Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Twisting with Oliver

There are books written by fingers that fly over laptop keys and there are books written by the scritching of quill pens on yellowed scrolls.

I tend to read more of the former. But once in a while, it is good to open one of the classics. Therefore I embarked upon Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist.

I'd call it the equivalent of Eating Your Literary Carrots. I had to push myself to get through it. But a book shouldn't be ignored just because its place on the shelf has been crowded up with the recent and the exciting.

I know, vaguely (like the first lines of songs) about the musical, Oliver. My sister spent her personal monies on soundtracks of every Broadway musical she could get her hands on. So, as I read Dickens, I hunted for the places where the songs would fit in to the story. "Oliver, Oliver, never before has a boy wanted more . . ." was easy to spot. So was "I Shall Scream." I might even have found where "Oom-Pa-Pa" belongs, but I never could quite pin down the right spot for my favorite, "As Long As He Needs Me." In fact, I'm re-thinking Nancy as a lead part for glamorous actresses. The "he" that needs her is Bill Sykes, a man of unrelenting filth and cruelty. And I don't see how Nancy herself avoided being wracked by social disease, even one as innocent as tuberculosis.

The word "Dickensian" connotes stories of people living in unrelenting sadness and squalor. But Dickens' quill pen actually produced a good deal of satire. Thank goodness humans can be insufferable fools, giving the author ample material for his wry sense of humor.

As for your recipe, I bragged one evening about our yummy and easy supper of Grilled Pizza Sandwiches. She to whom I bragged insisted that she wanted to eat this wonderful thing, too, so here goes:

Grilled Pizza Sandwiches

These sandwiches call for salami, which I find unappetizing. I replace it with Canadian bacon.

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