Chandler On Christmas

In 1951 Chandler had this to say about Christmas:

Well, Christmas with all its ancient horrors is on us again. The stores are full of fantastic junk…People with strained, agonized expressions are poring over pieces of distorted glass and pottery, and being waited on, if that’s the correct expression, by specifically recruited morons on temporary parole from mental institutions, some of who by determined effort can tell a teapot from a pickaxe. (Letter to Hamish Hamilton, December 21st 1951 from The Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler edited by Frank Macshane)

At times Chandler could be a grumpy old man but, as usual, here he has accurately described the hell of Christmas in a sentence or two. All the excessive glitz and glamour was a big turn off Raymond and he would be much happier spending the 25th December with his beloved wife Cissy, fussing together over a meal they had lovingly prepared together. Food was a big part of their life together and they kept a lot of recipes, along with annotations, in the many kitchens they kept together over the years. Towards the end of his life, Chandler thought about publishing a collection of these recipes and it is a great shame that he never did.


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