Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dickens, Schuler & Bellairs IV

We’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of celebrated author Charles Dickens’s birth this year. Born February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsmouth, England, Dickens created a plethora of memorable characters with whimsical names across a dozen major novels and numerous short stories.
I suppose we’re also, indirectly, celebrating Bar-Scheeze. Following the takeover of the now 100+-year-old Schuler's Restaurant in downtown Marshall from his father, Winston J. Schuler (1908-93) did two things. Well, more than two really but this post is fairly concise and only focusing on Dickens (hence the title) and Bar-Scheeze.

First, Schuler converted one of the dining rooms into the Dickens Room, whose walls were covered with illustrations of some of Dickens’ popular and enduring characters. Second, as a gesture of hospitality, he did something unheard of in the restaurant trade at the time. Upon being seated diners were immediately rewarded with a complimentary crock of Schuler's own secret recipe of Bar-Scheeze – a concoction of cheddar cheese, horseradish, and a dash of brown ale.

We wonder how it would go with Postum, another food item native to Michigan. There’s a reason to give it a try, we suppose, but it hasn’t surfaced yet.  Don't mix the two together, though.

Anyway, we have discussed the interconnectedness between Schuler and Dickens (and Bellairs) previously so we’ll just bring out the fourth in our series of Schuler's postcards from the 1950s.

This month our cast includes Mr. Stiggins from The Pickwick Papers (1836), a “prim-faced, red-nosed man” who is a dissenting minister and deputy shepherd of the Emmanuel Chapel at Dorking and, while preaching temperance, has a fondness for rum; and the Marchioness, the tiny, wretched and half-starved servant-girl employed by Sampson and Sally Brass in The Old Curiosity Shop (1840), who later is known as Sophronia Sphynx.

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