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The Stories Behind Unforgettable Family Recipes

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The holiday season is upon us, many of us have prepared our menus for the holiday dinners and parties. Some of you may be pulling grandma’s braciole recipe steeped in tomato sauce or that creamy garlic mash your mom made every Thanksgiving. Or you may be undecided about using a tried and true roast turkey recipe your family has passed down for decades or frying something new.Whatever it is you are cooking, we all have memorable stories about the food that has been prepared and the recipes that have been passed on from generation to generation.These are those stories. The ones about a certain dessert that is now being made by their grandson or the ones about treasured recipes that were forged through war or hardship.It’s not the dishes themselves that have any magical powers, but the memories that come flooding back every time we take a bite.Related video above: Organize your kitchen so prepping and cooking for the holidays is easy and simpleIf you aren’t a fan of dates you still may want to take a biteBarbara Rhea, 78 | Beavercreek, OHBarbara Rhea has been cooking date nut pinwheel cookies since she was eight when she and her four siblings went to live with her grandmother.Rhea said her grandmother baked the cookies all the time and she would sit in the kitchen and watch her make the sweet creations, which had been written on a piece of paper around the time she married in the early 1900s. Her family has been using the original recipe to make her cookies ever since.When her grandmother died in 1957, the responsibility to make the cookies full of dates and walnuts fell to her aunt.”She made them every Christmas and then my aunt took over… and then somehow I got interested in doing it,” Rhea said. “My aunt passed away in 1991 so since then, I’m the only one who has been doing it.”She said she’s already looking to pass the recipe to the next generation, with her daughter and two of her grandsons interested in continuing the tradition.”People will say I don’t like dates, but when they eat these, they like these,” she said.And her proof is when she replaced the dough with crescent rolls and finished as a top-five dessert at the 1988 Pillsbury Bake-off.A sweet potato pie tradition that almost wasn’tSheila Connors, 69 & Jasmine Myers, 66 | Maple Shade, NJSheila Connors’ mom was a cook and a baker all of her life and her famous Thanksgiving dessert was her sweet potato pie.Connors and her niece Jasmine Myers said no one was allowed in the kitchen while she was cooking, and she would make 10 pies every year for the guests to take home.”It wasn’t just sweet potato pies, but it was the feature if you will,” Myers said. “That was the highlight and everyone went home with their own.”For years, no one knew how to make the pie except for Connors’ mom, until one day when Connors was 31, her mom called her into the kitchen.”I thought there was going to be a recipe or something to follow, but no, she dictated off all the measurements,” Connors said. “Taste testing as she went along, she knew when she needed to add more of any particular spice or sugar.”Connors did her best to write everything down, so there would at least be instructions to follow.Little did Connors know her mom would pass away the next year.It isn’t lost on the women the tradition could have stopped if Connors had not been called into the kitchen.Connors plans to share the recipe with one of her nieces, so the recipe can continue on.The cheesecake recipe to appease even non-cheesecake loversGary Brown, 65 | Hollywood, FLIn 1981, Gary Brown worked at a summer camp as he waited to take his board exams to become a registered nurse. He swapped recipes with another counselor at the camp. The cheesecake recipe he received would go on to become his signature dish, even 40 years later he is still making it every year for the holidays.”It was my signature contribution to the holiday parties and meals,” he said. “All of a sudden, all these years later, I generated my own tradition and didn’t even realize it.”He said he still has the original piece of paper with the recipe written on it, although it is now well-worn with some vanilla stains on it. While he has made some tweaks to the pie’s crust over the years, he hasn’t changed anything else.”It’s my shtick,” he said. “It’s what I do at the holidays to give back.”The recipe has also been a favorite among non-cheesecake lovers, his wife included.Her mother passed away in 1987. The year before, she made her a cookbook with favorite family recipesVicky Dorsey Ott, 59 | Cincinnati, OHFor Christmas 1986, Vicky Dorsey Ott received a gift she would cherish forever — a handmade cookbook from her mother titled “…and stir in a little love.” Her mother, June Hairston Dorsey, died in February 1987 after battling cancer. She was 50 years old.”This was one of the things she did before she died,” said Dorsey Ott, who added her four siblings also received the cookbook. “She passed down these recipes.”The book is filled with a variety of family favorite recipes with commentary on the entries where her mom added notes like “Vicky made this for class.” Each note is associated with a memory from childhood.”It’s such a lovely connection to have with someone,” she said. “Each time we make a recipe we think of her. I can share a piece of her with them.”Now, nearly 35 years later, she has passed along the recipes to her own daughters. While she said it’s near impossible to choose a single favorite, she said she would probably have to pick the “Sour Cream Cinnamon Coffee Cake.” The recipe was given to her mom by neighbors. It is a crowd-pleaser and best enjoyed warm.The most unusual Thanksgiving dish of them all — a carrot moldSue Trock, 66 | Las Vegas, NVSo, what is a carrot mold?”It’s not a vegetable, it’s not a cake and not a bread,” said Trock. “It’s served next to the mashed potatoes and stuffing. It’s really good. Just try it.”The dish was made by her mom, Clara Berkowitz, who brought it to every Thanksgiving, no matter who hosted. It was a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition Trock has now taken over since her mother passed away in 2007. She even has a 50-year-old handwritten recipe card her mom gave her with all the ingredients.”My mother had beautiful handwriting,” said Trock. “Seeing her handwriting and all the times it was used is a nice feeling.”She said her cousins have also carried on the tradition of the carrot mold and often call her for the unique recipe. While discussing the recipe, Trock began to cry as she remembered her mom and all the memories they made around the holiday table.Over 100 years later, this potato stuffing recipe has been served to six generationsMaureen Morales, 73 | Kingwood, TXFor Maureen Morales one holiday dish that stands out to her is her great grandmother’s potato dressing. The day before Thanksgiving, she would watch as her great grandmother Mary Hughes prepared for the holiday feast.”I can remember being at the kitchen table with grandma cutting potatoes and peeling them,” she told CNN. “I think my love for cooking came from her. “The recipe was believed to be an old Irish recipe since Hughes emigrated to America in the early 1900s. But the family learned it was actually a recipe given to her by their neighbors who emigrated from Germany. More than 100 years later, potato stuffing has become a staple dish at family holiday dinners and has been served to six generations.”It’s our own Thanksgiving story,” she said.Snowball cake and cheese straws: these are a few of their favorite thingsToni Robinson, 59 | Clarkston, MIToni Robinson said she can still remember her grandmother making her famous cheese straws and eating her mom’s snowball cake for the holidays.Her grandmother would always come over for thanksgiving with a big bag of cheese straws and it was always something she and her sisters looked forward to, she said.Since her grandmother’s death, one of her sisters makes the straws for each of the family’s during the holidays using a cookie press. It’s a staple in the house this time of year.”Now our kids know about these cheese straws even more so than we did,” Robinson said.When it comes