The other day I received a catalog from Smucker’s and given that I love jam and jelly, I figured I’d flip through it. In the middle of the catalog is None Such Mince Meat now manufactured by Borden. This brought a bunch of things flooding into the front of my mind. First was an article written by Post-Standard’s Dick Case a couple of weeks ago on the lighting of the water tower for Christmas at Franklin Square in Syracuse. He mentioned that several items were manufactured at Franklin Square, one of which was mince meat. I was wondering which building was used by the Merrell-Soule Co. And then I remembered the photo in the OHA research center of the None Such Mince Meat parade float in front of the Merrell-Soule Co. building at Franklin Square.
This five-story 1904 factory remains at 600 N. Franklin St. and was built at a railroad siding on what had been old solar drying beds for salt. It is now the home to Dupli printing.
In the 1920’s, it was the headquarters of Merrell-Soule Co. with 26 plants in the US and Canada and 900 employees, half of them in Syracuse. Merrell-Soule’s signature product was None Such Mince Meat for pies perfected by G. Lewis Merrell and Oscar Soule at their small canning factory on West Fayette St. starting in 1868. When Merrell-Soule was sold to Borden Co. in 1928 it was one of the largest manufacturers of powdered milk, mince meat and powdered lemon extract in the world. Borden made None Such in Franklin Square until 1981 when production moved to Pennsylvania. The company’s research center at 600 North Franklin left in 1997.
None Such Mince Meat is a mix of apples, raisins, currants, citrus peel, sugar, vinegar, cider, salt, starch, beef and spices, and sometimes brandy and rum. “Mynce pies” were mentioned in 15th-century manuscripts. People used to make their own mince meat at home until Merrell-Soule, who started out canning vegetables, discovered a way to make low-moisture, marketable mince meat from dry ingredients. It is said they started with a recipe from a family member named “Grandmother Seward.” None Such Mince Meat succeeded because it was easy to use and because of a “secret” blend of spices that accounted for half of its 27 ingredients. The company made both a dry and a wet version.
Merrell-Soule had canning factories in Fayetteville and Chittenango and sold millions of the 10-cent packets of None Such Mince Meat every year. The cardboard boxes carried a drawing of a local woman, “Miss None Such,” proudly holding a mince pie. Miss None Such did the job for mince meat that Betty Crocker and the Jolly Green Giant did for their products.
Click here to see a cookie recipe using None Such Mince Meat.