raisins, orange and lemon peel, apples, brown sugar, butter and brandy, and you’ve got more to do with sugar plums than with meat pasties.
Mince pies are an ancient holiday tradition in England. In medieval times, the small pastries, called chewette, did indeed contain meat or liver, boiled eggs and ginger. Over time, chopped dried fruit was added to enrich the taste. By the 19th century, the meat had vanished, although beef suet was used for fat content.
Novici Haizel grew up between Accra, Ghana; New York; Geneva and London, where she learned to bake in the High Tea tradition. Mince pies are a holiday speciality, one that she has loved since she was a child. When she opened her tea room and cake shop in the Oil Center, mince pies came on the menu following Thanksgiving. Last year, she convinced me to taste one of the small tarts. I was a convert on the spot. She bakes them through December. It’s considered good form to eat a mince pie every day during the 12 days of Christmas, one for every happy month of the next year.
Drop by Novici’s, in the Oil Center Gardens, for a truly delicious taste of mince pie, $3 each, or call to order, 739-2379.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.