Now that Christmas is merely a hazy memory akin to my recollection of the precise location that I last parked my car, I feel the need to do a post-mortem analysis on the whole sorry affair, focusing in particular on a cornerstone of the festive foundations; mince pies.
It’s a Deal, it’s a Steal.
On the second day of January this year I was re-stocking our pantry at the local comestibles super-emporium when I picked up a pack of six mince pies that had been reduced to 10p. The store in question was still trying to shift an enormous pallet load of the things, but these pies were hanging around like the mate that seemingly doesn’t want to leave after staying over the night so just moulds himself into the sofa eating crisps instead. Unfortunately, you can’t reduce the price of your friend to the point that he’s so cheap someone will simply pay to take him away, as you can with mince pies. More’s the pity.
Anyway, in the true spirit of bargains being something you don’t need at a price you cannot resist, and despite Christmas being over, I grabbed a pack of these little pastry packages. I have no time for the idea of restricting the consumption of such items to a brief period in late December. I understand that eating the seasons is A Good Thing in respect of buying fresh produce but when it comes to mince pies and Christmas pudding they’re evergreen in my eyes. At university my friends and I gorged on ultra-reduced Christmas puddings for several weeks one new year after encountering similarly judicious discounting. Yet I still wonder why I put on weight at university…
Back at home with my winnings, I demonstrated some restraint and ate a single pie. On day two, two pies seemed a far more appropriate and balanced portion. On day three I sat down with a hot drink and ate the remaining three pies, because offering anything less seemed stingy and I would hate to think of myself as an inadequate host, even if I am also the only guest.
Once the pies were consumed, with my mug duly drained, I basked in the satisfied glow of knowing that I had successfully cleared the kitchen of some unnecessary clutter by consuming these pies. I proceeded to hide the evidence and whilst transferring the wrappers to the bin I glanced at the box, only to see that each pie contained a fantabulous 262 calories, or a total of 786 calories for the three pies I’d just consumed, which accounts for 31.44% of my calorific RDA. That’s probably the same amount of calories that my lunch should contain, without even touching on the fundamental pillars of nutritional value which I suspect the pies didn’t fully take into consideration.
This isn’t Weight Watchers.
I’m not naïve, I don’t expect something made from dried fruit, animal fat, alcohol and wheat to be healthy, nor do I expect a product which falls firmly into a cake-like category of food to fulfill any of my dietary needs, other than the unerring need to eat the things that aren’t particularly good for me. But I was genuinely surprised that something so small, which wasn’t a spoonful of lard, could contain so many calories.
The published pack weight of six pies was 355g which makes me suspect that Gareth Keenan’s calculator was on duty the day they worked out product mass as that makes each pie a rather obtuse 59.1667g, with each of those grams containing significantly more calories than Christmas pudding grams do.
Mince Pies Equivalence Scale.
In the interests of public health information I decided to consult a few reliable sources and do some maths to work out what other foods I could have ingested for the same calorific value that my three mince pies gave me and I came up with the following.
177.5g of mince pie (3 pies) equals:
A double cheeseburger, fries and coke
1.25kg low-fat yoghurt
250g Christmas pudding
8.27 medium bananas
All this left me surprised, pondering what part of the composition of mince pies makes them such calorific monstrosities and also leaves me curious as to what my energy intake via them was during the Christmas period. Especially considering that I made a point of consuming mince pies from as wide a range of sources as possible in my annual quest to see how many I can eat, errr, I mean objectively analyse the quality of offerings from the high street. And that’s before the brandy cream even gets a mention.
Nothing to See Here…
You may be wondering exactly why January is a good time to impart this information to you, just when you’re snuggled up under a warm fuggy blanket of a not insubstantial credit card debt, severe alcohol withdrawal and gym membership applications, the last thing you need is someone telling you how many calories you’ve pre-loaded.
The reason is simple, nobody expects Christmas to be healthy, so conveying this information simply gives you further reason to get outside and move about to wear off the seasonal excesses. Yet it also gives you somewhere in the region of 11 months to forget every single point of this article in it’s entirety, hence allowing you to enjoy the bacchanalian feasting of Christmas 2016 with utter impunity.