to the snowball cake, Robinson admits it’s been less of a tradition since no one could make it like her mom.”Everything was always so beautiful,” Robinson said. “She frosted it with whipped cream and covered it with tons of white coconut flakes.”In a perfect dome, Robinson said it genuinely looked like half a snowball sitting on the table, and she looks forward to attempting to make it like her mom this year.Grandmother’s dressing had so much sage the bread turned greenAmy Rafferty, 52 | Chicago, IllinoisA vivid memory from childhood Amy Rafferty remembers is how green the bread in her grandmother’s dressing was at Thanksgiving because she used so much sage to cook with. But she says every year, without fail, the sage-centric dressing sat on the holiday table waiting to be devoured alongside the turkey.”That was one food item that I remember for her because it did stand out and it overwhelmed the plate,” she said. “We ate it though.”Even now when Rafferty smells sage she is taken back to the memories of her grandmother, Mary Ann Smith.”So now when I cook with sage and smell it wafting through the house I remember my grandma so young, and those days with family (most are gone now) all through such childish and innocent eyes,” she said. “So, is the sage dressing a good recipe? Meh. Is it treasured? Absolutely.”A Great Depression moneymaker still brings joy to the tableJody S. Woods, 64 | Grand Prairie, TXJody S. Woods says his great-grandmother sold her famous pound cakes to eke out extra money during the Great Depression. The recipe helped put food on their table and has been passed down to the women of his family for generations.”It was awesome. It was like eating a heart attack,” he said of the rich dessert.Woods said his great-grandmother made the cakes with things she had on hand at her home near Arkansas.”They grew their own wheat and they had their own chickens, so a lot of this stuff was free — a lot of the ingredients were free,” Woods said. “So they used the income from that as part of the way to feed the family.”Woods, an auditor in the Fort Worth area, says his mom taught the recipe to his older sisters when they were old enough.Women who married into the family — like his wife — don’t traditionally get the recipe right away.”They had to earn their way into the trust,” he said.He’d only been married for about two years when his mom died, so she never passed on the recipe.”I think it was just more of an oversight because we dated for nine years,” he said.Woods said he gives his sisters a hard time because they haven’t given it to his wife over their 36-year marriage.In fairness, he admits they have offered it to her.”I keep saying ‘No, I won’t have a story then,’” he said.Wood said his sisters plan to share the recipe with his daughter to keep the tradition going.The not-so-secret Mom’s pumpkin pie recipeJessica Dilsaver-Sandusky, 35 | Bowling Green, KYFor as long as Jessica Dilsaver-Sandusky can remember, her mother, Deb Scott, made a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving that become famous within the family.”It was the perfect blend of spices, subtle sweetness, and rich flavor no store-bought pie could match,” she said.After her mother passed away suddenly in 2018, Dilsaver-Sandusky said Thanksgiving wasn’t the same without the secret pumpkin pie her mom made. Her mom never shared the recipe and said it was only in her heart and mind. But it all changed when Dilsaver-Sandusky and her sister were going through her mom’s belongings.They came across a recipe book, but the “secret” pie recipe turned out not to be so secret after all.”Taped to a page in her handwritten cookbook was a recipe titled ‘Deb’s Pumpkin Pie’, with a Libby’s canned pumpkin label and their company recipe for pumpkin pie underneath,” she said. “All along mom’s famous pumpkin pie was on the back of my can of pumpkin! Thank you, Libby’s, for the pie; thank you mom, for the best memory of Thanksgiving.”A turkey pan that lasts for generationsLorrie Jones, 65 | Sandy Hook, CTFor Lorrie Jones and her family, when it comes to Thanksgiving the proof is in the pan.The turkey pan has been passed down since her mom, a World War II vet, bought it in the 1950s. Made of heavy-gauge aluminum it’s a baking staple for the holiday.”The main dish is turkey, right?” Jones said. “Her pan just made a really good bird.”About thirty years ago, Jones started having the big thanksgiving dinner at her home, and her mom asked if she wanted to use the pan, and it’s been hers ever since.”I remember her prepping everything and getting it ready,” Jones said. “After all the company left (my dad) would take it to the sink and make it perfect again, and it would go back downstairs to be stored for the next year.”The pan has not missed a holiday. Even when the family missed having a big family Thanksgiving last year due to the pandemic, the pan was still used at her son’s family celebration. He will be the one to continue the turkey pan tradition.”It’s not so much about what you make, it’s about the memories that you make and the memory of what your mom does and the tastes and smells,” she said.Jones lost her mom to COVID-19 last year, but her legacy continues with her baking and with new granddaughter and namesake, Julia, who will experience her first Thanksgiving with a turkey made in her great-grandmother’s pan.The legendary sweet potato pie being taught to the next generationLinda Fantroy, 64 | Mobile, ALLinda Fantroy’s most treasured recipe is her mom’s sweet potato pie, said to be legendary. The pie is such a hit at holiday gatherings someone took one of the pies and hid it in their car, she said. The recipe was developed by Fantroy’s mom and dad who owned a BBQ restaurant in Prichard, Alabama.”For a long time, we would not share the recipe, so it was really a covenant,” she said. “When the pies were gone no one had access to it ’til the next holiday. It became a legend on its own.”She said she remembers learning the recipe while watching her parents cook at their restaurant when she was little. She added the recipe was taught orally and not written down. Over the past few years, she has continued the tradition and is teaching her nieces and nephews the famous pie recipe.The family held a pie making contest one holiday with the younger generation to see who, if anyone, could perfect the taste and texture of Mrs. Catherine’s Sweet Potato Pie.Her most prized possession — a handmade cookbook her mother made using a typewriter Michelle Watts, 58 | Denver, COA blue three-ring binder filled with over 70 recipes typed with a typewriter is one of Michelle Watts’ most prized possession. The cookbook was a love token her mom, Jessie Monis, made for her four children. She filled the book with Syrian recipes, such as stuffed grape leaves from her native country, along with recipes she acquired from friends and family over the years.”Each time I use the cookbook, I feel my mom with me,” said Watts, her mom passed away in 2018. “I hear her voice as I read the special notes she added to each recipe. And every single time my heart is filled with the love that she put into my precious cookbook.”Her mom put each page in a plastic page protector, to guard against those inevitable cooking messes, said Watts, who received the book as a Christmas present in 1987. Along with Thanksgiving staples like stuffing and gravy the book also contains a turkey pot pie recipe, perfect for holiday leftovers.A tradition that has been a ‘Dream’ for over 40 yearsLisa Baldacci, 63 | Woodbury, MNMore than 40 years ago Lisa Baldacci got a recipe for Dream Salad when her former mother-in-law made it for Thanksgiving, and it’s been on her table ever since.The Jell-O salad variation contains pineapple, cream cheese, tiny marshmallows, lime Jell-O and is topped with Cool Whip. However, she is really the only one in her family who eats it.”It’s kind of a joke,” Baldacci said. “The little ones will eat it, but everyone else just takes a spoonful to be polite.”Then last year, Baldacci found out just how deep the Dream Salad tradition runs in her family when her daughter moved 1,500 miles away and called asking for the recipe for Thanksgiving because she was homesick.”I get teased about it every year, but it’s part of my tradition,” Baldacci said.

