Marley’s Ghost and the Case of Mistaken Identity

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I had the weirdest dream – EVER! So I’m sitting at home one night last week flipping through the channels, hoping against hope that I could find some program that wasn’t reality TV or the umpteenth rerun of a “Law and Order” episode. Having failed miserably at that enterprise, I reluctantly settled in to watch the rerun series “Dancing with the Levittown Stars.” All of a sudden I hear this rattling noise. It sounds like it’s coming down the stairs. My first thought was that my dog, Penny, had gotten into my jewelry box and decided to wear my charm bracelet as a hat. No, it can’t be Penny. She’s asleep in the luge position on the couch. I soon see the reason for all this clatter. It’s this rather gray-looking guy in a frock coat dragging a bunch of chains behind him. Great. Just what I needed. A visit from the ghost of Jacob Marley.

Just as I am poised to dial 666 (well, who do you call when you’ve got a ghost problem? 911?), the spectral figure unties the cloth wrapped around his head that’s holding his jaw shut. Just when his jaw flops open, I notice that his hair had also been caught up in the cloth. Oh, good grief. Jacob Marley didn’t wear dreadlocks. Crap, I’m being visited by the ghost of BobMarley.

Bob’s accent was a little thick, but apparently, it’s his job to go badger the second-tier citizens into mending their ways. Jacob Marley (near to retirement I’m told) has cut back on his visitations and only does the first-rate celebrities in need of repentance. Frankly, I can’t see how that will lighten his workload, but whatever. So, the rest of us sinners get Bob Marley.

As he rattled off my list of sins (which are legion), I began to be a little puzzled. Delivering verbal smack-downs to Rachael Ray? Killing the ratings of a whole new network? Doing jail time for stock scams? Huh?

Having hissy fits at my staff (i.e., my husband), yes; wearing fur in the daytime, yes; carrying a hideously expensive handbag to intimidate my subordinates, yes. Those I can understand. But that other stuff is way out of my league and I’d never do jail time for stock scams—excessive use of a TASER, maybe. Then the light dawns. He’s got the wrong domestic diva. It’s Martha Stewart he wants, not me.

After some laughs, a couple of choruses of “Buffalo Soldiers,” and some of those special ingredient brownies Bob brought, I sent him on his way with Google Map directions for Martha’s house up in Maine. I’m sure his visit will make her feel irie.

In spite of the fact that I haven’t yet reached Martha’s level of domestic terrorism, I’m sure I could think of a couple of things from this past year that I’d do differently. There’s…well, there’s…no…and then….No, frankly, I can’t think of a thing. That’s why we’re called “divas,” people.

Since you’ll probably be invited to attend some kind of function this holiday season, you’ll need to bring something. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll just be asked to bring food and leave by the servants’ entrance. Whatever the case, here’s a couple of recipes from both the savory and the sweet categories.

Creamy Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup hot pepper sauce
1 cup ranch salad dressing
3 cans (4 ½ oz. each) chunk white chicken, drained and shredded
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
Corn or tortilla chips

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, hot pepper sauce, and salad dressing. Stir in chicken. Spread into an ungreased 11” x 7” x 2” baking dish. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered at 350º for 20 to 22 minutes or until heated through. Serve with chips. Yields: 5 cups.

Note: This can be prepared, and then heated in a slow cooker instead of being baked in the oven. This will also keep the dip warm during a party.

Sugar and Spice Pecans

1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 egg whites
2 pounds pecan or walnut halves

In a large resealable bag, combine the sugar and seasonings; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy; fold in the nuts. Transfer to the bag; seal and shake to coat evenly.

Place nuts in a single layer in two greased 15-inch x 10-inch x 1-inch baking pans. Bake at 250° for 1 ½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks. Store in airtight containers. Yield: 2 ¾ quarts.



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