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11/26/02

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Family Prepares for Aunt Sophie's "Famous Holiday Casserole"


DAVENPORT, Neb. (DPI) - As Thanksgiving Day approaches, members of the Warren family have one thing for which they will not be giving thanks: Aunt Sophie's casserole. This unwelcome tradition has been going on longer than anyone cares to remember, yet no member of the family has ever had the courage to confront the aging relative on her annual culinary catastrophe. The exact ingredients of the side dish remain a mystery, but most agree that it likely contains potato, corn flakes, orange marmalade, sour cream, Tabasco sauce and miniature marshmallows. Sophie once added chocolate chips and tried to pass it off as a dessert.

"When I was a kid, I could get away without eating it," admitted David Warren. "But now that I'm an adult, Aunt Sophie expects you to take a good big scoop of that crap, then she comes around offering seconds. I've tried to feed it to the dog under the table, but even he's not stupid enough to take it, and I've seen him eat roadkill. I watch the news reports showing the homeless people at the downtown soup kitchen and wish I could be eating with those lucky bastards."

Paul Warren has his own evasive strategy.

"I actually look forward to every other year when I have to go to my mother-in-law's for Thanksgiving," he said. "They're a bunch of drunks, but at least I can eat what I want. I'm not even sure how I'm related to Aunt Sophie. I just keep assuming that she'll have died before the next Thanksgiving, but each year she strolls in with a bigger and more stomach-turning casserole dish."

For decades, heavy hints to Sophie in the days before Thanksgiving have gone unheeded. Family members have used lines such as, "We already have more food coming than we can eat," or "Just having you here will be enough." Sophie, however, has just responded, "Oh, I know how disappointed everyone would be without my famous casserole!" Many of the Warrens have discussed chipping in and paying for Aunt Sophie to be sent to a nursing home.

"Forty-thousand dollars per year is a small price to pay to have a Thanksgiving that we can enjoy," said Angela Warren. "I'd like to be sincere when I thank God for the food we are about to eat."



(Reported by Buddy Fisher)



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