(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 CMT.com.)
Have you checked out Trisha Yearwood's cooking series on the Food Network? On a recent episode I watched, Trisha was joined by several people, including her sister Beth, who still resides in Monticello, Ga., to prepare "Gwen rations."
Gwen Yearwood, mother of Trisha and Beth, passed away in 2011 following a battle with breast cancer. A former teacher, Gwen was a special lady. She baked and sold unbelievable cakes. As a matter of fact, Gwen made the several-tiered wedding cake when Trisha married Garth Brooks.
Smiling and laughing was one of Gwen's special traits. My son Billy was so impressed when Gwen came to my kitchen with Trisha.
"She actually brought the dirtied dishes to the sink," Billy said when we talked about the wonders of Gwen. Billy serves as my assistant in all kitchen capacities as well as chopping and shopping for food when we tape CMT's Southern Fried Flicks. I could not do the job without Billy.
Gwen and Trisha authored their first cookbook, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, followed by Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood. It was obvious to Billy and me that Gwen was a natural cook who enjoyed her work. I've read their first book through a dozen times or more. Seeing photos of Gwen with her daughters on television, all smiles and happy, was a top-notch good feeling.
Watching Trisha chopping and slicing and mixing and smiling brought back memories of the day she and her sweet mother came to my kitchen.
Kelly Clarkson Had Lots to Celebrate
Kelly Clarkson stopped by Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville recently to sing and visit with the patients, staff and families. She performed an acoustic set in the children's theater and led the packed room in a singalong of holiday favorites. She also visited with those who were unable to attend. Clarkson allowed she was having more fun than the kiddos.
By the way, Kelly got herself engaged to her beau, Brandon Blackstock, on Christmas Day. In case you've been under a rock, Brandon is the son of her manager, Narvel Blackstock. Narvel is also Reba McEntire's husband and manager.
Jason Aldean Will Make Film Debut
Jason Aldean will have a role in a new movie, Sweetwater. Don't know his role -- just that he's in it.
The film, a Western set in the New Mexico territory in the late 1800s, stars Ed Harris and January Jones.
I read in The Tennessean newspaper where singer, songwriter and record producer Brett James has paid $2.6 million for a building in downtown Nashville with plans for a restaurant and entertainment venue. The building, located at the corner of Fourth Avenue South and Korean Veterans Boulevard, is near the 800-room Omni Nashville hotel and next door to the 255-room Hyatt Place hotel, both currently under construction.
A chart-topping songwriter, James' credits include a couple of Carrie Underwood hits you may recognize -- "Jesus, Take the Wheel" and "Cowboy Casanova." When a body pens songs with as much gusto as those two titles, they gotta invest that hillbilly money.
Oak Ridge Boys Sing for Former President
When Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys called the hospital in Houston to check up on former President George H.W. Bush , he got a return call from former first lady Barbara Bush, who requested the foursome sing for her husband.
They were on vacation, but the Oak Ridge Boys immediately bolted to their office in Hendersonville, Tenn.
Did the prez have a request? Of course! "Elvira"! So the quartet sang it for the man who has been hospitalized for a month. Then they sang a verse of "Amazing Grace" and told the former president how much they loved him and wished him well.
The docs had the prez on liquids, but my guess is he'll be requesting country ham, red eye gravy and biscuits soon. He's in a private room. No longer in ICU. Barbara should've called Duane two weeks ago!
Dobro Legend Mike Auldridge Passes
Mike Auldridge never moved to Tennessee. He stayed in Maryland with his wife. He was the neat one who played Dobro so tastefully in the Seldom Scene. They played bluegrass festivals, and that's where I'd see them many banjo tunings ago -- back when award-winning banjo player Kristen Scott Benson was just a tot from South Carolina standing in the shade watching her mentor, Sonny Osborne, play the fire out of his five-string. My son, Billy, would be eye-balling Tony Rice on his Martin guitar. My son, Terry, would be digging Tom Gray, the upright bass man with the Seldom Scene, and Jerry Douglas would be standing by the side of the stage watching Auldridge.
All the above musicians are great. All of them learned from watching someone else. As great as Jerry Douglas plays the Dobro, he'll be the first to tell you, "I learned from Mike Auldridge." Other great entertainers such as Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton used Mike Auldridge on their recordings.
Auldridge died Dec. 29 at age 73 following a lengthy illness. Shortly before his death, he completed an album with Douglas and Rob Ickes that will be released this year.
Remembering Patti Page
My senior high school graduation class traveled to Washington, D.C., by bus. We really thought we were in high cotton when we saw Patti Page and Vic Damone perform at the Capitol Theater.
A few years back, I knew I was in high cotton when Patti and her husband invited me to supper. She was as young and as beautiful then as during my high school days. I was saddened to learn Patti passed away Tuesday (Jan. 1).
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Spaghetti Pie.