The holiday season is upon us, many of us have prepared our menus for the holiday dinners and parties. Some of you may be pulling grandma’s braciole recipe steeped in tomato sauce or that creamy garlic mash your mom made every Thanksgiving. Or you may be undecided about using a tried and true roast turkey recipe your family has passed down for decades or frying something new.

Whatever it is you are cooking, we all have memorable stories about the food that has been prepared and the recipes that have been passed on from generation to generation.

These are those stories. The ones about a certain dessert that is now being made by their grandson or the ones about treasured recipes that were forged through war or hardship.

It’s not the dishes themselves that have any magical powers, but the memories that come flooding back every time we take a bite.

Related video above: Organize your kitchen so prepping and cooking for the holidays is easy and simple

If you aren’t a fan of dates you still may want to take a bite

Barbara Rhea, 78 | Beavercreek, OH

Barbara Rhea has been cooking date nut pinwheel cookies since she was eight when she and her four siblings went to live with her grandmother.

Rhea said her grandmother baked the cookies all the time and she would sit in the kitchen and watch her make the sweet creations, which had been written on a piece of paper around the time she married in the early 1900s. Her family has been using the original recipe to make her cookies ever since.

When her grandmother died in 1957, the responsibility to make the cookies full of dates and walnuts fell to her aunt.

“She made them every Christmas and then my aunt took over… and then somehow I got interested in doing it,” Rhea said. “My aunt passed away in 1991 so since then, I’m the only one who has been doing it.”

She said she’s already looking to pass the recipe to the next generation, with her daughter and two of her grandsons interested in continuing the tradition.

“People will say I don’t like dates, but when they eat these, they like these,” she said.

And her proof is when she replaced the dough with crescent rolls and finished as a top-five dessert at the 1988 Pillsbury Bake-off.

A sweet potato pie tradition that almost wasn’t

Sheila Connors, 69 & Jasmine Myers, 66 | Maple Shade, NJ

Sheila Connors’ mom was a cook and a baker all of her life and her famous Thanksgiving dessert was her sweet potato pie.

Connors and her niece Jasmine Myers said no one was allowed in the kitchen while she was cooking, and she would make 10 pies every year for the guests to take home.

“It wasn’t just sweet potato pies, but it was the feature if you will,” Myers said. “That was the highlight and everyone went home with their own.”

For years, no one knew how to make the pie except for Connors’ mom, until one day when Connors was 31, her mom called her into the kitchen.

“I thought there was going to be a recipe or something to follow, but no, she dictated off all the measurements,” Connors said. “Taste testing as she went along, she knew when she needed to add more of any particular spice or sugar.”

Connors did her best to write everything down, so there would at least be instructions to follow.

Little did Connors know her mom would pass away the next year.

It isn’t lost on the women the tradition could have stopped if Connors had not been called into the kitchen.

Connors plans to share the recipe with one of her nieces, so the recipe can continue on.

The cheesecake recipe to appease even non-cheesecake lovers

Gary Brown, 65 | Hollywood, FL

In 1981, Gary Brown worked at a summer camp as he waited to take his board exams to become a registered nurse. He swapped recipes with another counselor at the camp. The cheesecake recipe he received would go on to become his signature dish, even 40 years later he is still making it every year for the holidays.

“It was my signature contribution to the holiday parties and meals,” he said. “All of a sudden, all these years later, I generated my own tradition and didn’t even realize it.”

He said he still has the original piece of paper with the recipe written on it, although it is now well-worn with some vanilla stains on it. While he has made some tweaks to the pie’s crust over the years, he hasn’t changed anything else.

“It’s my shtick,” he said. “It’s what I do at the holidays to give back.”

The recipe has also been a favorite among non-cheesecake lovers, his wife included.

Her mother passed away in 1987. The year before, she made her a cookbook with favorite family recipes

Vicky Dorsey Ott, 59 | Cincinnati, OH

For Christmas 1986, Vicky Dorsey Ott received a gift she would cherish forever — a handmade cookbook from her mother titled “…and stir in a little love.” Her mother, June Hairston Dorsey, died in February 1987 after battling cancer. She was 50 years old.

“This was one of the things she did before she died,” said Dorsey Ott, who added her four siblings also received the cookbook. “She passed down these recipes.”

The book is filled with a variety of family favorite recipes with commentary on the entries where her mom added notes like “Vicky made this for class.” Each note is associated with a memory from childhood.

