Mince Pies Cancelled!

Written By: The Lowdown - Dec• 31•12

Being a lazy housewife, Christmas is always a bit of a nightmare requiring a number of hours of my time slogging in the kitchen, preparing the traditional Christmas fare – puddings, fruit cake and a favourite in my household … mince pies. Imagine then, my delight when towards the end of November last year I found mince pies at Pick and Pay, six in a pack and obviously baked on their premises.


Always cautious with such things, I bought two packs and took them home to try and confirm that they were up to scratch which, indeed, they were. Great! One less thing that I had to bake.


Thus, a few days before Christmas, I bought the required number of packs to have sufficient mince pies for the guests we were expecting and to leave some over for the family for a few days afterwards. What’s more I even managed to keep them hidden from the family until Christmas day.


Extremely proud of my achievement, I decided that I deserved a treat and would have one when I unpacked them and arranged them on the serving plates.


That was when the horror story began. From the top they looked great but one bite told you something was not right. An inspection of the half eaten mince pie revealed a bottom of a mince pie soaked with oil! Yukk! An inspection of the packs which had not yet been opened, revealed the same oily substance that had leaked out into the plastic trays. There was not a single mince pie out of the 42 that was edible.


On the first business day after Christmas, we trooped down to Pick and Pay with the offending items and to their credit, the money was refunded instantly and without question. One can only assume that we were not the first complainants.


But the question to be asked is what happened? How come the ones we had in November were excellent and the ones at Christmas inedible? Were the first batch baked whilst the bakery staff were being taught by the Master chef, but he had left by Christmas? Did the supervisor decide to use cheaper inferior ingredient? Did the Pick and Pay management decide they would use cheaper ingredients to cut costs and maximise profits? Were the bakery staff left without proper supervision to produce the mince pies?


And this is not the first time that I have noticed a deterioration of baked products at Pick and Pay. Shortly after they opened in 2010, we bought a chocolate cake. It was delicious and on a par with a home made product. But now, their cakes are of the mass-produced type with that awful artificial-tasting topping. Such a pity as this town is crying out for a bakery that produces “home-made” goods and Pick and Pay can obviously do it.


Let’s hope that for this coming Christmas, they can sort out their production problem, whatever it was, as none of the family asked about the mince pies. But I don’t think I will be able to get away with it two years running.





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