… and don’t really want “things” for special occasions. The very best gift anyone could give me is to invite me for a home-cooked meal. Nothing fancy, just dinner or lunch and someone to share it with me. Like so many people in my age bracket, breaking bread with a friend or family member means more than things. We love the interaction with others and the kindness of home cooking.

– Billie-Jo H.,

Olympia, Wash.

DEAR HELOISE:

Please reprint your recipe for cornbread dressing. We love it!

– Luci G., Harrisonburg, Va.

Luci, this is a longtime family favorite, and I included it in my book “In the Kitchen With Heloise.” It can be cooked separately in a well-greased casserole dish and served not only with turkey, but ham, chicken and other entrees.

You’ll need:

1 cup broth (see note)

6-8 slices stale bread, torn into pieces

1½ cups packed crumbled cornbread

1 stick butter or margarine

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup to 1 cup chopped onion

2 eggs, beaten

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 tablespoon dried sage

(Note: Make the broth by cooking the giblets and neck of a turkey or chicken in water with seasonings, or use canned chicken broth or chicken bouillon.)

In a large bowl, pour the broth over the bread pieces and cornbread. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the celery and onion until tender. Add them to the bread mixture, along with the eggs, salt, pepper and seasonings. Mix well.

– Heloise

DEAR HELOISE:

I love avocados so much, I decided to grow my own avocado tree and harvest the fruit in my backyard. I got my tree started indoors, but once it reached 6 to 8 inches, I was told to trim it back to about 3 inches. If I hadn’t, it would have developed into a skinny, weak plant. My tree has been planted in the backyard and is now 10 feet tall and very robust.

– Lucy Y., Long Beach, Calif.

DEAR READERS:

Ever wonder where a pimiento comes from? They’re sweet red chili peppers, resembling a cherry tomato, and usually are found stuffed into a manzanillo olive to complement the saltiness of the olive. Pimiento peppers are a good source of vitamins A, C and B-6, and of copper. However, eating a large amount of pimientos can cause an upset stomach.

– Heloise

Comments