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Chef’s Corner: Dixie Manor Delights

COVINGTON, Ga. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Christmas is coming and it’s time to start whipping up some tasty holiday treats. Here’s a woman who blends her love for cooking with her passion for nostalgia. Recipes follow story!

Irene Robinson Smith loves to tell people about her home, Dixie Manor. “This great house was built in 1838 by Judge Thomas Franklin Jones, for his bride Elizabeth,” she tells Ivanhoe. It’s truly a southern mansion. From the 10 fireplaces to the crystal handed down through generations, it’s a home Smith loves to entertain in. “We have Christmas from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve,” she says. “Everything from cookie parties to cocktail parties, we have a good time.”

Today, this self-taught cook shares an easy traditional southern side dish -- ambrosia. The next generation, her granddaughters, are here to help.

Instead of peeling oranges, like her grandmother did, she uses orange juice concentrate and grated apples. “This is just a quick, you know, never-peel-an-orange-again ambrosia,” Smith says. She even remembers the first time she had it. “I was at my Aunt Babine’s in Forsyth, Georgia. And she had it in silver compotes like this, and I just thought that was the most elegant thing I had ever eaten.”

Next, add crushed pineapple and then chunked pineapple that’s been strained. Add shredded coconut and you’re done.

Smith says she’s never had a Christmas dinner without it. She loves this recipe because it’s easy, it can be made ahead of time and it can easily be changed to feed as many or as few people as you need. She suggests serving it with small spoons because if you give a big spoon, it will run out quickly.

Chef Irene Robinson Smith's Recipes:

         Never-Peel-Another-Orange Ambrosia
         Christmas Wreath Salad
         English Pea Cheese Salad
         Peach Dump Cake

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