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A blogpost to (hopefully) put you in the Christmas spirit.

I thought I’d post something a bit different this AM then my normal political rants to reflect the oncoming Christmas holiday; after reading some of the blogs the past bit, I think some folks could use something to lift their spirits.

I’m a big fan of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”. I’ve seen most of the versions of it on TV. My favourite is the classic featuring Alistair Sim as Scrooge, followed closely by the version of Scrooge that George C. Scott played of Scrooge in 1984 in a TV production of “A Christmas Carol” on one of the American networks (I have the DVD – highly recommended).

In all those versions, you will see at the end of the movie a variation of Scrooge having reformed his stingy ways, and talking to his clerk Bob Cratchit about giving him a raise/helping his family/helping Tiny Tim to walk again that they’d “discuss it over a bowl of hot punch” or discuss it over a “A Christmas Bowl”.

I’ve often wondered what that recipe would entail back in 1843 in London England when Dickens first wrote this book, and by luck, I’ve managed to stumble upon it from a site that has the complete version of Dickens’s original story at their site:

“A merry Christmas, Bob,” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob. Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

The website where I read this actually then provided the recipe for this rather interesting sounding drink.. and here it is:

Smoking Bishop Recipe

5 unpeeled oranges
1 unpeeled grapefruit
36 cloves
1/4 pound of sugar
2 bottles of red wine
1 bottle of port

Wash the fruit and oven bake until brownish. Turn once.
Put fruit into a warmed earthenware bowl with six cloves stuck into each.
Add the sugar and pour in the wine – not the port.
Cover and leave in a warm place for a day.
Squeeze the fruit into the wine and strain.
Add the port and heat. DO NOT BOIL!

Serve “smoking” warm. Yield: 15 to 20 servings

I can see why they call it “smoking”… though where the Bishop part comes from, I wouldn’t dare guess. Anyhow.. if anyone actually makes this, or is inspired to try making it from reading this note, let me know how it tastes/turns out 🙂


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