Advent Calendar, Day 8


The Messiah
This time of year, you can usually find me at my piano poring over the score of The Messiah, trying to decide if my alto won’t embarrass me too much to sing with the masses at Lincoln Center. It’s a magical experience to hear such power and beauty result from so many individual voices working together, and it’s comforting to know any of my flubs will be drowned out by those voices, too.

Not that I’m giving up karaoke anytime soon…

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recipe after the jump

Oyster Dressing courtesy of my grandfather, Malcolm Martin

It just isn’t a holiday for me without this dressing; it’s briny and organy, and altogether delicious. My grandfather didn’t cook much, but every Thanksgiving and Christmas we’d find him at the stove ministering over a pot of this dressing for the family dinner. I got my love of music from him as well as perhaps the most touching present I ever received — his beautiful Yamaha acoustic guitar.

1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1 1/2 large onions, chopped
1/4 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 package gizzards and livers, ground
1 pint oysters, with liquor
cooked rice, amount equal to above cooked ingredients
pinch of thyme and sage
salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté celery, bell pepper, parsley, and onion in a small amount of oil. Once vegetables have softened, add ground pork with small amount of water to render the pork fat. When pork fat has rendered, add beef, gizzards, and liver. Cook 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve oysters and drain oyster liquor through sieve. Add oysters and liquor to pot and cook until edges of oysters frill. Add cooked rice to pot. Mix ingredients together while warming through. Add small amount of water to steam rice. Cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Turn off heat and let pot sit, covered, for 30-40 minutes. Add pinch of thyme and sage, plus salt and pepper to taste.

4 Replies to “Advent Calendar, Day 8”

  1. if you get a chance, Amy, try to get to West Point to hear The Messiah at the Academy – I drove up there with one of my Ringwood neighbors many years ago, and it was magnificent –
    I guess it was partly the setting as well as the music –

    same feeling a few years later when Boaz and I went to the Naval Academy in Annapolis to hear Mozart’s Requiem – absolutely glorious – again a combination perhaps of music and setting –

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Miriam. This year’s going to be too hectic to get away, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind for next year.

    Jen — thank you!

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