“It’s such a lovely connection to have with someone,” she said. “Each time we make a recipe we think of her. I can share a piece of her with them.”

Now, nearly 35 years later, she has passed along the recipes to her own daughters. While she said it’s near impossible to choose a single favorite, she said she would probably have to pick the “Sour Cream Cinnamon Coffee Cake.” The recipe was given to her mom by neighbors. It is a crowd-pleaser and best enjoyed warm.

The most unusual Thanksgiving dish of them all — a carrot mold

Sue Trock, 66 | Las Vegas, NV

So, what is a carrot mold?

“It’s not a vegetable, it’s not a cake and not a bread,” said Trock. “It’s served next to the mashed potatoes and stuffing. It’s really good. Just try it.”

The dish was made by her mom, Clara Berkowitz, who brought it to every Thanksgiving, no matter who hosted. It was a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition Trock has now taken over since her mother passed away in 2007. She even has a 50-year-old handwritten recipe card her mom gave her with all the ingredients.

“My mother had beautiful handwriting,” said Trock. “Seeing her handwriting and all the times it was used is a nice feeling.”

She said her cousins have also carried on the tradition of the carrot mold and often call her for the unique recipe. While discussing the recipe, Trock began to cry as she remembered her mom and all the memories they made around the holiday table.

Over 100 years later, this potato stuffing recipe has been served to six generations

Maureen Morales, 73 | Kingwood, TX

For Maureen Morales one holiday dish that stands out to her is her great grandmother’s potato dressing. The day before Thanksgiving, she would watch as her great grandmother Mary Hughes prepared for the holiday feast.

“I can remember being at the kitchen table with grandma cutting potatoes and peeling them,” she told CNN. “I think my love for cooking came from her. “

The recipe was believed to be an old Irish recipe since Hughes emigrated to America in the early 1900s. But the family learned it was actually a recipe given to her by their neighbors who emigrated from Germany. More than 100 years later, potato stuffing has become a staple dish at family holiday dinners and has been served to six generations.

“It’s our own Thanksgiving story,” she said.

Snowball cake and cheese straws: these are a few of their favorite things

Toni Robinson, 59 | Clarkston, MI

Toni Robinson said she can still remember her grandmother making her famous cheese straws and eating her mom’s snowball cake for the holidays.

Her grandmother would always come over for thanksgiving with a big bag of cheese straws and it was always something she and her sisters looked forward to, she said.

Since her grandmother’s death, one of her sisters makes the straws for each of the family’s during the holidays using a cookie press. It’s a staple in the house this time of year.

“Now our kids know about these cheese straws even more so than we did,” Robinson said.

When it comes to the snowball cake, Robinson admits it’s been less of a tradition since no one could make it like her mom.

“Everything was always so beautiful,” Robinson said. “She frosted it with whipped cream and covered it with tons of white coconut flakes.”

In a perfect dome, Robinson said it genuinely looked like half a snowball sitting on the table, and she looks forward to attempting to make it like her mom this year.

Grandmother’s dressing had so much sage the bread turned green

Amy Rafferty, 52 | Chicago, Illinois

A vivid memory from childhood Amy Rafferty remembers is how green the bread in her grandmother’s dressing was at Thanksgiving because she used so much sage to cook with. But she says every year, without fail, the sage-centric dressing sat on the holiday table waiting to be devoured alongside the turkey.

“That was one food item that I remember for her because it did stand out and it overwhelmed the plate,” she said. “We ate it though.”

Even now when Rafferty smells sage she is taken back to the memories of her grandmother, Mary Ann Smith.

“So now when I cook with sage and smell it wafting through the house I remember my grandma so young, and those days with family (most are gone now) all through such childish and innocent eyes,” she said. “So, is the sage dressing a good recipe? Meh. Is it treasured? Absolutely.”

A Great Depression moneymaker still brings joy to the table

Jody S. Woods, 64 | Grand Prairie, TX

Jody S. Woods says his great-grandmother sold her famous pound cakes to eke out extra money during the Great Depression. The recipe helped put food on their table and has been passed down to the women of his family for generations.

“It was awesome. It was like eating a heart attack,” he said of the rich dessert.

Woods said his great-grandmother made the cakes with things she had on hand at her home near Arkansas.

“They grew their own wheat and they had their own chickens, so a lot of this stuff was free — a lot of the ingredients were free,” Woods said. “So they used the income from that as part of the way to feed the family.”

Woods, an auditor in the Fort Worth area, says his mom taught the recipe to his older sisters when they were old enough.

Women who married into the family — like his wife — don’t traditionally get the recipe right away.

“They had to earn their way into the trust,” he said.

He’d only been married for about two years when his mom died, so she never passed on the recipe.

“I think it was just more of an oversight because we dated for nine years,” he said.

Woods said he gives his sisters a hard time because they haven’t given it to his wife over their 36-year marriage.

In fairness, he admits they have offered it to her.

“I keep saying ‘No, I won’t have a story then,’” he said.

Wood said his sisters plan to share the recipe with his daughter to keep the tradition going.

The not-so-secret Mom’s pumpkin pie recipe

Jessica Dilsaver-Sandusky, 35 | Bowling Green, KY

For as long as Jessica Dilsaver-Sandusky can remember, her mother, Deb Scott, made a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving that become famous within the family.

“It was the perfect blend of spices, subtle sweetness, and rich flavor no store-bought pie could match,” she said.

After her mother passed away suddenly in 2018, Dilsaver-Sandusky said Thanksgiving wasn’t the same without the secret pumpkin pie her mom made. Her mom never shared the recipe and said it was only in her heart and mind. But it all changed when Dilsaver-Sandusky and her sister were going through her mom’s belongings.

They came across a recipe book, but the “secret” pie recipe turned out not to be so secret after all.

“Taped to a page in her handwritten cookbook was a recipe titled ‘Deb’s Pumpkin Pie’, with a Libby’s canned pumpkin label and their company recipe for pumpkin pie underneath,” she said. “All along mom’s famous pumpkin pie was on the back of my can of pumpkin! Thank you, Libby’s, for the pie; thank you mom, for the best memory of Thanksgiving.”

