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“….and razzleberry dressing.”

The razzleberry, fruit or fiction? I’ve oft pondered this question since I first heard the “Razzleberry Dressing” song written by Mr. MaGoo and sung by Tiny Tim in the 1962 musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

I went a’googling and found several interesting excerpts from pundit play lands, such as Wikipedia and dictionary.com. Thus: “A Razzleberry is a small seeded berry of the genus Razellus, predominantly found in New Guinea.” There is also a flowering plant of the same name which has no culinary applications. I also read that a razzleberry is not a berry in and of itself, but is merely a combination of blackberries and raspberries, generally baked in a pie.

Not content with these explanations, I dug out my careworn copy of A Christmas Carol and scoured the text for any mention of said berry. Sadly, none was found. However, Dickens does offer up glorious descriptions of Victorian Era foodstuffs when old Ebenezer spends some quality time with The Ghost of Christmas Present.

In fact, this lovable and laudable spirit is surrounded by all manner of food and drink when Scrooge first sets eyes on him in the anteroom of his bed chamber. As The Ghost of Christmas Present leads Scrooge through London in the mid-1800’s, Dickens writes of the Spanish Onion’s resemblance to fat Spanish Friars and observes fresh pears and apples; and, the juicy compactness of lemons to slice and stir into your gin. The poulterers’ (Dickens word, not mine) wares of squab, turkey, goose and all manner of beef, fish, lamb and pork are all available. Did you know that 19th century Englanders were connoisseurs of raw oysters? Wonders never cease.

The spice trade had been well established by this time and we read of sage and cinnamon, minced pies filled with sweet and savory goodies. I love the fact that upon the visit to Bob Cratchit’s house, Mrs. Cratchit is as nervous about the doneness of her pudding as we are today about a dry turkey.

It’s funny where one question can take you, isn’t it? I was simply curious about the existence of a razzleberry which prompted me to read, yet again, the tale of the reinvention of a single man and how that one man’s transformation affected so many.

We all have the power to confront our demons, recall our blessings and share what we have with those we love and those who are less fortunate. Charles Dickens was a victim of society’s indifference to the plight of children. His ability to look at the world from the point of view of both little people and big is one of the reasons his works are loved by so many.

Speaking of children, it’s the time of year to connect with the one that lives in you. The one who is first out the door to play in the new fallen snow; the one who has just learned the joys of giving; the one who sings Christmas carols in the shower and watches the night sky for a glimpse of a magical sleigh. In the words of Tiny Tim and Charles Dickens, “God Bless us, Every One!”

Merry Christmas!!!

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