Today I am drinking to Charles Dickens

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of time…” is probably one of the most recognizable quotes in history.  The author of that quote was one of the greatest English novelists.

Charles John Huffman Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 at Landport, Portsmouth, England.  In December 1833, Dickens published his first original article in the Old Monthly Magazine entitled, “A Dinner at Poplar Walk” (http://42opus.com/v7n3/adinneratpoplarwalk).

In 1836 Dickens, once again, wrote about dinner.  This time, Christmas Dinner in “Sketches by Boz.”  (http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/dickens/boz.pdf) Dickens wrote, “A Christmas family-party!  We know nothing in nature more delightful!”  Christmas was Dickens’ hobby – Christmas, food and drink.

When you hear the name Charles Dickens you may immediately think of his book turned movie, The Christmas Carol.  A book and movie about Christmas, food and drink.

Dickens often had evening parties at his home in London.  Among his frequent guest were Mark Lemon, journalist, humorist and editor of Punch; William Wilkie Collins, novelist; Clarkson Stanfield, a marine painter; John Forster, author of the first important biography of Dickens; and possible every artist of the time.  At these parties, Dickens served what he called punch.

Dickens died on June 9, 1870 at the age of 58.

While this day is not part of the Christmas Holiday Season, it is a day for remembering one of the greatest English novelists.  Have a cup of “punch” to celebrate Charles Dickens!

Recipes:*

Champagne Cup

4 lumps sugar

Thin rind of 1 lemon

½ cup boiling water

1 bottle (4/5 quart) champagne

1 ½ cups sherry wine

2 strips ( 5 – ½ inches) cucumber rind

18 ice cubes

 

Combine sugar, lemon rind and boiling water.  Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in champagne, sherry, cucumber strips and ice.  Remove cucumber after 10 minutes.  Yield: about 6 cups.

This recipe should not be made more than 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

Claret Cup

6 lumps sugar

Thin rind of 1 lemon

½ boiling water

½ cup brandy

1 bottle (4/5 quart) claret wine

2 cups club soda

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

18 ice cubes

 

Combine sugar, lemon rind and boiling water.  Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in brandy, claret, soda, nutmeg and ice.  Yield: about 7 cups.

This recipe should not be made more than 20 minutes before serving.

Recipes are from Dickens personal papers at New York University, The Fales Library and Special Collections.

 

 

 

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