A turkey pan that lasts for generations

Lorrie Jones, 65 | Sandy Hook, CT

For Lorrie Jones and her family, when it comes to Thanksgiving the proof is in the pan.

The turkey pan has been passed down since her mom, a World War II vet, bought it in the 1950s. Made of heavy-gauge aluminum it’s a baking staple for the holiday.

“The main dish is turkey, right?” Jones said. “Her pan just made a really good bird.”

About thirty years ago, Jones started having the big thanksgiving dinner at her home, and her mom asked if she wanted to use the pan, and it’s been hers ever since.

“I remember her prepping everything and getting it ready,” Jones said. “After all the company left (my dad) would take it to the sink and make it perfect again, and it would go back downstairs to be stored for the next year.”

The pan has not missed a holiday. Even when the family missed having a big family Thanksgiving last year due to the pandemic, the pan was still used at her son’s family celebration. He will be the one to continue the turkey pan tradition.

“It’s not so much about what you make, it’s about the memories that you make and the memory of what your mom does and the tastes and smells,” she said.

Jones lost her mom to COVID-19 last year, but her legacy continues with her baking and with new granddaughter and namesake, Julia, who will experience her first Thanksgiving with a turkey made in her great-grandmother’s pan.

The legendary sweet potato pie being taught to the next generation

Linda Fantroy, 64 | Mobile, AL

Linda Fantroy’s most treasured recipe is her mom’s sweet potato pie, said to be legendary. The pie is such a hit at holiday gatherings someone took one of the pies and hid it in their car, she said. The recipe was developed by Fantroy’s mom and dad who owned a BBQ restaurant in Prichard, Alabama.

“For a long time, we would not share the recipe, so it was really a covenant,” she said. “When the pies were gone no one had access to it ’til the next holiday. It became a legend on its own.”

She said she remembers learning the recipe while watching her parents cook at their restaurant when she was little. She added the recipe was taught orally and not written down. Over the past few years, she has continued the tradition and is teaching her nieces and nephews the famous pie recipe.

The family held a pie making contest one holiday with the younger generation to see who, if anyone, could perfect the taste and texture of Mrs. Catherine’s Sweet Potato Pie.

Her most prized possession — a handmade cookbook her mother made using a typewriter

Michelle Watts, 58 | Denver, CO

A blue three-ring binder filled with over 70 recipes typed with a typewriter is one of Michelle Watts’ most prized possession. The cookbook was a love token her mom, Jessie Monis, made for her four children. She filled the book with Syrian recipes, such as stuffed grape leaves from her native country, along with recipes she acquired from friends and family over the years.

“Each time I use the cookbook, I feel my mom with me,” said Watts, her mom passed away in 2018. “I hear her voice as I read the special notes she added to each recipe. And every single time my heart is filled with the love that she put into my precious cookbook.”

Her mom put each page in a plastic page protector, to guard against those inevitable cooking messes, said Watts, who received the book as a Christmas present in 1987. Along with Thanksgiving staples like stuffing and gravy the book also contains a turkey pot pie recipe, perfect for holiday leftovers.

A tradition that has been a ‘Dream’ for over 40 years

Lisa Baldacci, 63 | Woodbury, MN

More than 40 years ago Lisa Baldacci got a recipe for Dream Salad when her former mother-in-law made it for Thanksgiving, and it’s been on her table ever since.

The Jell-O salad variation contains pineapple, cream cheese, tiny marshmallows, lime Jell-O and is topped with Cool Whip. However, she is really the only one in her family who eats it.

“It’s kind of a joke,” Baldacci said. “The little ones will eat it, but everyone else just takes a spoonful to be polite.”

Then last year, Baldacci found out just how deep the Dream Salad tradition runs in her family when her daughter moved 1,500 miles away and called asking for the recipe for Thanksgiving because she was homesick.

“I get teased about it every year, but it’s part of my tradition,” Baldacci said.

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How Processing Delays Have People Out of Work During a Nationwide Labor Shortage

