To Make a Dish of Snow

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The final installment for 2011 from our new intake of Graduate Trainees… After a busy November, settling in to the Library, learning to navigate the collections and looking ahead to the next step on the Librarian career ladder, our trainees are certainly deserving of a restful Christmas break.

Here, Alice looks to the wonderful Science & Miscellaneous stacks for festive inspiration and enlightens readers on ‘how to make a dish of snow!’

D Day. D for dreadful, devastating, defining, daunting Deadline Day. Dramatic? Perhaps. But the application for UCL’s Library School is the first of many within our Graduate Trainee year, and has therefore monopolised most of November with its pressing insistence. Complete me! Perfect me! The application itself is fairly straightforward: histories of employment and education, references. The bit that is most taxing is, as always, the personal statement, or why do I want to be a librarian? Why indeed?

Libraries have always been an integral part of my life; from a young age, I would visit and take advantage of the facilities on offer: story times, homework help, and later, academic resources. The unwavering support and enthusiasm of the librarians I encountered, not to mention their ability to seek out answers and deliver information has always inspired me… I believe in the importance of libraries, their ability to transform lives and open up opportunities. I want to become a librarian in order to share these doors and windows with future generations.

Though if truth be told fully, I actually enjoy helping people and the challenge of information searching. Oh, and I love books, but as every applicant loves books, that statement would be horrifically redundant. Wish us luck…


Now for something slightly more seasonal, shelfmark S. Christmas(honestly, you’d think that the Trainees do nothing else bar rummage around the stacks looking for oddities the way we go on!). Let us hark back to the days when Christmas did come “suddenly and without warning” (Ingram 1924), instead of appearing the moment the Hallowe’en moon wanes in the garish form of foil and flashing Father Christmases. Advent nights at the London Library would be perfect with Howell’s A Spotless Rose haunting through the stacks in the cold, dark winter, the wind whistling through the windows, curled up in a Reading Room chair completely lost in a good book.

I thought I’d share with you a recipe taken from A Christmas Book(Original recipe from A Book of Cookerie, 1594). If any readers would like to test it, please share your opinions and photographs (I would myself, but lactose intolerance makes it somewhat restrictive). It won’t poison you… I hope!

To Make a Dish of Snow

Take a pottle of sweet thick Cream, and the white of eyght Egs, and beate them into your cream with a dishfull of Rosewater, and a dishfull of Sugar withal, then take a sticke and make it clene, and then cut it in the end foursquare, and make therewith beat all the aforesaid things together, and ever as it ariseth take it off, and put it in to a Cullender, this done, take a platter and sette an Apple in the midst of it, stick a thicke bush of Rosemary in the Apple. Then cast your Snow upon the Rosemary and fill your platter therewith, and if you have wafers cast some withal, and so serve them forthe.

Ingram, K. 1924 The Romance of Christmas, Society of SS. Peter and Paul Ltd, London
Lewis, W. and Heseltine G. C. 1931 A Christmas Book, J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd, London