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Did you catch the NY Times article before Thanksgiving featuring a special recipe from every state? Asakiyume says she made the wild rice recipe and the persimmon pudding, “both of which were fabulous.”

Since my husband and I lived in Minnesota for a few years in the 1990s, I had to check out that state’s recipe. If you listen to Garrison Keillor’s radio show A Prairie Home Companion, you know that food in the “hot dish” capital of the world is often a little … different. (“That’s different!” as the book How to Talk Minnesotan teaches us to say when we’re feeling skeptical.)

Anyway, the Minnesota Thanksgiving dish is grape salad. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be delicious, but some of the other state recipes look positively luscious.

Here is the grape salad recipe. It gave me a chuckle.

  •  pounds seedless grapes, removed from stems and rinsed, about 6 cups
  •  cups sour cream
  •  cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup toasted pecans (optional)
  1. Heat broiler. Put grapes in a large mixing bowl. Add sour cream and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, making sure all grapes are well coated.
  2. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart ceramic soufflé dish or other baking dish. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over top. Place dish under broiler as far from heat source as possible and broil until sugar is caramelized and crispy, about 5 minutes (be vigilant or you’ll risk a burnt black topping). Rotate dish as necessary for even browning. Chill for at least one hour. May be prepared up to 24 hours ahead. Just before serving, sprinkle with toasted pecans, if using.

More state recipes here. Save the collection for a special occasion — or next Thanksgiving.

Photo: David Tanis/NY Times

More here.

Photo: David Tanis/NY Times

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Photo: Greenfusefilms.com

Vanessa Gould, the sister of one of Suzanne’s elementary school buddies, is a documentarian. A while back, she made a Peabody-winning film about makers of advanced origami called Between The Folds. More recently, she was given unheard-of access to the New York Times obituary desk.

Her parents just sent an e-mail about the resulting movie and what Vanessa has been up to in general.

“Vanessa recently worked on Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously, a nine-part series tackling the challenges of climate change. … Vanessa was a producer on several of the stories and did additional cinematography on others. You can see most of her work in episodes three (“Super Storm Sandy”) and nine (“Chilean Andes”). Episode three, “The Rising Tide” with Chris Hayes, airs tonight, Sunday, April 27, at 10 pm on Showtime. … Here are links: http://www.yearsoflivingdangerously.com and https://www.facebook.com/YearsOfLiving. …

“Soon after making Between The Folds, one of the artists in the film passed away. Vanessa alerted the Times of his death, aware that it was unlikely they would run an obituary. And yet – somewhat amazingly – they did, and she assisted them in the unusual process of putting together an editorial obituary. Only three or four such obituaries are written by the NYT staff each day. The whole story of how these obituaries are selected and written, as well as the social history they tell, became her fascination. Hence OBIT will be her next film. Check out these links: http://www.obitdoc.com, http://www.greenfusefilms.com, and www.vanessagould.com.”

I wonder if OBIT will show to what extent the obituaries of famous people are written before they shuffle off this mortal coil. Come to think of it, do any newspapers let people submit their own obit in advance? I recently read a hilarious one that a small paper accepted from the deceased at the insistence of his grandson. It revealed a guy with a terrific sense of humor — not a bad tribute.

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