Something More to Read?

WILLARD started going out to everyone’s email boxes today; it takes two days for the whole list to go, and even though you might have just read yourself practically silly, you know there could be a surprise for you here, and of course, there is!   But perhaps we need a little mood music?  Here’s a song to dance you down the page; great soundtrack from the movie French Kiss . . .

This is a photo of my heart-shaped Lemon Pepper Tea Biscuits, just out of the oven, still warm, ready for someone to slather them with butter and Cranberry-Orange Marmalade.  They are one of the recipes featured in a new cookbook I’m very excited about — it’s from Where Women Cook Magazine, and it’s called CELEBRATE!

I am one of the twenty-eight women featured in this book; honored to be included with such luminaries of the food world as Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman), Angie Dudley (Bakerella) and Molly Wizenberg (Orangette).  One of the special things about this book, besides the obvious, is that each woman is pictured doing her thing in her own kitchen; there are tons of wonderful photographs, sixty recipes, and lots of tips for celebrating life, with cooking as the magical ingredient.  My chapter is called “Kitchen Table Tea.” The kind of everyday celebration we have in the kitchen with our girlfriends.   Each contributor chose a different theme to focus on.

(Do I like tea, really, or is it just the dishes?  That’s the question!)  Anyway, I have the first copy (still warm off the press) of CELEBRATIONS that was sent to me here on the island.  I’m going to sign it and send it to one of YOU as a Thanksgiving present!  Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post, and on Friday we’ll let the RNG (Random Number Generator) pull a name out of our hat and see in what corner of the world this book ends up.  But for all of you, my girlfriends, scroll to the bottom of this post, and I’ll give you the recipe for the Lemon Pepper Tea Biscuits. ♫ Do I love you, Oh yes I love you  . . . ♪

For me, the Thanksgiving countdown has begun . . . I started making my shopping list this morning . . .

Taking center stage is my grandma’s stuffing, which requires real bread that has to be air-dried for three days. Two days won’t do it. Don’t even think about putting it in the oven to dry.  Those are the rules.  So, I need to be ready.  My ironing board does double duty as drying rack for the bread, spread out on cookie sheets in the pantry.

Plus, right now is gravy-making time; I need it for dinner, but I also need it for leftovers, so I start early and make extra.  I learned to make gravy when I was very young, but still tweak it a little bit every year; a little of this a little of that; vermouth?  Red wine?  Plain this year? Joe always has his family’s 2¢ to add to the pot; sometimes requiring a restraining hand on his pouring arm.  Shall we have sage?  A teeny bit of cloves perhaps?  Perfect gravy is the mark of distinction in our family — no one can describe exactly what makes it perfect, but we sure know it when we taste it!

I’m already done making the butters:

One for each biscuit plate (the baking powder kind).  Yum.

I use leaves for place cards at Thanksgiving (as long as there isn’t snow on them!).  I made these from rhododendron leaves, which are the perfect size, especially if you have a “Marjorie” coming to dinner, because her whole name fits on one!  Plus they’re smooth and flat and don’t break too easily. I pick the leaves the day before and keep them in the fridge so they stay fresh, then write the names on as big as possible with a correction pen (after first practicing on a paper towel!).

OK, so would you like to go to the grocery store with us?  This was yesterday!

We’re almost there, I kept thinking the leaf would jump off, but apparently it really wanted to get to the supermarket parking lot, and wasn’t going to give up until we were there!

OK, that’s enough of that.  It’s been a red letter week for me, a feature in a new book, and another really nice article in the winter issue of Cape Cod Home Magazine.  ♥ You guys must be spreading the word, something crazy is going on; so much to be grateful for.  Plus, we have best friends coming from England next week!  And to top it off, I already figured out what I’m giving you for Christmas! And I’m excited because I think you’ll like it!

 So I am off to the City (that’s Domesticity City of course); I’m taking the day off to play with my house, nurk around in the guest room, organize the pantry, play ball with the new Kitty, hug Girl, kiss Joe, watch old movies, nap, and so on.  But before I go, I want to give you that recipe and remind you to leave a comment to enter the drawing for the book — tell us the strangest, most quirky, or favorite thing you ever had at Thanksgiving — for me it’s always the same, Rainbow Jell-O, not very strange, but definitely quirky, and also a favorite.  How about you?


If you want your biscuits to be heartshaped you will need a miniature muffin pan with hearts!  I have this cast-iron one and I love it. This easy quick recipe makes one dozen delectable biscuits.

  • 1-3oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 c. self-rising flour, sifted
  • 1/3 c. either chopped dried cranberries or currants
  • coarsely ground black pepper
  • sanding sugar (opt.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a deep, medium-sized bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and zest with mixer on med speed until smooth.  Scrape down bowl.  Stir in sour cream.  Gradually beat in flour until well blended.  Stir in cranberries or currants.  Put a heaping tsp. of dough into each cup of an ungreased miniature muffin pan, filling the space completely and leveling the surface of the dough. Grind pepper over the top.  Sprinkle with sanding sugar (if desired).  Bake for 15 min. or until light brown.  Pop out muffins into a basket lined with a tea towel; cover to keep warm. 

Guess what?  A foghorn is blowing, I can hear it sounding out up from the water.  Later gators.  ♥ have a wonderful day! xoxo

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1,719 Responses to Something More to Read?

  1. Bobbi says:

    I’m with you Susan, I can’t decide if it’s the tea or the tea cups that I really love. Thanks for brightening up my day cuz it’s really crummy here in Portland, OR (as if that’s anything new). Cheers.

  2. Jenny Dorta says:

    LOVE your blog and the Willard newsletter! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!!

  3. ~Debbie DD~ says:

    Thanksgiving Greetings Susan~
    I especially enjoyed your pretty Thanksgiving table settings in this post. I also love to take pictures of my dinner table for all of our Holidays. It is such a fun “homemaker kind of thing” to decorate the table. Every year for Thanksgiving my family asks for a different kind of salad called Strawberry Banana Salad which is delicious and so easy to make. So it has been part of our menu for 30 years. I love the color of this crimson salad along with the cranberries and spiced apple rings on our table this time of year. Congratulations Susan on your new cookbook. I am sure choosing the recipes for the book and being filmed in your very own kitchen was a perfectly lovely time for you. How exciting!
    May God Bless You. ~Debbie

    • sbranch says:

      It really was fun! Jo Packham, the editor of the magazines, and the book, came, and she’s a wonderful person!

