HOT DISH: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman Surprise a Hillbilly

More News About Jo Dee Messina, Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson and Others

(CMT Hot Dish is a weekly feature written by veteran columnist Hazel Smith. Author of the cookbook, Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ With Country Stars, she also hosts CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith and shares her recipes at

All you smart friends, family and (hopefully!) fans who watched CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks on Oct. 4 know what I’m about to say because you already saw it on television. I was watching myself and the recap of three wonderful years on CMT with video snippets of Brad Paisley and wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Little Jimmy Dickens, the great George Jones, Trisha Yearwood and hubby Garth Brooks, the ever-so-wonderful Dierks Bentley and, of course, my son, Billy (also known as French chef Billee), and my youngest son, Terry, of the Grascals.

The movie was Top Gun, starring a young Tom Cruise. My longtime friend Bill Badalato was executive producer of the movie that made Tom a superstar. All at once, on the TV screen I see Vince Vaughn and Jason Bateman! Trying to remove my swallowed tongue from my throat, I screamed. I mean, it doesn’t get any bigger or better than Vince and Jason — and Vince is talking.

“Congratulations to Hazel for three years of Southern Fried Flicks on CMT,” he says into the camera.

I have to say, I became sweaty all over. I could not believe those pretty Hollywood guys knew my name. So, even though I haven’t seen their new movie, I’m giving them an A-plus for Couples Retreat.

Thanks, Vince! Thanks, Jason! And thanks, CMT, for Southern Fried Flicks. As long as God smiles on me with this wonderful television opportunity, I will continue to give my best to you all. Life is good, but I’m the first to admit that I’m a freaking hillbilly. When some movie star speaks out to me on my TV show, I’m such a redneck, I keep writing “Vince” over and over. It’s OK, though. Vince is plumb perfect — but only if his last name is Gill.

Jo Dee Messina Balancing Motherhood and Career
Speaking of Southern Fried Flicks, I am so lucky to have country music stars visiting my kitchen. My latest was Jo Dee Messina, who dropped by for some Thanksgiving party food I’d put together — pork tenderloin, chicken wings, pumpkin bread, chips and dip and pumpkin pie. Jo Dee claimed she smelled the food before she got out of her car. It tasted mighty good, too.

Since baby Noah was born eight months ago, Jo Dee has been fighting extra child birth poundage, so she tries to eat healthy. It had been quite a while since I’d seen Jo Dee. We really had a good old down-home girlie time. She’s been busy recording. As a matter of fact, she has 20-plus songs recorded and ready to choose from for her upcoming album, Unmistakable. She took time to play me one of the songs ready for the airwaves that sounded like it had “hit” written all over it.

She’s worked up several of her newest songs and will offer some of those on her Music Room tour. Jo Dee only uses four musicians for the intimate series of shows, and she’s discovered the closer she gets to the fans, the closer they get to her. It’s like she’s seated on a sofa or chair in her living room.

“I wish I could talk with each and every fan,” she said.

And I understood exactly what she meant because she and I both know that country music fans are the greatest fans in the world.

Jo Dee, hubby Chris and their son will be joining her band and crew on the road for concerts scheduled into the Christmas holidays. Chris has baby-proofed Noah’s bunk on the bus. He’s crawling all over the place and, without a doubt, the little man gets plenty of attention.

Be on the lookout for Unmistakable in early 2010. Jo Dee sang me a verse or two of several songs, and I concluded that she still sings as good as anyone — and better than most.

Miranda Lambert Is No. 1
Congratulations to Miranda Lambert, whose third album, Revolution, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country chart.

Pure Country Rehearsals Pushed Back to January
Instead of the original plan for Joe Nichols and Lorrie Morgan to report to the bright lights on Broadway this month, I hear they’ll now be heading to New York City in January to begin work on Pure Country, the musical based on the popular film that starred George Strait.

Willie Nelson Pays Tribute to Bill Cosby
The wonderful Dandy and Andrea prepare Willie’s World, Willie Nelson’s fan club magazine, with lots of love and fun. I truly enjoy reading it. Keeping up with Willie keeps me out of trouble. I see in the fall issue that he’ll be traveling to Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26 when his friend, the inimitable Bill Cosby, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Besides Willie, the stellar cast paying tribute to Cosby includes Jerry Seinfeld, Wynton Marsalis, Danny Glover, Carl Reiner, Dick Gregory, Chris Rock, Sinbad, George Lopez, Rita Moreno and saxophonist Jimmy Heath, along with Phylicia Rashad and Malcolm-Jamal Warner of The Cosby Show. The program is being taped for a PBS special, Bill Cosby: The Mark Twain Prize, scheduled to air nationally in November.

Remembering Shelby Singleton
When Frank Mull called and said record producer and Sun Records owner Shelby Singleton died last week at age 77, I knew we had lost a great man. He was responsible for Jeannie C. Riley’s hit, “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” and was instrumental in the careers of Roger Miller, Ray Stevens and many others. I’d just like to say that Shelby Singleton did something that Diddy and Kanye West never did and I doubt ever will: He produced three No. 1 songs in one day!

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Almost Stroganoff.