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April 07, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Sister's spritely recipe wins raves in New Orleans Sister's spritely recipe wins raves in New Orleans (April 07, 2004)

By Jane Knoerle
Almanac Lifestyles Editor

Sister Margaret "Mike" Hoffman of the Religious of the Sacred Heart hails from New Orleans, where she is known for preparing delicious roast turkey. Sister's turkey is so famous that it is to be featured in an article in the food section of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Sister Hoffman was interviewed and photographed for the story before she left New Orleans last month. After she had settled at the Sacred Heart campus in Atherton, she received a frantic call -- the computer had eaten the photos.

Last week she fixed another turkey and the Associated Press sent a photographer to Atherton to take photos for the New Orleans paper. At the same time, Sister Nancy Morris called the Almanac to see if we would like to do a story on a story. We would.

A registered nurse, Sister Hoffman came to Sacred Heart last month to work in the Oakwood retirement community with nuns who need special care. Thirty-five elderly nuns from all over the United States live at Oakwood.

Sister Hoffman entered religious life at 15, joining the Carmelite Order. In 1972, she left the Carmelites to became a Religious of the Sacred Heart. She has had a life of service including four years in northern Uganda, where she operated bush clinics for nomad tribes.

Sister Hoffman has cooked since she stood at her mother's side with her own little set of pots and pans and dishes. In the religious community she always cooks Thanksgiving dinner, and "everybody just raves."

She usually doesn't follow recipes, but she did write one out for the Almanac and for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Does she have a secret ingredient? You bet. After the turkey browns nicely, she douses it with a can of diet Sprite and covers it with foil.

Roast turkey

Set oven at 325 degrees.
Brush turkey with margarine or oil.
Tightly pack stuffing in the cavity. (Makes the turkey juicier.)
Do not cover, and roast until nicely browned, rotating the pan if needed.
Pour a can of diet Sprite or 7-Up over the bird and cover it with foil.
Baste with butter or margarine to keep the bird moist.
A 12-pound turkey should take 4-1/2 to 5 hours.


2 packages ready-to-mix dressing, one corn bread, one regular
1/2 cup grapes, sliced
1 apple, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped

Prepare dressing as directed, substituting 1 cup apple juice for some of the water. Add remaining ingredients. If dressing seems dry, add extra 1/4 cup water.

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