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Interview: Thanksgiving Memories with Author Julie Hyzy

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Julie Hyzy’s first experience with food included flipping burgers and chopping onions at a neighborhood hot dog stand. She traded that experience for a job as a singing waitress at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour — but gave that up when she started college (and because she couldn’t carry a tune).

Anthony and Barry Award winner Julie Hyzy is the national bestselling author of the White House Chef Mystery series featuring the intrepid Olivia (Ollie) Paras, and the Manor House Mystery series featuring mansion curator Grace Wheaton.

Julie loves food, celebrations and yummy munchies, so this interview was definitely up her alley. (wink)

Enjoy!

What are you most grateful for?

My family, no question. I have a wonderful husband and three daughters who are always fun to hang with. We’re fortunate to actually really like each other and we laugh a lot when we’re all together.

Favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

There are many, and some have morphed over the years as the family has changed. Additions, losses, and change of location have impacted our traditions. One that’s remained constant is putting black olives on our fingers just like we did when we were kids. I do it every year, but I’m far from the only culprit.

Where will you spend Thanksgiving this year?

We will be at my brother’s house again. My mom used to host Thanksgiving, and after she died I took it for a while. Now my brother has it, which is great because I’m always under deadline in the fall. 

Most memorable Thanksgiving memory?

Thanksgiving 1994. We were at my parent’s home, in the basement around the wide ping pong table covered in a tablecloth that my mom had asked me to make. They don’t sell tablecloths that size. The entire family was there. All the kids had been born at that point, and we hadn’t lost anyone yet. For some weird reason, about half the family chose to wear teal that day. No pre-planning, a bunch of us just showed up in the same color. So we took a picture. Wonderful memories that year.

What do you do the eve before Thanksgiving?

I’m usually cooking whatever it is I plan to bring to my brother’s house. Our youngest daughter is vegetarian, so I tend to bring a vegetarian entree she can enjoy, but I make enough of it to share, of course.

What’s your number one splurge food?

And… splurge $$, or splurge as in: eat too much?

Spending-wise, I splurge on chocolate. I like really good chocolate. Fannie May is my favorite, but I appreciate Dove and a few others.

I probably also eat too much chocolate (wait? is there such a thing as too much chocolate?), but at Thanksgiving I splurge by eating too much stuffing. That’s, by far, my favorite Thanksgiving treat. Our family recipe, which was my mom’s and her mom’s recipe, is the best stuffing I’ve ever tasted in my life. 

What do you prefer, sweet or salty?

Salty. Except for chocolate, as noted above, and certain Christmas cookies, I’m not much of a sweet-eater.

What are your plans for the holidays this year?

We host Christmas and the kids will all be here. We decorate the house with two trees — one live tree in the living room, and a blue-green aluminum tree in the family room. My husband grew up in a house with a blue-green aluminum tree, and I grew up in a house that always had a live tree, so we keep both our traditions alive this way.  

Which food and drink combo says it’s the holiday season to you?  

Gingerbread, coffee, and a gigantic orange. That’s the ultimate breakfast on Christmas morning.

 What are the five tools you must have in the kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner?

Ladle, grips for lifting the turkey, meat thermometer, oven mitts, spoon for tasting

Please share a favorite Thanksgiving recipe.

I’ll get back to you on this. I don’t have access to my recipes at the moment (lent out). Remind me if I forget!

If you could have a dream Thanksgiving dinner party, who would you invite?

Everyone from our family from 1994.

What’s the one Thanksgiving dish your family can’t live without?

Stuffing. See above.

What do you do after the meal is finished? Play football? Watch football? Movies?

We sit around and talk. When we all get back here, home, we play family games like Rook, Clue, and CatchPhrase.

Pumpkin, Pecan or Apple?

Apple. The rest of my family would argue for pumpkin.

Are you up early the next morning to kick off your holiday shopping?

Nope. We spend a leisurely Thanksgiving weekend decorating our home for Christmas. We buy our tree, set it up, and haul out all the boxes of ornaments. It’s great.

Thank you so much for this warm Thanksgiving memory.

Thanks, Diane!!

 Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours! Warm Thanksgiving wishes from the gang at Blogcritics, too.

Click here to visit Julie’s website.

Psst: I didn’t forget Julie’s recipe, check back here soon. Thanks.

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About Diane Morasco