Saturday is the 203rd Birthday of Charles Dickens. He is much loved for his contributions of epic stories and vivid characters which have become unforgettable classics in literature. The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and many more….
Charles’s father, John, inherited some money from his grandmother that died, paid off all his debts and was released from the Marshalsea prison. Charles then worked at a law office. Having learned shorthand which he taught himself, he left the law office and became a freelance reporter. In 1833 Dickens first story, “A Dinner at Popular Walk,” was published in a periodical magazine. His first novel “The Pickwick Papers,” was published in March of 1836, which began his literary career. Often the characters in his novels were based on people and places he knew. On April 2, 1836, he married Catherine Thomson Hogarth. They had 10 children, but separated from his wife in 1858, many years later.
|Catherine Dickens (Charles wife)|
Between 1868 and 1869, Dickens gave a series of “farewell readings” in England, Scotland, and Ireland, until he collapsed on April 22, 1869, showing symptoms of a mild stroke. After further readings were cancelled, he began work on his final novel, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” On May 2, 1870 he made his last public appearance at a banquet in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales.
On June 8, 1870, Dickens suffered another stroke at home, after a full day’s work on Edwin Drood. The next day on June 9th, he died never having regained consciousness. He was laid to rest in the “Poet’s Corner” of Westminster Abbey. An epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads: “To the memory of Charles Dickens, who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathizer with the poor, the suffering, and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.” Charles Dickens last words, as reported in his obituary in The Times were alleged to have been: “Be natural my children. For the writer that is natural has fulfilled all the rules of art.”
In the 1800s food was prepared exactly as it is today, by baking, broiling, frying, and steaming. Until around the middle of the 1800s cooking was done over an open fire. The use of cast-iron stoves was rapidly spreading by the end of the nineteenth century. Technological innovations transformed the nature of food production as the population grew. The invention of the railways immensely improved the quality of produce in the cities. Milk was transported by rail and kept fresh with the aid of a mechanical cooler. The spread of the railways also brought international trade across European markets. The Victorian kitchens were also transformed with the addition of new ovens and nifty gadgets such as: graters, pastry cutters, pie molds, and muffin tins.
So, in honor of Charles Dickens Birthday, my recipe this week is “Roasted Chicken & Potatoes with Rosemary.” I think he would have loved this dish. (seeing I can‘t get a hold of a goose) Enjoy and don‘t forget to read a few of Dickens novels, you will be hooked I‘m sure!
“Roasted Chicken & Potatoes with Rosemary”
Roasted chicken and potatoes are seasoned with aromatic rosemary, paprika and minced garlic. You can add healthy veggies or a salad to enhance your meal.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons Rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon course black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 2 pounds)
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes , cut into 1-inch cubes
Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix oil and seasonings in large bowl. Add chicken and potatoes; toss to coat well. Arrange chicken and potatoes in single layer on foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan sprayed with no stick cooking spray. Roast 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, turning potatoes occasionally.
Till Next Time………………….
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