  4. Carol Barker says:

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Susan and Joe. I am thankful for you!

  5. Laura says:

    I am thankful for this blog and the Willard(s). Thanks for sharing.

  6. Laurie says:

    I absolutely love reading your blog. I have a lot of “down” time at my job and spend a great deal of time on the computer. I read your blog and feel like I’m reading a letter from an old (longtime) friend.

    Anyway, here’s my quirkiest Thanksgiving memory. When I had my first Thanksgiving away from home with my college beau, his mother served turkey roll (like lunchmeat) and mincemeat pie made with ground beef. Needless to say, I really missed the spread that I was used to enjoying that was usually prepared by my wonderful mother and grandmother!

  7. Kelly Biertempfel says:

    Your blog is my “Calgon, take me away!” moment of my day, my mini-vacation to all things homey and cozy and New England-ish. Thank you! I can’t think of anything quirky I’ve had at Thanksgiving, but probably one of the most delicious dishes I can think of is my late mother-in-law’s noodle kugel. She brought it for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other special days along with so many other mouthwatering treats. Her name was Patricia Ann but to me she was Patty or “Peppermint Patty”. She was very “Betty Crocker meets Martha Stewart-ish ” and her passing 3 years ago has left a huge void. The recipe was good warm or cold and no man, woman or child that was ever lucky enough to have it pass over their lips has been able to resist it in all it’s creamy, sweet, noodley goodness! I was lucky enough to come across the recipe tucked into one of her cookbooks shortly before she died and, of course, copied it down for myself. Funny thing is that, when I went to look for it after she passed, it had DISAPPEARED! I think she took it with her to heaven and she is feasting with the angels! Again, thank you for all your wonderful products, pictures, stories, music, inspiration and LOVE you send to the world everyday! My family has been to Martha’s Vineyard twice now – my favorite vacation spot in the world – and I hope to one day bump into you and thank you in person. Sincerely, Kelly B.

  8. Barbara says:

    Love, love, love your blog. My most memorable Thanksgiving was the year that we all were in the dining room saying grace and waiting for the turkey juices to redistribute and lo and behold when we went back to the kitchen to carve the bird, my Mom’s big German Shepherd had already sampled our turkey….not good!!!!

  9. Brenda Shintaku says:

    The book looks wonderful. Can’t wait to see it. You are such a delight. I always, go first, to your blog, (when I boot up in the morning). I love your teacups! So beautiful! Thank-you for Willard! In Willards case, the best things in life really are FREE.

  10. Stacey Schumann says:

    I enjoy your post and it is so lovely. I would like to read – Where Women Cook!!

  11. Misty says:

    Oh please pick me! I love that magazine and would treasure the book. 🙂

  12. Donna says:

    Winning a giveaway from Susan would just make me crow with delight. If it’s a cookbook, well then, you’ll find me on the rooftop!

  13. Cathy Tolbert says:

    The strangest thing we’ve had for Thanksgiving is pizza! Pizza isn’t strange…just having it on Thanksgiving is strange. The explanation is that I have a husband who is um….holiday challenged? Or something. And when we were newly married and not able to get to Grandma’s house and I said, “what will we do?”…he said “pizza!”. (Now I am the Grandma and we always have turkey).

    I enjoy your blog so much. Thank you!

  14. Gale Jourdet says:

    My funny (really it’s only funny looking back on it) Thanksgiving moment happened about ten years ago. We decided to make the meal very easy to do that year. Twenty-seven were coming for the meal. O.K. one oven will not allow 2 turkeys and all the extras…….not enough room! So, a ham….would not really be all that untraditional would it? A ham was ordered. A very large spiral ham from Smithfield ham company. My husband was a purchasing agent for a hotel and was able to get it wholesale. Yeah. Came in a big box, no directions, but how hard was it to cook a ham anyway. It had a blackened crust , hard, didn’t look too appetizing, really. But we perservered, glazing it all through the backing, trying to soften that outer black layer. It must be the nature of these famous hams to look like that…..that must be where the flavor developes. After every one was seated, the ham was presented surrounded by veggies and pineapples, apple rings, you name it….beautiful. As everyone was waiting to taste this marvelous thing, my husband proceeded to try….try… try to carve this ham. What? With a wusthoff knife, then a kinzu knife, then a very sharp cleaver….OMG what is the matter? Get an electric knife they shouted. We did. Succeeded. Served everyone, said our grace. At first bite we knew something was really wrong. Salty in the extreme. Another bite and another and you couldn’t be polite enough to suffer through it, altho some tried just to appease me. Don’t do it….we had enough extras to eat in all the sides, 2 quiches, scallopped potatoes, ect. We didn’t starve. What we fpound out later was that a Smithfield ham must be soaked for days and the soaking water refreshed every so many hours. Then that black coating could be scrubbed off and it would resemble the familiar pink color of a ham and the salt would be gone. Well the joke was on us being less than informed. And you know what the sides were so special and plentiful it made up for the bad ham. My father-in-law said “Happy Thanksgiving” to the smart pilgrims who had the sense to eat the local turkey and not bother with the expensive gourmet ham from the village of Smithfield. In the end it was a good laugh all around.

  15. Karen P says:

    Oh Susan! I finally got caught up reading all the wonderful comments by everyone. Just finished reading the Willard with my afternoon tea (I think it IS the cute teacups more than the tea because I’ve had milk or juice in them just to be able to use the cup!)….This Willard is Thanksgiving magic! I particularly love the photo you took outside the window and the way you describe what’s going on inside is so heartwarming. AND, I love the little country church on the right side of the photo! PERFECT reminder (along with your wonderful quotes) that God is indeed present at this time of year through the beauty of His creation. A thankful heart honors and blesses His heart! Happy Thanksgiving, dear one! xoxo…kp

  16. Lindsay Brauer says:

    Dear Susan
    reading your blog keeps my soul inspired daily. I’m thankful I found your blog!

  17. Joyce Remley says:

    You make me smile,laugh and cry all through Willard’s letter today. The new book looks like a keeper and I can’t wait to try the recipe. Thanks for all you do .

