Thursday, December 15, 2011

christmas carol | dining with dickens

Last weekend we had a very special Subscriber Appreciation Saturday, Dining with Dickens. Our lucky subscribers (or the ones who signed up at any rate) got to enjoy a taster menu prepared by Chef Nikolai Braun from Chef in the House of food inspired by Dickens. The meal was accompanied by a discussion from UBC professor (and former PT publicist) Julie Sutherland about food in Dickens' era. Drool over the menu and read a snippet of Julie's chat below!

'I want some more': The Truimphant Working Class in the Novels of Charles Dickens
by Julie Sutherland

If you were middle or upper class during the reign of Queen Victoria, and hadn’t squandered your wealth on wine, women, and song, you could be assured you would be well fed. It was a period of extravagance where, being entertained at a host’s banquet, you might enjoy upwards of nine courses; enough to make the buttons burst off your dinner jacket or the ribs crack on your whale bone corset. It was the age of the rise of the afternoon tea, where scones hung in a delicate balance between perfectly buttery and downright disgustingly rich. The Victorian poet Christina Rossetti provides us with a mouth-watering list of the kinds of delicious foods available for consumption. In “Goblin Market”, a tale that at once dives into the secret erotic love life of a deeply repressed society, explores the nature of Christian sacrifice, and considers capitalism and the rise of Victorian market economy, we get a gastronomic orchestra of the kinds of food accessible to those with money:

MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
"Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck'd cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek'd peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries; -
All ripe together
In summer weather, -
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces ,
Rare pears and greengages ,
Damsons and bilberries ,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy."

And buy they did. It was an age where money meant something.

To read the rest of Julie's lecture, download the PDF here.  Want in on the next event like this?  Become a subscriber!

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