[lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Poem


On Dec 25, 2006, at 5:39 AM, Ursula Stange wrote:

There do, indeed, be writers here. Alex was asking...remember?
And also grateful readers.
Thanks, David.

And what would a traditional Scots Christmas dinner be like?
Ursula wants to know...
in North Bay where there's no snow...


In hard times I should think snow and bit of the spirit of life (that Walter likes) was about it. With oatmeal and seaweed to follow. Where God gave you no topsoil, growing anything is just an aspiration. Having not, in memory's reach, spent Christmas actually in Scotland--I left when I was four or five years old and we never visited relatives when whisks of cold air might disrupt British Rail's efficient timetables--I have no idea what people there eat at this time of year. Fish is what my grandparents usually bought, Leith's harbor being within walking distance, but they so loved a good piece of meat.

My great uncle was fond of a chop, and would walk to the butcher on a Tuesday to ask him to hang one for Saturday. One chop.

Here we had a thirty pound turkey, which is something I'd advise against. I've dealt with all kinds of cooking problems, but this one was among the worst. The beast leaked all over the oven and, ours being only a normal sized oven, filled all the space. Thus the roast spuds had to happen underneath and be finished on the highest of heats, and the stuffing--sage, onion, mushroom, thyme and the usual ingredients-- had to be particularly carefully timed. For the first time in my lifetime, I burned a pan, having taken my eye off the brussels at the wrong moment. Why I do I feel ashamed? Because my mother was a regular burner of pans and I think my interest in cooking comes from what here might be called "inheritance avoidance issues." I just wanted to be a better cook than she was.

Then there was hand-carried and larder-aged or, as the locals would have it, pantry-aged Christmas pudding and Tesco's Christmas Cake, with marzipan and icing. Now we're off for dessert chez les Fujimotos. Life is good.

Sorry about the period in the poem than should have been a comma.

Best wishes to one and all, and many thanks for the warm response.

One reader is all a writer ever needs.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon


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