  18. DeniseLynn says:

    Thrilled to hear about the new book and thinking I need to add it to my Christmas wish list at once. The in-laws will all be here for Thanksgiving and I’m feeling the stress {they’ve made it clear I wasn’t the one they really wanted for their son – Ugg} So anyway I am doing all I can to keep a happy face and a healthy heart anyway. Your blog has certainly perked me up a bit. Maybe I’ll write their names on leaves and see if I can bring a smile to their faces anyway!

    • sbranch says:

      I feel sorry for them. And just remember, that’s them. not you. xoxo Happy Thanksgiving!

      • DeniseLynn says:

        Thank you Susan, for the x’s and o’s I needed that. 🙂 I’ve been busy taking care of our 2 little boys and getting the house in order for Thursday. No matter what I have joy in my heart knowing I am so blessed. 2 healthy boys, a warm cozy home and a hubby who provides all that is needed – hey, it doesn’t get much better right!? Now off to read your next posts …. I’ve not been on the computer in a few days and I’m excited to see what I missed. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe and all those you hold dear.

  19. Susan Stout says:

    In the hussle and bussle of the upcoming season it’s wonderful to read your website and just relax! Thank-you! Happy Thanksgiving!

  20. Anita says:

    I received my first Willard today–thank you! What a lovely and warm letter! I will be looking forward to the next and the next and—-! I’m a new fan of yours since finding your blog recently, though I know I’ve been aware of you and your work on some level for years. It feels like you must be an old friend I haven’t heard from in years, and the company here makes me feel so at home. I have been a big fan of Gladys Taber’s writing for longer than I’d like to admit, and love to re-read portions of different books.Now, I’m going to have to scout around and find some of yours 🙂

    Your writing and artwork (love seeing Jack on the books in Willard) are such good medicine, even on great days, but even more special on more somber ones. Thanks for being you! “There’s nobody youer than you!”

  21. Val says:

    I can’t think of a quirky food I’ve had on Thanksgiving, but I can share a favorite Thanksgiving memory of my family’s. 🙂 A few years ago, my little nephew, now 7 years old, was being a real imp during Thanksgiving dinner–getting into things, not listening to his parents, throwing tantrums, refusing to eat. . .just being a little kid, some would say. 😉 Later that evening after all their company had left, he toddled into his parents’ bedroom and said to them, “I’m sorry I ruined your Happy Thanksgiving!” My brother and sister-in-law said they couldn’t keep from laughing, it was so sweet and funny. So now my family says “Happy Thanksgiving” like my nephew: “Do we need more whipped cream for our Happy Thanksgiving?” 🙂 “Is So-and-So coming to our Happy Thanksgiving?” 🙂

    But truly, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m glad your friends can come from so far away, and I’m sure it will be extra special with the little kit-kat scampering around. 🙂

  22. Andi says:

    That cookbook looks really awesome! I have a weakness for cookbooks!! A family favorite that my mom always made an now I do is Sweet Potato Souffle! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

  23. Heather Smith says:

    My Grammy”s stuffing is VERY similar to yours….except there is peanut butter and Golden’s Soicy Brown Mustard melted in the butter… FAV!!!!

  24. Bea says:

    Susan I absolutely love your blog! I have been a fan of yours since I was like 10 years old living in El Salvador! I was pleasantly surprised when I found your blog and subscribed to Willard again. Loving the lemon pepper tea biscuits, I will definitely give them a try. Thank You for inspiring us with your beautiful words and designs. I look forward to adding more of your products to my collection now that I am living in the US.

    Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

  25. Gloria Howard says:

    Loved your travels with the leaf! Loved seeing an almost empty Cronig’s parking lot most of all. I unfortunately only get to Vineyard Haven in the summer. It’s fun to see a glimpse of off season life.

  26. Christine Barnhart says:

    Hi Susan, Isn’t this a wonderful time year! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Oyster Stuffing. It’s really good moist stuffing, I love it at the holidays, most people don’t want to even try it. They don’t know what they are missing!

    Christine Barnhart
    Enumclaw, Washington

    • sbranch says:

      Lots of people really love it . . . I’ve never tasted it, I would, but I’m too hooked on my Grandma’s!

  27. Susan says:

    Hi Susan!
    Thank you for your wonderful website and blog that I enjoy so much, they are just as cozy as your kitchen and as warm as your heart! Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday, no matter where I am or who I am with – it is a special, happy time. One of the best Thanksgiving memories (there are so many!) is the one I celebrated with college friends after moving away from home. Since we were all starving students (well not quite starving.. but often hungry!) we pooled our money and bought two large roasting chickens and all the Thanksgiving ‘fixins’, most of which came out of cans & boxes. We made mulled cider and set a table with paper plates, plastic ware and paper cups. A friend had gathered fall leaves to decorate the table with, so we were feeling quite festive! When 10 of us sat down to eat, all youngsters under the age of 20, we sat with our hands in our laps and were silent for several minutes. I’m sure we were thinking of our families and of the Thanksgiving’s of our childhood . But here we were at a ‘new’ Thanksgiving table with friends who had become as family. This holiday certainly brought us closer to one another. With heads bowed, someone started a blessing and each of us added words of gratitude. This poignant scene was interupted by a squeal from one of the girls.. the leaves decorating the table were covered in little red bugs! Needless to say, the leaves & bugs were dispatched quickly and we enjoyed a wonderful meal and the company of one another.

    Wishing us all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with no bugs!
    Susan in Arroyo Grande

  28. Jean D. says:

    Dear Susan,

    I so enjoy your blog. I have a well worn cookbook of yours that I always go back to when looking for something yummy to make. Wishing you a glorious Thanksgiving.

  29. Kathleen says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful, homey blog. Your home looks so cozy. The quirkiest thing I ever had for Thanksgiving was a dish I made myself. I had my family over and decided it would be nice to have a cheesy rice casserole instead of mashed potatoes and gravy with the turkey. Big mistake. The men were horrified and have never let me forget it.
    Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

  30. essuzy says:

    Susan, it’s the tea & the cups. Like others here I’m a dish-aholic. My quirky Thanksgiving tradition: when my picky eating nephews were very young I started making instant jello chocolate pudding so they’d have at least one thing they liked. They’ve grown to be fine husbands & dads but they & my two kids still past the dessert table for the kitchen fridge where they know I’ve got jello pudding. Now great neices & my granddaughter love it too. A newer tradition since my two kids married, our extended families gather on Saturday before Thanksgiving for Lawson Thanksgiving. They can all eat with their in laws on Thursday.

