HOT DISH: Leave Willie Nelson Alone

Law Officers Should Concentrate on Those Smuggling and Distributing Hard Drugs

(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

Law enforcement officers in every Texas border town know as well as I do that Willie Nelson’s tour bus is his home. He sleeps there. He eats there. He lives there.

Willie bothers nobody. He’s on the road entertaining fans who love good country music. It’s his life. U.S. Border Patrol officials were well aware of all this when Willie’s driver opened the door of his tour bus at a routine checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas, on Nov. 26.

If you open the back door of my kitchen, you’ll most likely smell food cooking. Everybody knows that. And everybody knows when you open the door to Willie’s bus, you’re going to smell marijuana.

Yes, all of you self-righteous critters, I know marijuana is illegal. However, I believe the officers would have helped the good ol’ U.S.A. a whole heap more had they arrested the criminals coming across the border from Mexico with hard drugs — the drugs that too many of our young people are shooting into their veins to get high. How many people have died from using drugs such as heroin and cocaine?

I don’t smoke anything, and I don’t recommend smoking or drinking or drugging. I hate bullies, gangs and cokeheads. It just makes good sense to me for the Border Patrol to focus on stopping the maxi-loads of poison crossing the Rio Grande into our hallowed soil to take our money and kill our youth.

Willie’s six ounces of weed bothered nobody on this earth, yet they arrested him for possession of marijuana. He’s 77 years old. He has devoted his entire life to singing and songwriting. His music has helped people enjoy life and forget about their troubles.

Can’t we let Willie be? Amen.

Taylor and Jake Order More Coffee
It was a cup of coffee with sandwiches for Taylor Swift and actor Jake Gyllenhaal at Fido’s coffeehouse and restaurant in Nashville on Nov. 27. Well, do tell, the couple had a second cup at another local coffeehouse, the Frothy Monkey, on Tuesday (Nov. 30). Jake is tall enough to be Taylor’s better half and cute enough, too.

And our girl Taylor is of age now. She’s almost 21, has her own condo and has been seen twice in public with Mr. Hollywood Hawt! That girl is on the cover of all the trendy magazines. Her latest album, Speak Now, is selling like Hershey’s kisses on Halloween or Valentine’s Day. She’s got concerts booked all over Asia beginning in February before heading to Europe for additional shows. She’ll make stops in the U.S. before heading down under to visit fans in Australia and New Zealand.

It was 26-plus years ago when I went to Japan. The Japanese men went gaga over my friend, a fair-skinned blond lady, long before there was a Lady Gaga. My guess is the Osaka/Tokyo cool and trendy dudes will see Taylor as a world renowned beauty.

I saw Taylor on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Chelsea Lately, and I must say she handled herself wonderfully. She’s never at a loss for words and is always looking cool and cute.

Congratulations to the CMT Artists of the Year
Congratulations to those honored during the CMT Artists of the Year special — Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and the Zac Brown Band. With superstar presenters like Kid Rock, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Luke Bryan, Randy Travis and Motown legend Smokey Robinson there to sing their praises, it was a time the honorees will always treasure. Actor Kevin Costner hosted the special that premiered Friday (Dec. 3) on CMT.

Radio Broadcasters Honor Joe Galante and the Judds
During the first four days of this coming March, Music Town will be crawling with radio disc jockeys and executives attending the annual Country Radio Seminar. Thank God, I see where one of my friends, the great Joe Galante, who retired from Sony Music Nashville earlier this year, will be honored with Country Radio Broadcasters’ President’s Award for his contributions to the development of the seminar. The Judds will pick up the CRB Achievement Award on that same night.

Someone should write a book about Galante, who has played a key role in the careers of a huge stable of artists, including Waylon Jennings, Brad Paisley, Clint Black, Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Keith Whitley, Alabama, Sara Evans, Martina McBride and the Judds.

More News
When Brad Paisley was in Tulsa, Okla., for the final night of his H2O World Tour, Country Music Hall of Fame member Roy Clark brought along his guitar and joined him onstage to perform “Ghost Riders in the Sky” together. Brad explained how he’d learned to play guitar from an instruction book Roy wrote.

Keyboardist Paul Shaffer, David Letterman’s bandleader, stopped by Vibe 56 Recording Studio in Nashville to add overdubs to a new Willie Nelson project being produced by Buddy Cannon. Shaffer also made an appearance with Marty Stuart on the Grand Ole Opry.

Bluegrass great Bobby Osborne is releasing a new album titled Memories — Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Professional Entertaining.

Thanksgiving Surprise
It was Thanksgiving dinner. Adults were seated around the table. I sat across from the Grascals, Terry Eldredge and his lady, Catherine Lund. All at once, something bright and shiny almost blinded me.

“What is that on your finger, Catherine,” I asked. Well, you’ve never seen such squirming and eyeballing.

“We were going to wait until after we eat and tell you all,” Terry allowed.

I got the first look of the beautiful engagement ring. Lady Kate may make a man out of Prince William, but Lady Catherine aims to make the “Elrod” one happy man. The last of the token bachelors is taken. Praise the Lord!

The turkey I cooked was Trisha Yearwood’s recipe, and it turned out delicious. I saw the recipe in Guideposts magazine when Trisha was on the cover, and I could not believe the procedure. You clean the turkey, place onions, celery and carrots in the cavity after salting inside and out. Butter the outside of the turkey and cover — my grandsons used foil — and place in a preheated 500-degree oven. Cook one hour, turn off the oven and allow the turkey to cool six hours in the oven. Remove from the oven and serve or refrigerate until serving time.

Unless you are kooky as I am, you must know this method of cooking turkey is in Trisha’s first cookbook, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, which I read real often. But I never paid attention to the unbelievable turkey recipe. Duh!

I later enjoyed talking with the wonderful Gwen Yearwood about this magic turkey. I am so blessed to have a friend like Trisha, who has a mama like the wonderful Gwen.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: [news id=”1653548″]Apple Crunch.[/news]