October 23, 2007

Robin recommends serving "spotted dick" for dessert at your next Patrick O'Brian party - or at the very least, a "floating island"

A couple of months ago I received an email query from a local woman who was looking for someone expert enough to discourse intelligently on early 19th c. naval life. She knew a lot of people who all enjoyed Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels, and so had the bright idea of throwing a party at which they'd all drink coffee and eat toasted cheese and generally wax enthusiastic together. I couldn't think of anyone to recommend as a speaker at her party, but I did come up with a few suggestions to make the party more merry (besides supplementing the coffee with grog): first, I was delighted to inform her that one of our local supermarkets sells imported, canned spotted dick.

Aubrey/Maturin aficionados will remember this as one of Jack's favorite desserts. Anybody ever had floating island? Second, I came up with what I thought was a really great idea for an Aubrey/Maturin party game. I was kind of hoping she'd invite me to the party, since I was immodestly certain it was a terrific idea, but she didn't. So I'll share it here -- maybe somebody reading this would like to play.

Here is my favorite quotation from the Aubrey/Maturin novels. Can anyone guess who is the speaker, and identify the context?

"Sir, you have debauched my sloth!"

(Of course, the best part about this game is that it sends one back to the novels....)
Leave a comment if you think you know who the speaker is.


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