  31. Wendy says:

    Love the blog, Susan. I have been a fan for a long time and have your first and second books which I loved and so did my young daughter. Well, in fact, I don’t have those books now…. they are in my daughter’s kitchen bookcase : ) My how time flies. Thanks for all the beauty.

  32. Susan NC says:

    Quirkiest food – Vidalia onion ice cream, served as a starter. It really was pretty good, even if startling! Didn’t make the annual cut though. My sister’s hot Vidalia onion dip did. Now that is yummy.
    Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving and a bountiful spread – of both food and friends!

    • sbranch says:

      Vidalia onion ice cream makes sense, cream and onions go well together, I wonder if the onions were caramelized?

  33. Vita says:

    I loved seeing you at the Antique show! My friend and I drove up from LA and had a wonderful time. After reading all about your Halloween on the blog, I got inspired and tried the corn pudding recipe for a luncheon I gave and it was a huge hit!!! I gave you all the credit of course and people wanted to know which book it came from. Next, I want to try the Sweet Potato soup, I’ll have to have another party. Thank you so much for all the inspiration.

  34. Yvonne Shafer says:

    My mother handed down a really delicious recipe for a nut cake but nobody in our family can make it really taste like hers did – except for my middle sister! She’s now the official nut cake baker and if she doesn’t bring the cake to the family Thanksgiving dinner, she’s in real trouble! Hope you and Joe and the “kids” have a wonderful, cozy Thanksgiving!

  35. Kristin N says:

    We are very traditional at Thanksgiving so I do not have any odd things we have eaten! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is all about food and family….my favorite things!

  36. downthelanegirl says:

    No one for dinner one year and we had Cornbread and beans for Thanksgiving. It was yummy!

  37. Siobhan says:

    It would have to be most wonderful, because I don’t remember anything weird or unusual ever…and, it would have to be the whole shebang, made by a mama who didn’t like to cook, but pull it off she did, so her only daughter would have a real Thanksgiving…and she came from Ireland, so it wasn’t her tradition. I loved my mom’s thanksgiving dinners, and we usually go elsewhere these days to save her the bother (and because she will do it all on Christmas for me), and it’s truly just wonderful to still have her with me and I so hope for many many more. Loved the song, and the tenacious leaf! I got a box of goodies today, and there’s more to come from SB! Thank you!

  38. Debbie P. says:

    Hi, Susan~

    So many wonderful comments on this blog…Wow! I think you must be on to something!
    I just wanted to stop by and tell you that I made your gingerbread with the lemon sauce and whipped cream for a pre-holiday gathering of my sisters and a couple of dear cousins last night. It was such a hit! I’ve never had lemon sauce before with my gingerbread….it was delightful!
    I was planning to make the apple-cranberry crisp for another pre-holiday dinner on Sunday but was wondering….did you ever make an apple-cranberry pie? ….just curious.
    Hope you’re having a relaxing evening!
    Until tomorrow…

  39. susan says:

    Too funny! Life’s little pleasures.

  40. jill says:

    i love the little videos, feel like i am there on the vineyard with you!
    everything looks so yummy and ready for Thanksgiving…we are heading up toward your Ca home for Thanksgiving, Pismo Beach in an RV, Happy Thanksgiving Susan, I just love your blogs and Willard!!!

  41. Regina says:

    Just loved your Willard, like always. But I just experienced such a “coincidence” or a “kindred spirit” moment. I’m currently reading the book called Circle of Grace by Leslie Gould. It’s an inspirational, country-life fiction book. Anyway, one of the characters was quoting an author to her granddaughter and it was by Christina Rossetti. As I read the quote, I thought, “I think Susan just posted that somewhere.” And lo, and behold, it was at the top of your Willard this week! Here’s the poem she had quoted: “Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you: But when the leaves hang trembling The wind is passing thro’.
    Who has ssen the wind? Neither you nor I: But when the trees bow down their heads The Wind is passing by.” It didn’t say the title, but I just loved seeing all of it. This just shows how we are all so connected! Happy Thanksgiving!

  42. Mecky says:

    The book sounds wonderful. What a sweet give-a-way gift!
    Your recipe sounds great and I will be making it soon.

    I cannot think of any thing quirky that we have to have each year. We must be a boring family here! LOL!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  43. Cindy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! I enjoy your books so much and look so forward to sitting down and enjoying Willard when it comes. Enjoy celebrating the holidays with your loved ones! 🙂

  44. audrey Bell says:

    Each year at our familyThanksgiving celebration my mother would present each of us with a hand crafted paper Christmas stocking shaped list. We were all encouraged, both young and old to use the stocking to write down our Christmas wishes. My mom would post these lists in her kitchen, which then became “North Pole Central” for the Holiday Season. When anyone needed a suggestion for a gift for a cousin, aunt, niece, nephew or child they could do what Santa did and check the list. It was a fun tradition that lasted for years. We have grown a bit older and moved away from gift giving as the cousins have aged and the aunts and uncles are now grandparents to their own but those excited moments and anticipation of what marked the beginning of the Christmas season for us is such a fond memory.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s a really good idea!

      • audrey Bell says:

        Our “quirky” family recipe is for dressing made not with bread as a base but potatoes! My mom was not much of a cook but she tried. One recipe she sort of mastered was handed down from my German grandmother who was my father’s mother. I suppose my mom learned to make this potato dressing to please my dad. Seasoned with plenty of sage this recipe uses the turkey liver to add flavor and I guess has to be labeled “quirky.” My parents are both gone from us and it is my husband who asks for the potato stuffing now. I make it for him for our Thanksgiving celebration both because he likes it and it brings back warm memories of my mom during this holiday. Gathering together as a family, celebrating with traditions founded in food and the bounty of our blessings, we have so much to be thankful for!
        Thank you Susan for your wonderful blog. I check in daily and enjoy the glimpse into your life that you share with us “girlfriends.”

