Monday, March 15, 2010

Cooking in the Kitchen with Dinah

This is one of my favorite character descriptions in "Uncle Tom's Cabin". It is about Dinah, a cook in a home owned by an man named Augustine St. Clare:

"Though her mode of doing everything was peculiarly meandering and circuitous, and without any sort of calculation as to time and place,-- though her kitchen generally looked as if it has been arranged by a hurricane blowing through it, and she had about as many places for each cooking utensil as there were days in the year,-- yet, if one would have patience to wait her own good time, up would come her dinner in perfect order, and in a style of preparation with which an epicure could find no fault."

Augustine St. Clare's defense of Dinah's methods:

"Now, there's Dinah gets you a capital dinner,-- soup, ragout, roast fowl, dessert, ice-creams and all,-- and she creates it all out of chaos and old night down there, in that kitchen. I think it really sublime, the way she manages. But, Heaven bless us! if we are to go down there, and view all the smoking and squatting about, and hurryscurryation of the preparatory process, we should never eat more! My good cousin, absolve yourself from that! It's more than a Catholic penance, and does no more good. You'll only lose your temper, and utterly confound Dinah. Let her go her own way."

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