A Dickens of a Christmas

Christmas, Dessert, Holidays, Recipes, Special Occasions
on November 26, 2011
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

Put your cell phones on silence, and tell the kids “no texting.” It’s time for an old-fashioned evening, Dickens style.

The house lights dim and a man dressed in a faded nightshirt, nightcap and slippers shuffles over to your table.

“Bah Humbug!” he exclaims gruffly. “What do you want to order?”

But by the time dessert rolls around, a once grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge becomes pleasant and cracks a smile as the holiday spirit touches even him.

For 29 years, innkeepers Michael and Laurie Gibbs have opened the doors of the Winchester Inn, in Ashland, Oreg., for a Dickens Christmas Feast. The Victorian house is filled with characters from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, the fragrance of fresh greenery, and the rousing voices of carolers. And the six-course dinner—including the last course, Winter Spice Cakes—is one that Dickens himself would relish.

“Some guests have been coming to our Dickens’ Feast for over 19 years,” Laurie says. “It’s become an annual family tradition, with some families bringing three generations.” This old-fashioned spice cake is timeless. Some things never change.

—By Kris Wetherbee, a food writer in Oakland, Ore.