Bear Mincemeat Pie? November 11 2013

Digging through recipes for Thanksgiving, we stumbled upon one family dish that is particularly curious. 

In the “Tested Recipes Cook Book” compiled by The Thursday Sewing Club of Concord, NC in 1935, Mrs. C. F. Ritchie submitted a recipe for “Bear Mincemeat Pie.” We’re pretty sure that caught everyone’s attention!

Now, authentic mincemeat is often made with fruit, beef, even venison … but bear? It’s especially curious given the bear sighting in downtown Concord last summer.

Our copy of the cookbook has “Bear” crossed out in our grandmother’s handwriting and replaced with “Pear.” That makes more sense. Maybe the recipes were tested, just not carefully edited.

We may never know the real story, but it’s a good one to contemplate over a piece of mincemeat pie this Thanksgiving. And, if you happen to have a crowd this year, you’re in luck. Mrs. C.F. Ritchie always cooked for a crowd.

Here's to great stories around the Thanksgiving table, 

The Ritchies

Bear… ahem, Pear Mincemeat Pie


  • One peck of pears
  • Five pounds of brown sugar
  • Two packages of raisins
  • One cup of wine or vinegar or half and half
  • Tablespoon of cinnamon and allspice each
  • Two teaspoons of cloves


Quarter pears and cut out core. Put through meat grinder, also the raisins. Put all together and cook two and one-half hours. Do not peel pears.

That’s all. No instructions on assembling the pie itself.  Maybe no instruction was needed in 1935...

Cooking for a smaller crowd? Try this Southern Living Recipe