Once of the things I always do at Christmas is make my own mince pies. There’s something about homemade pastry that means that shop-bought ones never really come close. I’ve always managed to make good pastry because I use a food processor (cookery tip: over-handling pastry, especially when you’ve got hot hands like me, makes it tough and nasty). And there’s a story attached to the food processor.
Eighteen years ago when we moved to Ruddington to begin Mike’s first pastorate, a friend of my in-laws named Hertha gave me a generous gift. She gave me some money and said “You’ll be doing a lot of entertaining as a minister’s wife so buy yourself something that will make that easier.” I bought a food processor and it has chopped, sliced, diced, minced, blended and mixed every year since. In particular, every Christmas it has made the batches of flaky, buttery pastry that I have made into mince pies for seasonal church events and socials. Hertha died more than fifteen years ago, but every year I have remembered and thanked her again, because without her generosity the making of over a hundred mince pies would have been an impossible chore. This autumn the food processor gave up the ghost and was replaced by a shiny new model. I have just made my pastry and remembered her thoughtful generosity again. Now that’s a good kind of immortality.