  45. Gina Harrell says:

    Susan- Your books and holiday ideas have always been a great inspiration for me. We love your Rainbow Jello!! My favorite thing to make is my dad’s best ever pecan pie and sweet potato bundt cake in my marigold pan. (dusted with powdered sugar, of course). Our family enjoys an oyster roast and outside gathering on Thanksgiving at my brother-in-law’s house out in the country.
    I have to tell you this… my sister gave me the most unique gift for my birthday last year. It was a copy of your Summer Book that she found in the Half Price Book Store in Ft. Worth. It has a sticker on it from the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Martha’s Vineyard, and it is autographed by you! She thought it was the best find ever… and I had to agree! (even though you didn’t sign it for me 🙂 Maybe I will get one signed just for me some day!

  46. Cecelia in ole' Virginny says:

    The prayer at the end of the Willard is the sweetest. We always go around the table and each guest says what they are thankful for. Thanks for the George Herbert prayer and Happy Thanksgiving to you and all you readers and lovers of Susan’s!

  47. Donna Benoit says:

    Love Willard, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  48. Kimmi S says:

    I love your books. Every time I look at one, which is often, I see new things in your drawings. My 10 year old loves all the illustrations too. Have a great holiday and keep up the GREAT work.

  49. Carol says:

    Your passion for life is contageous! I love to read your blog and “visit” with you!

  50. Tammy Barnum says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Susan, Joe, and Kitties. Hope I’m not too late for the drawing!

  51. Marie Knight says:

    I finally had to write and tell you how much I love reading your blog! It always makes me so happy and inspires me to make my home even a little more cozy. I really enjoy spending time on your website, shopping online and reading all the wonderful decorating tip, etc. Thank you for taking your time to make so many of us happy. You are a wonderful person, artist, and I love your creativity in all you do. Fondly, Marie

  52. Daricia says:

    i hope i’m still in time for the contest…i would love to win the new book! your stuffing recipe up there is the one i have out on the counter thanksgiving morning every year getting butter and onions on it! (it’s a copy…in a sheet protector. 🙂 ) i always get lots of compliments, too, by the way.

  53. Daricia says:

    ps still giggling about the leaf (post oak?) and your hushed commentary.

    • Judy says:

      I love the muffins they look so festive. I would love to read more ab out it in your new book. Then I would pass it on to a great friend.

  54. Deb Evans says:

    The strangest place I ever had Thanksgiving dinner was in Paris… the Hard Rock Cafe. We were military families assigned to Germany and got together with another family to take the train to Paris for the Thanksgiving school break. I don’t remember what I even had for dinner, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t turkey. The five teenage boys were happy, the parents were happy, the music was blaring, but it was all good. Friends, family, food, and being thankful for all we have and the opportunities we have. Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

  55. Susan Jones (CLBCQ) says:

    I will never forget when my mom put 2 pumpkin pies on the blanket chest at the foot of my brothers bed to let them cool and get them out of the craziness in the kitchen… and my brother went in and jumped on his bed and put a foot in each one of the pies!

  56. Sandra says:

    Your tables are lovely and great ideas on the place markers. Your ironing board idea would never work around here; the dogs would think it’s a buffet especially for them! As to the gravy…perhaps chocolate or red eye, those are among my favorites.

  57. jeanne murray says:

    Ever since my children were small we have always included popcorn in our Thanksgiving feast – a la Charlie Brown.

    Happy memories … happy times …

    Jeanne Murray

  58. Susan Elizabeth Roubal says:

    The latest Willard was just wonderful! Maybe its because we are both “Susans”, Susan, but there are so many things we have in common, it’s uncanny! For instance, I also have a red collection with red lidded jars (red things everywhere!), I have the very same cake glass plate, I LOVE Constant Comment tea just like my Mom and her Mother, I introduced a kitty to our older kittie, too. I could go on and on. Susan, suffice it to say: your letters brighten each and every day they arrive!
    P.S. I just got my copy of “Autumn” a few days ago and I am so excited to start going through it! Signed, Another Susan 🙂

  59. Angela says:

    Hi Susan, this may not be exactly what you were looking for, but I hope you see why I gave this answer. Thank you for allowing us to share great moments and memories!
    The most favorite thing I ever had at Thanksgiving was a co-worker. His family (parent’s, brother and sister-in-law) all live on the west coast and he couldn’t get out to be with them. So I invited him to spend Thanksgiving with me and my family here in Pennsylvania. He accepted and we had a very nice time together. That was in 1996. In May of 2001 that co-worker became my husband and we have spent many Thanksgiving’s together since then, but that Thanksgiving was the first holiday we ever spent together and that Thanksgiving will always be my favorite.

  60. Michelle says:

    You know, it’s not just the dishes but the teas themselves. Red Rose = Grandma Doris and Bigelow’s Constant Comment = Grandma Jean. I miss them both! What a wonderful looking book. Congrats to the winner & Happy Thanksgiving!

  61. Gill says:

    I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving Susan. I am starting to think about Christmas here, and have just gone through my family Christmas recipe book,a record of all our Christmases that I started when my children were just babies (and my need for organised planning was great!) Many old favourite recipes and one or two new ones each year. I also add prayers, poems and Christmas hints and tips. Now, if only I could draw like you… 🙂 Gill.

  62. Marilyn Rost says:

    We went to a potluck Thanksgiving, where a woman brought apple pie, she said she hadn’t baked in years! We were all served the pie and I couldn’t eat but a couple of bites. She had put sesame seeds on the top of the pie and they were rancid. All of the men at the table said it was really good ! You just never know what some people will like! I Love tea cups and saucers, I buy them at yard sales, I like old dishes.

  63. Kimberly says:

    You are not going to believe this but my daughter and I had a lovely tea party in the dark, last week with the storm that left us with no power for…wait for it…12 days! Lucky for us we had a wood stove. We are very blessed, we still have our home and we are all just great. I, on the other hand had Susan Branch Blog withdrawls. I hadn’t realized that I check your blog every day. You make me smile Thank you for your beauty! Happy Thanksgiving

  64. Mrs.T says:

    Oh! I would love to win that book! Maybe I’m too late though… Anyway, I don’t think I have ever had anything too strange or quirky for Thanksgiving. We are pretty traditional as far as food goes, but I can say “strange” or “quirky” might occasionally apply to family members! It’s odd this year; we just got back from vacation and really have no idea what we’re doing for Thanksgiving.

