Saturday, December 31, 2011

Life Inspired by Literature

My family loves Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. You are either a bad Counts or you have been sleeping for the last fifteen years if you can't recite practically the entire first chapter and key points throughout the rest of the book.

"Marley was as dead to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The registry of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it..."

I could continue but I shan't.

We have seen every movie version ever made (including the Muppets version and the musical version) and been to more dramatic performances of it than I can count. In fact, my little brother was an adorable, waifish Tiny Tim in our local theatre for three years running. During each of those years, we attended his performances at least three times (my mother went to more) plus at least one other performance of it in the city and watched at least two of our many favorite movie versions.

One of the things that reoccurs many, many times in the story are references to Christmas goose and Christmas pudding. In fact, there is usually a scene where all the little Cratchits are sitting around barely able to contain themselves because their mother is cooking these delicacies.

In our love of Charles Dickens and his Christmas Carol and all things English, we were inspired to discover what goose and pudding tasted like.

We thought pudding would be easier but, when we found a recipe for traditional Christmas Pudding (the kind that you soak in brandy and light on fire), we discovered that the recipe wanted you to stew the pudding in your backyard for a month. That was never going to happen. Our neighbors complain if we even barbecue so they were never going to allow us to "stew" anything, especially for a month.

So we went back to the goose. We got a goose and a recipe for cooking goose and over the next few years learned how to do it. Now it's a family tradition. We have New Year's goose.
I'm writing my blog post to the delicious spicy, earthy scent of roasting goose and potatoes wafting out of the kitchen.

Elizabeth Drew once said, "The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it." In the new year, let yourself be inspired by literature, not just to become a better writer, but to live differently. Embrace your fears. Go on a journey. Be adventurous in your cooking. Challenge yourself to live intensely.

Have a blessed, brilliant, wonderful New Year.


  1. Great post! I've never tried either of those, but they sound good (though I'm not quite sure about stewing Christmas pudding for a month...). Hope you had a wonderful New Year! :)


  2. During my first year at university, we had a Christmas party. One of my friends made Christmas Pudding (this was in the UK) and lit it with brandy. I thought this was so cool, I insisted on doing the same when I went home for Christmas that year. My mum made the traditional Christmas pudding, and I poured some brandy on it and lit it, just like my friend had. But it didn't ignite. No beautiful blue glow. So I poured a little more brandy on. Still no glow. So I poured more on. By the time I got it to light, the pudding was soaked in brandy. For some reason, we were all a little drowsy that afternoon... :)

  3. I was waiting for you to say it burst into voracious flames and the fire department was called. I guess it is better that you were only just a bit drowsy. I bet it was a tasty pudding ;)

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