The end of the year is a time for self-reflection, for setting new goals. My goal for 2008 is never to deceive my poor readers again. In this spirit of confession, I offer in humble penitence the greatest sins I committed in my column for my neighborhood newsletter, Oakhurst Eats, in 2007.
ONE: For December I wrote that I’d always been haunted by the image of the Christmas goose, which Scrooge sends to the “Cratchett” family on Christmas morning to replace their pitiful chicken. But after re-reading “A Christmas Carol” recently, I was horrified to learn not only that Scrooge sent them a turkey, but also that their last name is actually spelled “Cratchit.” Furthermore, the crappy Christmas bird those Cratchits were eating was–can you guess? If you said “goose, because as you said in your column it barely feeds four adults,” you would be correct. And in an extra-special touch of irony, I should note that I wrote my dissertation on–well, if you were to say, “Charles Dickens, the author whose story you got wrong and whose character names you misspelled,” you would again be correct.
TWO: In re-reading Anthony Bourdain’s brilliant if snarky and self-satisfied Kitchen Confidential (HarperCollins, 2000), I learned that my November column on stock was not entirely accurate. In his chapter on “How to Cook Like the Pros,” he writes that stock is easy: “Just roast some bones, roast some vegetables, put them in a big pot of water and reduce and reduce and reduce and reduce. Make a few months’ worth, and . . . strain it and freeze it in small containers. Life without stock is not worth living.” Not quite as easy as dumping your leftover bones into a pot and boiling, as I suggested, but if you want to make authentic stock, that’s how.
THREE: I actually moved to Durham, NC, in August, where I now write Oakhurst Eats from afar. My poor husband continues to live in Oakhurst in our house that won’t sell, so I’m still in the neighborhood frequently. Since he’s an ATL native (well, Covington, but that’s probably close enough), we should return often enough to keep up with Oakhurst until the Leaflet editors tell us to go away.
That feels better, but truth be told I’ll probably continue in my sinful ways. It’s the best a Victorianist who can’t spell the name of major literary figures can do.