  65. Janet Conn says:

    In addition to being thankful for God’s blessings, my dear family and friends, I am thankful to you for “Willards” and this inspirational blog. You bring so much joy to so many.

    With a million Hearfelt thanks!

  66. Joan Gunter says:

    We lived for 18 months in Vermont and I realized then as I do every time I read your blog, that we just do things differently in the West. We have a dinner with all the trimmings, but usually it’s on paper and plastic. Still it has ambience for us. One very special treat is homemade, spicey tamales still warm delivered personally by our good friend and neighbor Bertha Bustillos who is from Mexico. We munch on them while we prepare our very American meal.

  67. MoeWest says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Thanks for the recipe and the chance to win the Celebrations cookbook.

  68. Pamela says:

    love your blog-such a warm and inviting place, like meeting up with old friends. I love tea, but I love tea cups, tea sets, etc just as much! A pretty tea cup and saucer just makes it taste even better. Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all for a fabulous and safe holiday.

  69. Gloria Groza says:

    Oh Hello Susan! Hoping I am not too late for the give-away! I have been soooo busy this week and kept thinking I would comment and here it is Friday already! If I miss the contest, it was worth it, because I went to the neatest Estate Sale this morning and guess what I found? The most adorable, wooden Recipe Box! I think it is cedar wood with the dove-tail joining with a cute Jadeite (sp) red handle AND the recipes came inside! The best part is it was only $5! Is that cool or what? I am just bursting with my good fortune! As to Thanksgiving can’t think of anything weird, or unique. I just love it – more than Christmas! It’s just a time to get together for a wonderful meal and sharing what we are Thankful for. We are so blessed! You know what they say or someone said: “The secret to having it all is believing that you!” And I do – I may not have everything I want, but God supplies me everything I need. We will be in The Woodlands TX with our daughter (Lisa Hay, she comments too) and son-in-love for ourThanksgiving (about 4 hrs. from here). Hope you and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving! XOXOX from Gloria in Nevada, TX 😀

    • Gloria Groza says:

      PS. Oh, I forgot to tell you that I found a little leaf mold and made lots of the butter leaves to take to Lisa and Ricks! I loved that idea! I’m also bringing the pies – I love pie! Pie fixes everything! Love, Love Gloria

    • sbranch says:

      Love your new box, congratulations! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Barbara Tabb says:

      that’s what makes shopping at estate/garage/rummage sales so fun! the delight of a found treasure! one time I found a fabulous Lenox salt shaker and pepper grinder for $5. who would want to get rid of that?? and to find a treasure like a wooden recipe box w/Jadite handle and the recipes?? WOW! good for you.

  70. Vicki O'Dell says:

    I just found your blog today and I’m so excited!! What are the chances that a NEW reader would win the cookbook? *crossing my fingers* 🙂

  71. Christie Ray says:

    Oh, Susan, dear one…once again you have saved the day! I’ve just popped back over after ordering the mini heart pan…will copy the recipe …and will be making these for our outing/picnic to gather boughs of evergreens at the farm. We will be packing our lunch in my new/old picnic basket (one of your vintage finds), filling our thermoses with hot cocoa and hot coffee, and I needed to have a treat to share…these little hearts will be just the perfect thing! Brother-in-law will have his two mules pulling a flat bed wagon…and we’ll crunch along in the fallen leaves and brush the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This is quite the event, as there will be several of us enjoying the feeling of being transported back in time. We have decided upon a real tree this Christmas…and I can hardly wait! I celebrated my 50th birthday this past Sunday, and life is just so grand! No humbugs around here!
    Happy day,
    Christie Ray
    P.s. If Lola doesn’t get picked, Lola will purchase;))

  72. Diane says:

    Hi there!
    I’ve been loving on your books since way back when. :o)
    Am I too late for the drawing????
    Do you need my weird Thanksgiving food for an entry?
    I think mine was the frozen ‘mater and cuke slices, which were left out on the snowy back porch, ‘cuz there wasn’t enough room in the kitchen or the fridge, the year I was 15 and decided to “do” the entire Thanksgiving dinner for my family as a “gift.” I just served them frozen (i.e., wrecked) and was sure to be highly offended if no one complimented me on them. 😉

  73. Terri says:

    As our extended family grows with each generation, so many great dishes have been added to our family’s American melting pot celebrations, lumpia (a type of Filipino eggrolls) being one of my new favorite side dish traditions. Another new (to me) appetizer from last Thanksgiving (that I hope will become a tradition because they were Delightfully Delicious!) were dates stuffed with brie (I think – it was definitely a soft, white scrumptious cheese), wrapped in bacon and baked till the bacon was delicately crispy outside and the cheese was melt-in-your-mouth perfect, inside. Yum…
    How exciting that you’re included in this book! Thank you for giving us a chance to win such a great book – I hope I’m in time for the drawing (crossing my fingers…).
    p.s. And thank you – again and again – for sending Willard out into the world! That ray of sunshine in the virtual mailbox makes my whole day happier.

  74. Dawn says:

    One Thanksgiving my little nephew (now 30) wanted to say the prayer before dinner… we all (26 of us) fold our hands and bow our heads and wait for him to say the blessing….LOUD and STRONG he SinGS : OHHHHHHHHH the Lord is good to me and so I thank the Lord. For giving me, the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed…the Lord is good to me. Amen. Amen. Amen Amen Amen. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHMEN!!!!! Well…. that has been the prayer ever since….we ALL sing LOUD and STRONG! But my own children (now young adults) have ALWAYS gotten the giggles!!!! To the point of tears!!! We ARE NOT SINGERS let me tell ya!!!!! But we like to LAUGH….if even at ourselves!!!! Have a most wonderful Thanksgiving dear Susan!! And, you truly give thanks with a grateful heart!!!! We read it in your words everyday and for that we ALL say, ” THANK YOU!” We are so Blessed to have you in this big wild world!!! Love to YOU!!!!!

