Cooking & Entertaining

Celebrating the 12th Day of Christmas

January 5, 2016
Traditional King Cake

Tomorrow is Epiphany…Twelfth Night…the Twelfth Day of Christmas on the liturgical calendar, when the Church celebrates the coming of the Kings to visit the baby Jesus. While scholars tell us that it is more likely that Jesus was a toddler living in a house with Mary and Joseph when the wise men came, my mental picture is still that of the kings with their gifts, …

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Two Traditional Christmas Pies

December 22, 2015
pecan pie

Lev’s aunt lived in nearby Rockport, and whenever she came to see us, she brought two pecan pies and an old-fashioned date cake. Her pie recipe is the best I’ve ever had, rich and custardy, with more butter and eggs than most. It calls for a full cup of butter, four times the typical recipe. Oddly, my daughter-in-law makes a better pie than I. When …

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Baptists and Bourbon

December 10, 2015
eggnog

We moved to Texarkana from New Orleans in March 1947, and that first Christmas Eve my parents gave a little party for their new friends, serving eggnog in punch cups. In the rush to get Santa out for me afterwards (I was six), Mama did not take time to wash the dishes. Housing was scarce after World War II; and we were renting a turn-of-the-century, …

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Memories of Christmas Past

December 3, 2015
Christmas 1967

To Grandmother’s House We Go In the early years of our marriage, we alternated between Lev’s parents in San Antonio and mine in Texarkana, a not completely satisfactory arrangement. Christmas in San Antonio was a very formal, adult affair, traipsing from open house to open house on Christmas Day. The tree was artificial, on a small table in the dining room, decorated by the housekeeper. …

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Reminders of Jean: Pumpkin Bread & Forgotten Cookies

November 24, 2015
Jean Storm

Jean Storm was one of the saints of First Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; wife of Lev’s long-time partner and friend-like-a-brother Ralph Storm; mother of Susan and Kathy; grandmother to Morgan, Sarah, Julia, David and Mary. And my friend. I counted myself blessed to be on the receiving end of the Storms’ generosity. Chief among Jean’s many gifts were her hospitality and her ministry to the …

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Extending and Accepting Hospitality

November 22, 2015
Philippians 2:29

Key 6: Welcome others; be hospitable. A native son was returning home to Philippi, and the Apostle Paul–writing from his prison cell in Rome–instructed this small, struggling group of Christians to welcome Epaphroditus with joy. From beginning to end, the Bible is full of injunctions to be welcoming and hospitable. I tend to think of hospitality as a gift, and certainly we all know some …

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A New Spin on Thanksgiving Dinner

November 20, 2015

Holidays are not easy when there is an empty chair at the table. Families must learn how to “do” Thanksgiving, and sometimes it seems easier to abandon traditions rather than be reminded of what (who) is missing. But in 2014, our family finally got it right. The Dallas clan came to Corpus Christi, and I had many joyful weeks anticipating and planning our time together. …

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Cranberries: For Sauce and for Breakfast

November 19, 2015
CRANBERRIES

Cranberries date back to the Pilgrims. One can imagine that the Indians brought them to that first Thanksgiving meal in 1620. Having now visited Nantucket for three consecutive summers, eating chocolate covered cranberries and imagining autumn, when the island turns red from the cranberry bogs, I appreciate cranberries more than ever. I added French toast casserole with cranberries to my holiday menu last year. This …

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Healthy Eating Is A Luxury

November 12, 2015
$93 of healthy groceries

After Lev came home from the hospital with doctor’s orders to go on a low-sodium diet, I stood in the aisle at our town’s largest grocery store and wept. I had been there an hour, and I had three items in my cart. Salt—as a preservative and a flavor enhancer—seemed to be in everything. How do I do this? I cried. I spent the next …

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Two Very Different Dressings + Gravy

November 8, 2015

Yvonne’s Traditional Cornbread Dressing Yvonne York was my housekeeper for almost 15 years. We watched each other’s children grow up, marry and have babies. We buried our husbands. We shared the same heritage, she from Mobile and I from New Orleans–our Baptist faith, our politics and our cooking. And in the process, we formed a deep and abiding friendship that continues to this day. A …

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