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Dayana Vera de Aponte had locked in her holiday plans after nearly two years of uncertainty fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, but then the unexpected happened: She lost her job because of an unprecedented U.S. government backlog.Vera de Aponte, a registered behavior technician for special needs children in Florida, had to walk away from her job this month when the work permit that allows her to legally work in the United States lapsed. Her family has since adjusted their holiday plans, including no longer flying in her husband’s mother, over financial concerns.”I had to talk to my daughter about the situation. … It’s not in my hands. It’s frustrating, and how do I explain that to her? I can’t buy her Christmas gifts because I’m afraid to spend money,” Vera de Aponte, who’s seeking political asylum in the U.S., told CNN in Spanish.Vera de Aponte is one of thousands of immigrants who have lost their jobs — or are on the cusp of losing them — due to bureaucratic delays. U.S. companies already reeling from a worker shortage are now facing the challenge of employees falling out of jobs because their work permits haven’t been renewed on time by the federal government.An IT company lost five employees this year because their permission to work hadn’t been renewed, leaving them unable to legally work in the United States, according to Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney representing the company. The business, which has roughly 1,000 employees, declined to be named over privacy concerns.While three of those employees have since obtained their renewals, the incident is emblematic of an issue dogging companies nationwide. “There are huge concerns just generally out there that this is going to keep happening,” Fresco said.Related video above: Federal vaccine mandate for health care workers causes staffing concernsThe limited supply of workers has already hampered U.S. companies and it’s at risk of being exacerbated by immigrants unable to keep jobs because they can’t legally work until their permits are renewed. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which adjudicates and approves work permits, says there’s an unprecedented backlog of 1.4 million work permit applications pending, including initial applications and renewals.USCIS didn’t have a breakdown of how many of those permits have lapsed because of the backlog, but an agency official told CNN they’ve been hearing from those affected about the problem.”We’re hearing from companies. We’re hearing from non-profits. We’re hearing from hospitals. And we’re hearing directly from the individuals affected,” the official said. “We’re very aware of the problem from all the way to the top of the agency and the department.”Some immigrants, including asylum seekers, are allowed to work in the U.S. while their cases are pending — a process that often takes years to complete — and they’re required to renew those permits on a regular basis.But without those renewals granted, work permits are lapsing, leaving employers no choice but to terminate workers even during a worker shortage.”The severity of the labor shortage is unprecedented,” said Gad Levanon, vice president of labor markets at The Conference Board, a business membership think tank. “When the labor shortage is so severe, any additional factor that is pulling away people from the labor market is more noticeable.”The National Association of Business Economics found that nearly half (47%) of respondents to its recent Business Conditions Survey reported a shortage of skilled workers in the third quarter, up from 32% reporting shortages in the second quarter of the year.”If the labor market was normal, then it would be easier for these companies to replace the ones that lost a work permit,” Levanon added. “Now, finding a qualified worker to replace is much more difficult.”The months-long delays in renewing work permits has been “disruptive” for companies, said Jon Baselice, vice president of immigration policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who has frequently heard from companies concerned about processing issues.”It’s been quite disruptive,” he said. “You’re talking about a situation where a company can’t retain an employee at least in the short term because of lack of paperwork.”For those employees, the wait for what’s otherwise routine paperwork means putting off plans and fretting over family finances. Abelardo Rios, a telecommunications field technician residing in Florida, was suspended from his job last week. Rios, who’s seeking political asylum in the U.S., submitted his application for a renewal in February, three months before his work permit expired. He’s still waiting.”We don’t have any benefits, no medical insurance. They put the position on hold, but my family doesn’t have benefits right now,” Rios told CNN in Spanish.One of the most frustrating parts of the ordeal for Rios, who is the sole provider for his wife and 17-year-old daughter, is that he doesn’t have the option to find another job. He can’t work until his renewal request is granted, as it’s been many times before.In recent weeks, the Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project has received hundreds of inquiries from people who say their work permits have expired or are on the cusp of expiring, according to Leidy Perez-Davis, policy director at the Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project. They include doctors and specialists who attended to patients at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, engineers and long-haul truck drivers, among others.The Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project, along with the American Immigration Council and Lakin & Wille LLP, filed a lawsuit this month challenging the “unreasonable delays” in renewing work authorizations for asylum seekers. Vera de Aponte is a named plaintiff in the ASAP lawsuit.A work permit for an asylum seeker is usually valid for two years. Applicants can apply for renewal while their asylum application is pending. If they file before the permit expires, they can receive an automatic 180-day extension of their current permit. But processing, in some cases, is extending beyond that time frame, leaving asylum seekers in limbo.USCIS, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, has been facing enormous backlogs across the board due to the coronavirus pandemic and, an official argued, poor management under the previous administration that in part resulted in a million cases spanning categories that were unopened in January.Since then, the Biden administration has been chipping away at the various backlogs at USCIS through policy changes, paying overtime, and trying to bring on more personnel, the official said. But while USCIS is trying to streamline operations to resolve for delays, it’s also doing so at a time when the agency is working to provide work permits to tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees, stressing already overwhelmed resources.”We are very focused on the human consequences of people losing their ability to work when that’s something they have no legal reason why they shouldn’t be eligible, and so that’s why we are focused on fixing it,” the official said.Heghine Muradyan, a doctor in California who attended to hundreds of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, lost her job in October when her work permit didn’t come in on time. It was approved this week, but she’s still waiting for the permit to get back to work. Muradyan, an asylum seeker who’s also a named plaintiff in the ASAP lawsuit, spent the last several weeks worried she’d lose her license to practice medicine if she didn’t return to work soon.The uncertainty of what comes next still looms over others.Biraj Nepal, a software engineer, gets a frequent warning from human resources that his work permit will expire in January, a reminder that he’s on the cusp of losing his job.”We feel this country is our home,” said Nepal, who has a 4-year-old daughter and a baby on the way. “But we’re living in constant fear and worries because we don’t know what will happen to us tomorrow.”

Dayana Vera de Aponte had locked in her holiday plans after nearly two years of uncertainty fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, but then the unexpected happened: She lost her job because of an unprecedented U.S. government backlog.

Vera de Aponte, a registered behavior technician for special needs children in Florida, had to walk away from her job this month when the work permit that allows her to legally work in the United States lapsed. Her family has since adjusted their holiday plans, including no longer flying in her husband’s mother, over financial concerns.

“I had to talk to my daughter about the situation. … It’s not in my hands. It’s frustrating, and how do I explain that to her? I can’t buy her Christmas gifts because I’m afraid to spend money,” Vera de Aponte, who’s seeking political asylum in the U.S., told CNN in Spanish.

Vera de Aponte is one of thousands of immigrants who have lost their jobs — or are on the cusp of losing them — due to bureaucratic delays. U.S. companies already reeling from a worker shortage are now facing the challenge of employees falling out of jobs because their work permits haven’t been renewed on time by the federal government.

An IT company lost five employees this year because their permission to work hadn’t been renewed, leaving them unable to legally work in the United States, according to Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney representing the company. The business, which has roughly 1,000 employees, declined to be named over privacy concerns.

While three of those employees have since obtained their renewals, the incident is emblematic of an issue dogging companies nationwide. “There are huge concerns just generally out there that this is going to keep happening,” Fresco said.

Related video above: Federal vaccine mandate for health care workers causes staffing concerns

The limited supply of workers has already hampered U.S. companies and it’s at risk of being exacerbated by immigrants unable to keep jobs because they can’t legally work until their permits are renewed. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which adjudicates and approves work permits, says there’s an unprecedented backlog of 1.4 million work permit applications pending, including initial applications and renewals.

USCIS didn’t have a breakdown of how many of those permits have lapsed because of the backlog, but an agency official told CNN they’ve been hearing from those affected about the problem.

“We’re hearing from companies. We’re hearing from non-profits. We’re hearing from hospitals. And we’re hearing directly from the individuals affected,” the official said. “We’re very aware of the problem from all the way to the top of the agency and the department.”

Some immigrants, including asylum seekers, are allowed to work in the U.S. while their cases are pending — a process that often takes years to complete — and they’re required to renew those permits on a regular basis.

But without those renewals granted, work permits are lapsing, leaving employers no choice but to terminate workers even during a worker shortage.