  75. Thanks for such a wonderful blog full of creative ideas and inspiration!! We’re vegan in our household, so what other’s find to be the craziest thing we have for Thanksgiving is a Tofurky roast…but trust me on this one the taste will draw you in and with all the other fixings, you’ll hardly miss the bird 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

  76. Ruby the mom says:

    I have a couple of your cookbooks (love the stories as much as the recipes) and am thankful for the chance to win another one. Also very excited to find your blog. That makes it a great day. 🙂

  77. JoAnn Bryan says:

    Did NOT know you had a blog till I saw it on the Where Women Create facebook fan page. As a 40 year old who never really learned to cook much, I’d loooove to have that book! Thanks for the opportunity:)

  78. Pam says:

    I especially loved the Lida Rose song you shared with us on your Willard that just came out and I just received today (Friday)- thank you for sharing that. It reminded me to think of my Grandma’s favorite song, Ave’ Maria, and I cry each time I hear that song when sung by Harry Connick Jr. Reminds me so much of her. All my life, my Grandma lived next door to us, and she was always like my second mum. I used to go over to her house almost every night to watch the old Lawrence Welk shows with her. Sweet memories. And my Grandma’s favorite Christmas colored lights were the old blue lights streaming around the outside trees and inside tree. I absolutely love and adore your blog, along with the kitties. Thank you for sharing everything with all of us; it’s so nice to read about everything, especially since I do not have t.v. in my home, so it’s such an extra special blessing for me to see and read all of this. And I absolutely ADORE your kitties – the videos of them make me laugh! God bless you!!!

  79. Kim McM says:

    I hope I’m not too late to enter! Mr. Random Generator hasn’t already done his thing, has he? Our Thanksgiving dinners are always very traditional. Occasionally we will have sausage or walnuts in the stuffing, and one or two experimental side dishes or desserts. One year my sister-in-law made a casserole that was a twist on the regular sweet-potato casserole. It had yams, cranberries and a crumbly crisp topping, with marshmallows sprinkled on top. I am not a sweet potato lover, but it was tasty. It was called Berry-Yam-Mallow Bake, but my brother kept referring to it as Barry Manilow Bake. I’m pretty sure it was intentional and not because he couldn’t remember the name.

  80. Jessica H. says:

    One Thanksgiving that stands out in my memory was when I went to my friend Maria’s house. Her three aunts and grandmother, who came up from Mexico every year during the holiday season, would take over the kitchen and imbue all the usual dishes with a deliciously unexpected Latino twist. The turkey was wrapped up in corn tortillas and dunked in cranberry-jalepeno relish. The stuffing had peppers and chorizo sausage in it. The potatoes were mashed with corn and cumin. And for dessert, they made the same pumpkin custard filling you’d make for any traditional pumpkin pie, but they filled empanadas with it instead of pouring it in a crust. To drink, we had cranberry-lime margaritas and creamy coffee sprinkled with cinnamon.

    P.S. I just discovered your blog today, SB. I found your red Christmas cookbook in my mother’s pantry and looked it through four times in one sitting. Then I ordered your Autumn book online. Then I was like, “I wonder if she has a blog?” and here I am. Uh-oh, I think I may be hooked.

    P.P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to all from Los Angeles!

  81. Paula says:

    Oh what a delight it will be for the special recipient! Hope it’s me!
    Love, love, love your blog

  82. Shari Flinn says:

    Had to laugh at your “drying” bread. I do the same thing only with cornbread for our stuffing! Love your blog! Love your red transferware (my favorite) .The thing that we always have at Thanksgiving (that other people think is “quirky”…but is totally normal for us) is a plate of feta, olives, and artichoke hearts. My grandparents were greek immigrants, and that was at most meals at my grandparents when they were still alive. Now we always have it as a side or appetizer at family get togethers.

  83. Katherine says:

    Hi Susan—
    I think I’ve mentioned this before but apple pies in big iron skillets. Lumpy and yummy!!!
    Enjoy the weekend!!!

  84. Patti says:

    just a note to add for the book drawing. we just got back from costa rica. what a beautiful country. saw so many birds and plants and what friendly people. oh and it’s so warm there…………brrrrrrrr i’m still adjusting now that i’m home. time for a fire!
    love your writing. inspirational for sure! thanks! patti

  85. gail kent says:

    I like cook books.This looks like a good one to have.Thanksgiving is here upon us again.We have so much to be thankful for.Families, friends and food-what more could you ask for.Hope you have wonderful holidays and that they are filled with so much love and happiness.I enjoy your art.

  86. Ursula says:

    I love your blog, I see pictures of all these wonderful things you make and I want to run into the kitchen!! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  87. Kim Lessig says:

    Love the magazine and would love the book! <3 Have a great weekend Susan : ) Kim

  88. Lisa says:

    I love to read your personal blog. It makes me feel as if I have a special connection to you. The recipes and touch of love inspire and lift me up each day. Thanks for doing what you are doing!

  89. Cheryl Colazas says:

    Hi Susan,
    I’ve been reading everyone’s comments. Loving how everyone loves you and your blog just like I do! You always make my day.
    I love Thanksgiving, just as my mother-in-law did. Cooking for all the family is so special. My mother-in-law, a woman I loved with all my heart, so enjoyed cooking Thanksgiving dinner. We just never knew when dinner would be served or what we were going to get! One year Mom forgot to get whipped cream for the fruit salad. This was her famous fruit salad that her boys waited all year for!!!! So Mom decided to make the salad with mayonnaise instead of whipped cream, I mean they are the same right?! The looks being passed around the table when everyone started eating the salad were priceless. Of course, one of the boys (mind you they were all in their 40’s at the time) made a comment. Then another, and another, finally Mom confessed to her substitution…her boys never allowed her to live this down and I started having Thanksgiving at my house the following year. Don’t you just love family memories?!!! Enjoy your Thanksgiving, I’ll be spending mine with my husband and friends in the Sultanate of Oman, our home for the past 3+ years. We are moving back to the states November 30 and next year Thanksgiving will once again be at our house…I can’t wait!

  90. nancy earl says:

    I would love that book. also love the recipe.

  91. Buzz'n Bea says:

    Oh, I knew I should have read the blog right away, now I am to late. :<(
    We have the usual Thanksgiving dinner, however, after dinner we put out a Christmas jigsaw puzzle to work on. Others head for the movies. To each his own.
    Have a wonderful and blessed, Thanksgiving with friends and family. You are among the people for whom I am thankful, you brighten my day with your blogs.

