The Divining Wand

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Happy Holidays from Meg Clayton, Ad Hudler, Melanie Benjamin, and Tish Cohen

December 21, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Holidays

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‘Tis the season to be jolly or — more appropriate — to be joyful despite all the busyness. Today our authors offer a special recipe, wishlists, and a best gift given.

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Meg Shares Page’s Post-It Turkey Dressing

MegtmbGrowing up, I was never a big fan of dressing, or gravy or anything, really, but the holiday turkey and the pies. For my oldest son’s first Thanksgiving, though, we trekked to Nashville to have Thanksgiving with my mom-in-law, and I tasted turkey dressing Page Davidson Clayton style. What a difference a recipe makes, especially when it includes cornbread, which I’ve always loved!

grandmotherwNickThe next year as the holidays approached I rang Page up – from the office, it appears, since the notes I took for her recipe are written in my messiest scrawl on two rectangular yellow post-it notes. As I’ve pulled it out over the years, I’ve often thought I should commit this to a recipe card. The two post-its no longer stick together, so I’m frequently left with one in hand as I search for its match in the scatter of cut-out and collected recipes that constitute most of my recipe book, and my scrawl is nearly impossible to read, even for me, too, and my spelling atrocious. But somehow I never did, and when I pulled it out this Thanksgiving, the first time I’ve made Page’s dressing since she died last year, I realized I never will; when I look at the post-its, Page springs to life for me again in a way I’m afraid I’ll lose if this wonderful recipe is reduced to careful ink on a 3×5 card.

“Make one recipe corn bread. While hot crumble it up in a bowl. Saute 1/2 – 1 small onion & celery. Use fair amount of margarine. Pour in some of the drippings from turkey and neck, etc., & water and onion and parsely flakes & cook broth for a couple hours. Use plain white bread or biscuits & crumble it up with cornbread (3-4 pieces). Pour in hot broth. Add salt, pepper & a little poultry seasoning. Put in sq. cake pan and bake at 350° or so for till not too brown (or make patties on cookie sheet)”

The celery is struck through because my husband turns out to be allergic to it, and Page said I could omit it, but the other strike-throughs are Page making up her mind about how she cooks. Several years ago, I started throwing in a few pecans and cranberries, too, which my gang likes. But why a square cake pan instead of a round one? How much is “fair amount” or “a little” or “some”? And what’s with the “little patties on a cookie sheet” – is that dressing? These are questions I never got answers to.

In sharing Page’s recipe, though, I mean to send some of the love she gave to me out into the world. And it’s delicious love! Happy holidays, everyone!
Meg Waite Clayton (The Wednesday Sisters)

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Ad Hudler’s Personal Holiday Wishlist

AdtmbMud flaps for my truck, new kitchen apron, chain saw, cute little plates from Anthropologie, money for new ‘gator-skin boots, behavioral-modification classes for our cat, and sweet cards from my daughter and wife.
Ad Hudler (Man of the House, All This Belongs to Me, House Husband)

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Melanie’s Personal Holiday Wishlist

MelanietmbA new fireplace for our living room; it’s what my husband and I are giving each other this year.
Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been coming January 12, 2010)

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Tish’s Best Gift to Her (Young) Son

TishtmbWhen my youngest was about five, many of his toys were battery operated and the poor child was born into a battery challenged household so once his Duracell’s ran out, the toys were rendered useless. He asked Santa for batteries and our photo of him that year is one with him grinning wide while holding up his favorite present: batteries. Kind of heart breaking and cute at the same time.
Tish Cohen (Town House, Inside Out Girl, Little Black Lies YA, The Truth About Delilah Blue coming June 8, 2010)