“The severity of the labor shortage is unprecedented,” said Gad Levanon, vice president of labor markets at The Conference Board, a business membership think tank. “When the labor shortage is so severe, any additional factor that is pulling away people from the labor market is more noticeable.”

The National Association of Business Economics found that nearly half (47%) of respondents to its recent Business Conditions Survey reported a shortage of skilled workers in the third quarter, up from 32% reporting shortages in the second quarter of the year.

“If the labor market was normal, then it would be easier for these companies to replace the ones that lost a work permit,” Levanon added. “Now, finding a qualified worker to replace is much more difficult.”

The months-long delays in renewing work permits has been “disruptive” for companies, said Jon Baselice, vice president of immigration policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who has frequently heard from companies concerned about processing issues.

“It’s been quite disruptive,” he said. “You’re talking about a situation where a company can’t retain an employee at least in the short term because of lack of paperwork.”

For those employees, the wait for what’s otherwise routine paperwork means putting off plans and fretting over family finances.

Abelardo Rios, a telecommunications field technician residing in Florida, was suspended from his job last week. Rios, who’s seeking political asylum in the U.S., submitted his application for a renewal in February, three months before his work permit expired. He’s still waiting.

“We don’t have any benefits, no medical insurance. They put the position on hold, but my family doesn’t have benefits right now,” Rios told CNN in Spanish.

One of the most frustrating parts of the ordeal for Rios, who is the sole provider for his wife and 17-year-old daughter, is that he doesn’t have the option to find another job. He can’t work until his renewal request is granted, as it’s been many times before.

In recent weeks, the Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project has received hundreds of inquiries from people who say their work permits have expired or are on the cusp of expiring, according to Leidy Perez-Davis, policy director at the Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project. They include doctors and specialists who attended to patients at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, engineers and long-haul truck drivers, among others.

The Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project, along with the American Immigration Council and Lakin & Wille LLP, filed a lawsuit this month challenging the “unreasonable delays” in renewing work authorizations for asylum seekers. Vera de Aponte is a named plaintiff in the ASAP lawsuit.

A work permit for an asylum seeker is usually valid for two years. Applicants can apply for renewal while their asylum application is pending. If they file before the permit expires, they can receive an automatic 180-day extension of their current permit. But processing, in some cases, is extending beyond that time frame, leaving asylum seekers in limbo.

USCIS, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, has been facing enormous backlogs across the board due to the coronavirus pandemic and, an official argued, poor management under the previous administration that in part resulted in a million cases spanning categories that were unopened in January.

Since then, the Biden administration has been chipping away at the various backlogs at USCIS through policy changes, paying overtime, and trying to bring on more personnel, the official said. But while USCIS is trying to streamline operations to resolve for delays, it’s also doing so at a time when the agency is working to provide work permits to tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees, stressing already overwhelmed resources.

“We are very focused on the human consequences of people losing their ability to work when that’s something they have no legal reason why they shouldn’t be eligible, and so that’s why we are focused on fixing it,” the official said.

Heghine Muradyan, a doctor in California who attended to hundreds of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, lost her job in October when her work permit didn’t come in on time. It was approved this week, but she’s still waiting for the permit to get back to work. Muradyan, an asylum seeker who’s also a named plaintiff in the ASAP lawsuit, spent the last several weeks worried she’d lose her license to practice medicine if she didn’t return to work soon.

The uncertainty of what comes next still looms over others.

Biraj Nepal, a software engineer, gets a frequent warning from human resources that his work permit will expire in January, a reminder that he’s on the cusp of losing his job.

“We feel this country is our home,” said Nepal, who has a 4-year-old daughter and a baby on the way. “But we’re living in constant fear and worries because we don’t know what will happen to us tomorrow.”

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Why Revised History Is Important in the Employment Market

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The US job market is lagging behind, but catching up faster than it first appears.

The US economy is bigger than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The stock market is higher. However, compared to the end of 2019, October employment was 3.6 million less.

Bridging that gap is an important factor in when and how the Federal Reserve focuses on raising prices. Inflation is testing the central bank’s patience with US businesses and workers.

The latest evidence comes on Friday of the week prior to the release of the job report in November. Investors and economists expect hundreds of thousands of people to return to the employment market for another major employment month. The forecast is for about 500,000 new jobs. As a result, the cumulative total for two months will be close to 1 million. This is the best two-month rebound before the COVID-19 Delta strain began to circulate in the summer. It slowed the growth of work and provided another reminder of how the job market is related to germs.

But maybe not so many. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will continue to revise the data for two months after the headline statistics are released. Between June and September, 626,000 more jobs were added than originally included in the monthly release. This was first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed by government data. The August revision alone, which added about 250,000 more jobs than originally reported, is the largest on record.

The Fed’s dual mission of full employment and stable prices is once again proven to be a delicate balance. Banks accelerate their response by rising interest rates as strong inflation can settle well beyond energy and food prices and the strength of the job market looks more sustainable in the second and third looks. Pressure is applied.

On February 4, 2021, a “Help Wanted” sign was posted in front of a company in Miami.

Financial journalist Tom Hudson hosts the “Sunshine Economy” at WLRN-FM in Miami and is Vice President of News. He is a former co-anchor and editor-in-chief of the Nightly Business Report on public television. Follow him on Twitter @ HudsonsView.

Why Revised History Is Important in the Employment Market

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The Ultimate Physician Credentialing Software Checklist for 2022

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What is Physician Credentialing in Healthcare?

Credentialing for physicians is a process that verifies that doctors and other medical professionals are sufficiently trained and have all the necessary certifications to provide the specific healthcare service to patients. This process is integral toward maintaining care standards and ensuring the safety of patients. Additionally, physician credentialing information is a mandatory requirement for reimbursements of services from insurance entities and payers. As a practice or healthcare organization, it is imperative to efficiently comply with healthcare provider credentialing to survive in the healthcare sector. Essentially, this process is the foundation on which patients can place their trust and health in the hands of the chosen healthcare provider.

How Physician Credentialing Can Enhance Care Quality?

