7 Things People Used To Eat for Dessert

  • Tomato soup cake
Tomato soup cake
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Much like fashion trends, culinary tastes have changed over time, and once-common dishes have given way to new ingredients, easier preparation methods, and more refined recipes. Desserts, in particular, have seen a rise in popularity over the centuries. Originally served alongside savory items on the dinner table, sweet dishes were moved to the final course of the meal in 17th-century Europe, and cookbooks dedicated to dessert recipes started appearing around the same time.

The affordability and availability of sugar during this era was largely responsible for this culinary shift, due to the work of enslaved people on colonial plantations in the Caribbean. As chocolate, coffee, and tea were introduced to Europe, demand for the sweet stuff increased as well. Sugar, which had previously been used sparingly as a preservative or to sweeten savory dishes, became the main ingredient in new recipes, leading to an endless array of possibilities for cakes, pies, and other sweet treats.

Here are seven old-fashioned desserts that were once commonly served, but are rarely seen today. While some of these foods may seem familiar as the recipes have been updated over the years to accommodate modern tastes, others are reminders of different times in history when people made do with what they had.

Credit: Warren Price Photography/ Shutterstock

Mincemeat Pie

Dating back to Europe’s medieval era, mincemeat pie (or mince pie) was a finely chopped mixture of meat — traditionally mutton — along with dried fruit and spices. The spices and natural fruit sugars helped preserve the food as well as overpower the flavor of meat on the verge of spoiling. By the end of the Victorian era, the primary ingredients of mincemeat pies were fruit, spices, and beef suet, a hard animal fat. While they’re not very common in the U.S. today, mincemeat pies are still a popular Christmas dessert in the U.K., and vegetarian pies are readily available.

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