A man who took pleasure in eating and drinking. His culinary interests likely stemmed from surviving meager times during his youth. As the son of a man who often lived beyond his means, young Dickens was saddled with the task of making money for his indebted family. After his father was sentenced to prison for his debts, 12 year old Dickens was forced to leave school and take a job in a boot blacking factory. Being a naturally intelligent and creative child, this unpleasant factory work was tantamount to a prison sentence for young Dickens. He only worked in the factory for a few months, but the experience helped to shape
his personality. Dickens had a flare for championing the everyman in his stories, a writing style that eventually became known as “Dickensian.” His novels stir compassion for the overworked and underpaid. Having lived through lean times, Dickens equated food and drink with abundance, a feeling made evident in nearly every story he wrote.
Dickens got his first taste of success when his novel Oliver Twist was published in 1838. The story, revolving around the life of a downtrodden orphan, was inspired by Dickens’ own childhood. It also contains one of the most famous lines in Victorian literature, which happens to be directly related to food.
The starving orphan, Oliver, has touched readers for nearly two centuries. Perhaps it is because we feel the echo of Dickens’ own struggle the misery of his childhood, and the tenacity it took to rise above the situation he was born into. Hardly a satisfying meal, a porridge like mixture that has been thinned down with milk or water and boiled. It’s not very appetizing, but Dickens had a way of treasuring food, no matter how simple.
Alcohol was also a recurring theme in Dickens stories. Though drinking was largely frowned upon in Victorian society, Dickens was known to enjoy visiting taverns and public houses. He believes that the struggling lower classes deserved, to enjoy an innocent drink.
Research Source: The History Kitchen
These croquettes are crispy outside and tender inside.
Chicken Croquettes with Garlic Mayo Sauce
Copyright 2013, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
2 (12.5 oz.) can chicken breast, drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup panko bread crumbs, reserving 1/2 cup
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
garlic mayo sauce, recipe below
Garlic Mayo Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon spicy mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a small skillet, over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add onions, bay leaf and salt to taste. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.
In medium bowl, combine chicken, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup panko, sauteed onions, eggs, spicy mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste, toss to combine. Form the mixture into patties. Dust croquettes with remaining panko. In large skillet, over medium heat melt remaining butter. Cook patties until brown, about 3 to 5 minutes each side. Serve with garlic mayo sauce.
Garlic Mayo Sauce:
In small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!