We dedicate our mince meat tart page to master chef James Barber. James passed away on November 29, 2007 at his home on Vancouver Island. His down-to-earth wit and excellent recipes will be missed.


- From 'Christmas Jam' on the Radio Canada International label. This version is from a vinyl LP only, long out of print.

- From 'New Songs for an Old Celebration', done with Connie Kaldor on the Aural Traditions label. Also from an out of print LP.

- From a live performance at a Vancouver Folk Music Festival Fundraiser on December 3rd, 2010. This spirited solo version with background vocals provided by a jubilant audience is only available HERE!

MINCE MEAT TART – a history

In the mid to late 70s, CBC Radio had a Vancouver based national music show called 'The Great Canadian Goldrush'. The show was good to me, taping studio sessions (one of which became the demos for my first album), many of my live concerts and even giving me my first pre' Snap Crackle Pop'/'Roy's Record Room' stint playing records on the radio. (It was a rockabilly record show. During the taping, I suggested that the host, Terry David Mulligan, was a ‘turd’ for suggesting that women couldn’t play/sing rockabilly. Terry was joking, of course, seeing what reaction he would get out of me. The producers left that part in.).

One of the yearly features of Goldrush was ‘Christmas Jam’, taped every December in good old Studio 2. A bunch of us would get together, sing Christmas tunes, tell stories and generally have a lot of fun. Studio 2 would be decorated with a nice Christmas tree with shiny boxes underneath, some munchy goodies and a bit of liquid Christmas cheer. The cast included Goldrush host Terry David Mulligan, ace Vancouver guitarist/writer (and early mentor to me) Terry Frewer, Valdy, Shari Ulrich and me. The producers would occasionally get some folks in from ‘back east’. The year of Mince Meat Tart, Colleen Peterson and Michel Rivard were the ‘imports’.

I did the Christmas Jam for five years in a row and looked forward to it every year. As the show progressed, it became more and more elaborate so that when we got to what ended up being the last show, in 1979, we were asked to write a new Christmas tune or two. We would have a day to rehearse the show and would tape the following day.

Now, in those days, Christmas songs were not considered ‘hip’ by any means but I took on the task and went to work. I came up with a kinda bad but humorous ditty that pointed out the follies of Christmas and how, in the end, it was a ‘pain in the ass’. This was OK but not enough. One late November morning, while a Jimmy Reed LP was playing, I started thinking about Christmas food and realized that Mince Meat Tart (my favorite Christmas treat) would be a great title for a Christmas tune. With musical inspiration from Jimmy, I wrote the song very quickly.

When we got to the rehearsal, I pulled out MMT and, with great trepidation, showed it to the gang. They seemed to go for it. Valdy was playing fretless bass, which added a solid feel and some bottom end. Terry held down the rhythm while I wailed away on my Strat, plugged in to my vintage Fender Champ amp. I’m sure it was Colleen who came up with the great ‘He wants it, he wants it’ answer line for the chorus although it could have been Shari. Anyway, Colleen, Shari, Terry, Terry David and Michel got a great chorus going and the tune was officially born.

Five years later, when Connie Kaldor and I, with the help of Gary Cristall and the Vancouver Folk Festival, decided to do a Christmas album, it seemed only right to include MMT. Connie and Sue Leonard did the ‘he wants it’ parts, and the tune was sprung on the record-buying world.

For those of you who have the Bim/Connie Christmas LP, you’ve probably used James Barber’s mincemeat recipe, included in the liner notes of the record, many times. The recipe has become a Christmas staple at our house. And, Mince Meat Tart has become a staple in my pre-Christmas live performances.

A couple of ‘in concert’ MMT memories ... the very first live performance of the tune was at a fine little music club called at Harpo’s in Victoria, close to Christmas, 1979. The crowd loved it and sang along, lustily. The next morning, I found, outside the door of my hotel room, a nicely wrapped box with my name on it. I opened it up to find three little mincemeat tarts, just for me. In December, 1987, Connie and I did a series of Christmas shows with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Vancouver’s historic Orpheum Theatre. We ended the first half with MMT. It was quite a hoot having the Cantata Singers and the players in the VSO singing ‘he wants it, he wants it’. The capper was when some of the ushers, organized by Connie, came drifting down the aisle with large trays of fresh mince meat tarts for the concertgoers.

I’m grateful to Claire Lawrence and Susan Englebert, producers of CBC’s Goldrush, for handing out that writing assignment back in 1979.

MMT is a fun tune that has taken on a life of it’s own, even if only for a few days each year. Enjoy.



Well, you can take your Christmas pudding
And put it outside to freeze
You know the nutmeg in that eggnog, now
It just about makes me sneeze
I've got something finer in my mind
And it stands miles apart
Understand, I'll be a sad young man
If I don't get a mince meat tart

I want me a mince meat tart (he wants it, he wants it)
I want a mince meat tart (he wants it, he wants it)
I want a mince meat tart
And I want it with all my heart

Now, I don't mind those chestnuts
But I hate it when they up and explode
I can put up with that cranberry sauce
But, last year I had an overdose
If you wanna make me happy
Prepare for the joy to start
When you take me to the fireplace
Sit me right down
And supply me with a mince meat tart

I want me a mince meat tart ... (repeat chorus)

Now, if you happen to see old Santa
You know, the guy with the big red nose
Well, tell 'im he ain't gonna get no milk and cookies
If he doesn't keep on his toes
Because, I don't wanna be like Elvis
Have myself a blue, blue Christmas
And I don't wanna fall apart
But as sure as you're born
I'll be shattered and torn
If I don't get a mince meat tart

I want me a mince meat tart ... (repeat chorus)


by James Barber (from the liner notes of the 'New Songs' album)

1 lb. (500 g) raisins
1/4 lb. (125 g) sultanas
1/2 lb. (250 g) suet
1 lemon
4 oz. brandy (about a wine glass full)
1/2 lb. (250 g) currants
1/2 1b. (250 g) dark brown sugar
1 lb. (250 g) shiny green apples
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 pinches of ground cinnamon
piece of fresh ginger as big as your little toe
the peel and juice of a medium, juicy orange

Put everything dry through the mincer. Put it all in a bowl, add the juice of the lemon, the brandy and the orange jiuce. Stir well (make wishes), put into jars and keep in a dark cupboard for two weeks. Next year moisten it with a little more brandy ...

Mince tarts take exactly nine minutes to cook at 400 degrees F.