Issue 76 and Christmas has come early (again)

Written by Clive Webster

November 10, 2009 | 12:04

Tags: #jam #mince-pies

Companies: #christmas

Well, that's Issue 76 of Custom PC done and sent to the printers, and it's our Christmas issue (it'll be out Thursday, 19th of November) and of course, it features our traditional annual mince pie megatest.
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I'll leave the bit-tech write-up of the testing for a later, more festive date (one that's a bit closer to Christmas) but while proofing the mag's write-up I came across some pretty odd things...

It's not often that I browse Selfridges' website, but on checking the site for details of its entrant this year, I really have to thank Mark for opting for a nice pie to test, and not the hideous-looking chocolate mince pie.

Issue 76 and Christmas has come early (again) Christmas came early (again)
The results of a chocolate muffin and mince pie having some sexy time?

For our American cousins, who I'm told don't have the tradition of mince pies, a mince pie is a pastry shell filled with 'mincemeat' mix. Back in the days of yore it used to be actual meat, but we've since substituted that for a mixture of fruit peel, dried fruit, spices (nutmeg and so on) and some kind of sweet goo to make it all moist. Quite how that mix will marry with chocolate cakey-ness I dread to think.

It's become a Custom PC tradition to test Duchy Original pies, as they're made by the company that the heir to the British throne owns - only the Queen's Speech on Christmas Day is more Christmassy. Duchy Originals make lots of Organic food products as Prince Charles is really into responsible farming and food production. However, it seems a bit bizarre that the Duchy site has a big splash of fresh strawberries on it even though it's early November:

Issue 76 and Christmas has come early (again) Christmas came early (again)
Surely strawberry season is over by November?

Even weirder is the description of Duchy Original strawberry jam - the site proudly proclaims that the strawberries are grown in Norfolk and made into jam in Somerset. For those without intimate knowledge of the geography of England, those two locations are on opposite sides of our fair island - some 276 miles apart, if Google Maps is be believed.

Issue 76 and Christmas has come early (again) Christmas came early (again)
Just look at the distance those strawberries have to travel just to be turned into jam!

Why exactly does the jam have to be made in Somerset? Are the people of Norfolk incompetent when it comes to making jam? Are the people of Somerset genetically superior jam-makers? It's not as if jam is hard to make either - it's just boiled fruit with some added sugar and setting agent.

Well, I'd better get started on the next issue. In the meantime let me know what exactly North Americans do eat as Christmas treats, and whether you're looking forward to (or dreading) any Christmas traditions of your own.

Here's a quick preview of the front cover!

Issue 76 and Christmas has come early (again) Christmas came early (again)
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