Chicago Tribune, August 5, 1877. Christ, I wish I had an influential friend at the Treasury Department. Why, just the other day my kid made little paper sailboats out of a stack of T-Bills I’d secreted in an old chiffarobe in the attic, and then flushed them away in a toilet bowl regatta. Would I like the full amount of money back? I’ll say I would.
Couple of interesting things to note here: First, mince pies were stored indefinitely in closets. You could do that, owing to their miraculous auto-preservative attributes. In a world before refrigeration and butylated hydroxytoluene and other magical forces we now use to forestall the evil power of entropy, mince pie did not rot just as gold did not rust. That’s basically why gold is still gold but mince pie is no longer mince pie. (Interestingly enough, they were both legendarily heavy, in addition to being the stuff that dreams are made of. Hmm, I must think some more about this.)
Second: Faced with a choice between a stack of greenbacks and Mrs. Skidmore Higbie’s succulent and aromatically ripening mince pies, the mice of Springfield, Long Island, will unhesitatingly go for the simoleons.
Is this a part of the equation that I have been overlooking? Was mince also rodent-repellent? Because that would explain a lot.