As the healthcare industry continues its evolution along the technological landscape, physician credentialing software is growing in popularity. Physician credentialing services are being increasingly sought out by health facilities, clinics, insurance companies and other related organizations to ensure that processes, licenses and certificates are up-to-date. The physician credentialing process, when done right, can positively influence their entire lifecycle of care-giving. Along with monitoring physician requirements, a provider credentialing software stores a database of potential physicians. Physician credentialing software can provide these and more benefits, with minimum hassles and added advantages.

Why Physician Credentialing Software Matters?

The healthcare sector has witnessed unprecedented healthcare software product development in the very recent. With the emergence of custom healthcare software solutions on the rise, credentialing software companies are now able to address organizational requirements in a tailored fashion. A manual process that takes 2-3 months, can be undertaken by the software in 1-2 days. Although the basic requirement of a credentialing management software is to ensure that providers are appropriately licensed and capable of providing efficient healthcare, there are several other offerings in the making. From overall healthcare management to advanced telehealth solutions, a robust credentialing software for physicians can offer all this and more.

Long Term Goals

As the healthcare system expands its horizons towards advanced reforms, medical credentialing software is turning into a priority for most healthcare organizations. With a shift in systems, health companies need to transition toward long-term goals of patient’s overall health. Healthcare organizations need to expand their reach to offer advanced patient engagement systems, as opposed to the earlier model of fee-for-service. This advanced care-giving approach requires a higher number of providers on the medical credentialing portal. A larger database, therefore, can be seamlessly accomplished through advanced medical credentialing software.

Advanced Healthcare Services

Medical credentialing for hospitals is also witnessing a transition from the traditional system. With the onset of COVID-19, hospitals quickly realized that less-urgent health care services should be moved to other locations, while hospitals should focus on critical care. As a result of this realization, the hospital credentialing process has changed, wherein hospital vendor credentialing and physician credentialing application is now undertaken across various locations. Physician credentialing software can undertake this process with ease through the integrated healthcare solutions.

Who Manages the Credentialing System?

In general, healthcare facilities have a dedicated department to handle the requisites of provider credentialing. Smaller clinics and solo providers, sometimes, undertake this process themselves. However, manual physician credentialing services are quite complex. It involves detailed communication with licensing and related agencies, verification processes and endless paper-work. Proper credentialing is essential and an oversight or small error can have huge implications for the organization.

Physician credentialing software is designed to undertake the physician credentialing process in an automated fashion, with little to no room for errors. Information is stored more comprehensively, services are undertaken more efficiently, and licenses and certifications are obtained with ease. Using advanced automated healthcare solutions for hospital credentialing services frees up healthcare staff to take on other responsibilities.

What are the Capabilities of a Healthcare Credentialing Software?

Centralized Database: Healthcare provider data can be stored on a centralized database platform, which makes it much easier to promptly search for a specific provider and confirm validation of credentials. This database is secured with the highest standards and can be used for electronic data interchange purposes too.

Minimal Paperwork: Electronic credentialing for physicians automatically reduces the paperwork involved with manual processes. Not only are credentialing staff free of paper-based processes, but providers no longer need to fill out long paper forms. Comprehensive practice management solutions are capable of incorporating credentialing into their purview for all-rounded service offerings.

Increased Accessibility: Medical informatics can be applied to physician credentialing in healthcare to offer increased accessibility to provider qualifications. Moreover, with automated medical credentialing services, virtual meetings can be organized to asses provider credentials across multiple locations.

Compliance: Cloud computing in healthcare can be applied to physician credentialing software to ensure compliance with the healthcare credentialing regulations and requirements. Deadlines and renewal requirements are clearly accessible through reminders.

What are the Challenges With Current Credential Management?

A credentialing company for physicians has to deal with several challenges, such as, hacking of credentialing data, compromised processes, high expenses, etc. Healthcare organizations often find that a legacy credentialing system is the weakest area of the organizations data security.

How to Choose the Right Credentialing Software?

More often than not, the right credentialing software for a healthcare organization is one that is customized to their specific needs. Below are some quick considerations toward medical credentialing services:

Costs: Does the cost justify the development? This is an important question for all organizations to mull over. Based on specific requirements, a cost-efficient software can be developed to address relevant needs. An established software may be expensive and offer features that may not be required by your own health facility. In such cases, it is always wise to build a software that is designed around your own requirements.

ROI: An analysis of the Return on Investment (ROI) is an essential prerequisite when opting for a credentialing software. A commitment from key stakeholders will be dependent on this analysis and will ensure a smooth development process.

Timeframe: When developing a credentialing software, a clear timeframe will avoid frustrations along the way. Setting a realistic timeframe with the developer is a good idea from the get go.

What Are the Features of a Futuristic Credentialing Software?

Apart from the basics, a provider credentialing software of the future should offer more effective and efficient tools.

Digital Access: A holistic and continual digitally accessible platform will ensure comprehensive access to medical licensure boards and similar requirements. This accessibility also allows updated provider information to be viewed.

Tracking and Reporting: Automated tracking of licenses, certificates and other relevant information about providers can be a significantly useful tool. Providers who are already on the system can update their certifications and licenses with ease. Tracking and reporting can also lend itself toward information on medical incidences, including red flags.

Cloud-based Housing: As with remote health monitoring systems, hospital credentialing companies can benefit from the system being housed on the cloud. This means that accessibility can be gained, for the relevant entities, through multiple devices.

Strong Integration: Integrated healthcare solutions are the future of the healthcare industry and credentialing is no exception. A robust software needs to be integrated with provider credentialing information from the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH).

Intuitive Interface: An advanced interface that offers multiple features, such as, reminders and notifications for renewals, peer review for providers, and consistent feedback. An intuitive interface is one that has a dashboard with graphics and drag and drop capabilities, along with enough storage to retain provider data and customized reports and a good amount of customer support.

Conclusion

Provider credentialing software can offer numerous advantages, as stated above, to ensure that the healthcare organization stays future-proof and continues to carry a competitive edge. Whether it is a cloud-based software or one that operated on a local network, security of provider information is paramount. Maintaining the balance between accessibility and security needs careful consideration and organizations must choose developers that can manage the fine balance. As you embark on your journey toward credentialing automation, the above guide can serve to provide you with everything you need to know for successful implementation.

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