Charles Dickens: Friend or Fowl? | HumorOutcasts

Charles Dickens: Friend or Fowl?

December 14, 2015

prized turkeyI watched my favorite holiday movie over the weekend, A Christmas Carol – the George C. Scott version.  After years of enjoying this classic, I admit that the movie presents for me one major—for lack of a better term—challenge. Before I share this challenge with you, allow me to preface it by saying I love Charles Dickens. If he were alive today, I would be a Charles Dickens’ groupie. I would be like the “Dead Heads” who follow the Grateful Dead.  I would be a…”Dick Head?”   Hm. I think there should be a better term.  Well, we can figure that one out later.  On to my Dickens Dilemma.

After the ghosts of Christmas past, present and Christmas yet-to-be showed Scrooge the error of his ways, he began to make amends for his miserly ways by surprising his beleaguered employee, Bob Cratchit, with the prize turkey that hung in the poulterer’s window. Scrooge ordered the bird on Christmas morning after 9 AM with the intention it be delivered to the Cratchit’s that day in time for their Christmas dinner.  The turkey, which resembled a Volkswagen with feathers and feet arrived at the Cratchit home sometime in the late morning, and the grateful Mrs. Cratchit declared that she would cook it and have the best Christmas feast ever! When did these people eat their Christmas feast? New Year’s Day?

This bird could not possibly be cooked in time for their afternoon holiday feast or even a late night holiday feast. I get that these were the days before anyone knew about Salmonella, so I am sure Mrs. Cratchit probably served a few portions of pink poultry to family and friends during her lifetime, but come on, the bird still had to be plucked. That in itself had to take an hour or so to ensure that no one coughed up a feather during the feast.

So, I’m going to take a huge leap here and assume that Charles Dickens never prepared any meal let alone a fresh-killed turkey meal.  Anyone, who has ever worried about their Christmas dinners, knows that it takes more than wishful thinking to create an edible holiday feast. Perhaps the spirit of Christmas yet-to-be should have offered some extra magic to Mrs. Cratchit by presenting her with a microwave or one of those cool induction ovens that I see on Sunday morning infomercials that cook food in half the time or maybe a turkey fryer. But did he? Nope.

Personally, I think if Scrooge did have an epiphany about Christmas and discovered its true meaning, he would have wanted Mrs. Cratchit to enjoy the holiday and not have to cook anything. He would have wanted her to sit back and relax all day long instead of spending hours picking apart a piece of poultry. While this was not part of the official Dickens tale, it is said that the following Christmas, Mrs. Cratchit sent a note to Mr. Scrooge which read, “Eb,  thanks for the prized turkey, but this year, a gift card to a nice restaurant or a even a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken would be more appreciated. Bah, humbug, Mrs. C.”

Donna Cavanagh

Donna Cavanagh is founder of (HO) and the partner publishing company, HumorOutcasts Press which now includes the labels Shorehouse Books and Corner Office Books ( As "den mother" to the more than 100 aspiring and accomplished writers, producers, comics and authors, Cavanagh's goal is to allow creativity to flow. She is a former journalist who made an unscheduled stop into humor more than 20 years ago. Her syndicated columns helped her gain a national audience when her work landed in the pages of First Magazine and USA Today. She teaches the how-to lessons of humor and publishing at conferences and workshops throughout the country including The Philadelphia Writers' Conference and Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. The author of four humor books, Cavanagh hopes her latest book, How to Write and Share Humor: Techniques to Tickle Funny Bones and Win Fans, will encourage writers not only to embrace their humor talents but show them off as well.

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24 Responses to Charles Dickens: Friend or Fowl?

  1. Terri Newmyer
    December 17, 2015 at 6:31 am

    I want to be in The Dick Head!

    • December 17, 2015 at 10:06 am

      HA HA Terri, okay you can be a Dick Head? Now, that does sound strange!

  2. Deb Martin-Webster
    December 15, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    He should have brought them a goose because I’m sure Cratchit came home many nights telling his wife that, “His goose was cooked” working for Scrooge!

    • December 16, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      you should have co-authored this book with Dickens Deb!

  3. Bill Y Ledden
    December 15, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    There is but one Christmas film Don Don’s and that is Die Hard. I’m afraid this is not open for discussion! Such is the ways of the Y.

    • December 16, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      Die Hard? Yes, I guess it does re-tell the Christmas story better than most?

  4. Kathy Minicozzi
    December 15, 2015 at 2:10 am

    Didn’t the Cratchit family already have their own Christmas goose? Maybe Mrs. Cratchit saved the gift goose (which is goose, not a turkey) and cooked it the next day, then served the family leftovers for a week.

    They probably didn’t get a good feast very often, with the miserly wages Scrooge had been paying Bob Cratchit.

  5. December 14, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    I always wondered about that. It bothered me greatly. However, I overlooked it for its wonderful sentiment and crackerjack writing. But resentment has always lurked beneath the surface, festering, festering . . . Until now, WHY THE BLOODY HELL DOES EVERYONE THINK COOKING IS SO FREAKING EFFORTLESS, THAT WE ENJOY WHIPPING UP A FEAST WITH NO ADVANCED PLANNING. *Takes a deep breath. Ponders the plight of Cubs fans waiting for a World Series* Okay, okay, I’m all good. You all can go home now. Nothing to see here. I’m okay. Merry Christmas.

    • Kathy Minicozzi
      December 15, 2015 at 2:12 am

      I know that cooking is not effortless, which is why I prefer to leave it to someone else. 😉

      • December 16, 2015 at 9:03 pm

        a bird is a bird is a bird?

  6. December 14, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    That has always bothered me. How would they cook that enormous bird? Time? And the simple act of getting that calf inside her oven . . .
    I thought I was the only one who noticed and worried about this. As usual, Donna, you have proved that we are birds of a feather. *cough*

    • December 14, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      yes, birds of a feather! I love that Diane! HA HA!!!!

  7. December 14, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    I would be honored to be in the Dick Head club with you as our leader. As to the turkey, Mr. Scrooge. In MY fav version, the Mr. Magoo classic, the turkey is sent already plucked and cooked. So I’d say is was Magoogled that that was a better idea!!!!

    • December 14, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Who would think that Mr. Magoo was the more sensible version? I am proud to have you in my dick head club!

  8. December 14, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    I say Dickens had some raw talent, just not in the Kitchen

    • December 14, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      HA HA Troy! I will accept this about Dickens

  9. December 14, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Never noticed that Theresa! wow!

  10. December 14, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Good eye here. Five bucks says Dickens either (1) ate Xmas dinner in a restaurant or (2)let his wife cook and had no idea how long it took because he was busy writing.

    • December 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      I guess we need to give him a pass. He did give us great literature and if he took the time to cook, he might have not finished a book!Thanks Thomas.

  11. December 14, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Dick Head! LOVE it.

    • December 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      I might have to start a meet up group with this as the title!

  12. Bill Spencer
    December 14, 2015 at 10:48 am

    You’re an impressively analytical reader. Sounds to me like you have thoroughly cooked Mr. Dickens’ goose.

    • December 14, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      I’m all for poetic license but I hate when things don’t make sense chronologically. Drives me batty!

  13. December 14, 2015 at 9:31 am

    He should have just given them a chicken. It’s in his name, after all. CH-arles d-ICKEN-s.

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