  92. Glenda says:

    Too late to enter for the cookbook, which is ok by me, as I don’t go to your blog for a prize. (Although this is very nice of you to do). I go because I feel like you are just right next door and we are visiting. I like your tea tray and your beautiful dishes. Just my “cup of tea”! Someday maybe I will get the little biscuits made. Someday…..I so enjoyed the trip to the grocery store. Funny, such a simple thing, but so fun that you shared the trip with the rest of us. My family is not going to make it for Thanksgiving, but with your motivation, I am thinking of all sorts of things for my beloved and I to do and it is ok! Speaking of ok, maybe I will go try to make the lemon pepper biscuits.:)…most of my dishes are blue and white I will be enjoying having “tea” with you. I think I will “make up” a little tray like yours to have everything ready…..
    Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing a little bit of “you” with the “us”! 🙂

  93. Barbara Tabb says:

    we always have a traditional Thanksgiving with the fine china, all the sterling flatware shined, the leaded glass bowls brought out, and the goblets at the table….we have traditional food, but, I like to add something to keep my guests guessing what is this? so I’ve been making things like quinoa salad, or a cranberry cheesecake, waldorf apple salad, something along those lines, different, but still yummy and good 🙂 just spent my morning Christmas wreath making at Henry Ford’s estate in Dearborn MI….so fun and darn but my wreath is a beauty! hanging on my door, wish I could attach a photo for you to see! I have seen your front door, but you haven’t seen mine!

  94. Sue says:

    We usually do the same thing every Thanksgiving with turkey & the usual fixins’. Last year we ate out at a restaurant for the first time ever. That did seem kind of quirky.
    Thanks for a chance to win this book — it looks awesome.

  95. pamelajane says:

    Our quirkiest Thanksgiving meal happened many years ago when the oven in our military quarters stopped working. As a young married couple, we had a houseful of neighbors chatting, hungrily munching on appetizers and waiting for the large turkey to finish roasting… and waiting… and waiting… My reputation as a fabulous cook was definitely on the line, but none of us could figure out what was wrong. The oven had been hot (and working), then had apparently quit mid-bake, leaving the pampered turkey and glorious stuffing resting in cold limbo. So we ordered late-evening emergency pizza for 20 and dined out on the story for a long time!

    However, that was mild compared to our stay in a residence hotel in Beirut, where the oven blew up the day before Thanksgiving. That year I cooked Cornish hens pair by pair in the toaster oven while our guests made elaborate toasts in between the other “courses” and waited for “their” Cornish hens. Lesson learned: we must always be grateful for what we have, even when it’s Plan B.

  96. Nancy klezmer says:

    I just began subscribing to your blog… I LOVE it!!!! You have a WONDERFUL way of making me stop and smell the roses! THANK YOU!!

  97. Patty says:

    Yum! I’m definitely going try those tea biscuits. I don’t think this is quirky but I love mincemeat pie. My father and I were the only ones who did. You know there is nothing like a piece of mincemeat pie for breakfast!

  98. Davett Lee McClain says:

    Happy Autumn !!! Susan,
    I’m so very much looking forward to Thanksgiving this year,because,I will be spending it with my dearly departed Mothers side of the family.Since my mom died in 2001 at age 68,and most recently the passing of my last, and most favorite Aunt this year,at age 69.I find that at the tender age of 41,that life has left my sister,and my cousins, to take that dreaded step forward on the family scale.We are indeed now,the secsesors on the family tree.The oldest in line,whether we like it or not.And this year my cousin,whom recently moved his family from california to be closer to family in Pennsylvania,has invited us to Thanksgiving Dinner.This is a first, in many years, that we all are able to gather around the dinner table.I have no doubt our time spent will be talking about the old days when we were kids,when Pop and Nana were alive in the big white house on Laurel st.And of our Parents.Black and white pictures will be strune accross the table of our family,gone now.And many stories of yesteryear.Tears, Hugs,laughs! Isn’t that what makes up Holidays spent with family?? Tears,Laughs and plenty of HUGS!I can’t say that I have a Quirky thanksgiving memory to share with you.But, what i did want to share with you,is how HAPPY i am to beable to have my hubby, my sisiter, nieces , nephews , and plenty of cousins to share this FAMILY Holiday with!I also want to say…I love your blog! i know you must hear this often…But, i too share a love of the old things!…I always said..I was born in the wrong ERA! lolololo….You ,Susan Branch, have made buying , using, and decorating with Grammas gently used love me downs..CHIC!!!! I love your cabbage rose wall paper in ur dining room.There was a time I would have been embarrased to have said that to my peers, for fear of being laughed out..Not anymore! lololo….Thankyou for you! Thankyou for sharing your life with us! I know at times that can’t always be easy…..This is te perfect time to be and feel THANKFUL!!! I tease my husband when I say…”When I grow up, I want to be like Susan Branch”.God Bless and Thankyou!

  99. Davett Lee McClain says:

    Well, OK!! this is not realy QUIRKY!! BUT, One Thanksgiving, about 8 or 9 years ago..I wanted to impress my new in-laws and stepdaughters to the kind of dinner my mom would make us…I mistakenly added the peeled and quarted potatoes to hot water from the spikot.thinking it was the cold…after draing i couldn’t understand WHY???? on earth!???? were they greyish ,with what looked like fuzzy wuzzy coats on them…..I later found out from a friend after telling her my dilema..that I must have started them out in hot water and not cold…BOY,!! was my face RED that Thanksgiving Day! =oP I just kept appologizing over n over! lololol.

  100. Davett Lee McClain says:

    HELLO!! AGAIN!!..I didi think of a Quirky episode!!! One Thanksgiving I decide to make loaded mashed potates{bacon,cream chees,soucream,butter},..the last ingredient u are to put the shredded cheddar cheese on top then , heat till top is browned….when my guest took the serving spoon to scoop up a delicous spoonful of these loaded mashed potatoes , they found to thiers and MY! SURPRISE! that the spoon wouldn’t break through the top layer of golden brown cheddar cheese. It was like PLASTIC!!!!! you could tap on the top,and it sounded like I was tapping on a rubbermaid lid!! lolololol I was HORRIFIED!!!!!!!!!leaving the top layer..unedible!What happened I later realized after digging through the trash can that night… to find my chees bag ,was that I used FAT FREE shredded cheddar…instead of the whole fat milk kind…..the cheese melted…but, it also HARDENED!!! like a rock! after it came out of the oven… another RED face episode! lololo OY!!!!

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