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Merry Christmas from the Island Free Press

Thursday 22 December 2011 at 2:58 pm.

Never a Christmas morning,
Never an old year ends,
But somebody thinks of someone;
Old days, old times, old friends
--Author Unknown

 This was one of my mother’s favorite Christmas sayings, and it was printed on several of our family Christmas cards when I was growing up.

It came back to me as I was contemplating the topic for my blog this week.

The blog I posted last week, “Come the new year, we will pay to drive on the beach,” has certainly gotten attention and many comments from readers.

Frankly, I am surprised by the number of folks out there who didn’t see paying for a permit to drive on the beach in our immediate future. I – and other local reporters – have been writing about it for quite a long time.

I was planning another blog on the National Park Service – this one about its conflicts with communities across the county.

I will do that blog next month, because the more I thought about it, the subject seemed just kind of “Grinchy” for Christmas week.

And then I got an e-mail from a former friend and employee who worked at my newspaper in Louisville, Ky., when I left there 20 years ago.

So my Christmas blog is about old friends, the power of the Internet to connect and reconnect us, and recipes.

This is the email I got from Kevin Baker Morrice:

Hi Irene,
I was going through my recipe box and, for some reason, I can't find my recipe for "Irene Nolan's Crab Dip." I have searched high and low around the house, and then I took my search to the Internet. After a few fruitless searches for hot crab dip, I typed in "Irene Nolan's Crab Dip" and found someone's blog, in which you were mentioned and a link to Island Free Press was given! When I saw it was in the Hatteras, I knew I had the right gal! I'm so glad I've found you -- can you PLEEEEEASE send me your recipe? I have been making it for years at Christmas and always think of you at the holidays. I think of Maureen and Sue often too, especially at this time of year. I really miss Mo -- she was a good friend to me. Anyway, I hope you are well and I hope you remember me and don't mind sharing again. I'm on Facebook and I'm still in contact with Dave Creed in New York and a few other C-J-ers of old, even though I have been living in Oxfordshire, England, for the past 10 years. I have a 10-year-old son named Charlie too.
Take care and thanks in advance!

Kevin – an unusual name for a woman – worked at The Courier-Journal in Louisville when I was deputy managing editor and then managing editor before I moved to Hatteras in 1991.

Sue and Maureen were good friends of ours there.  

Sue Kunz, administrative assistant to the editor, died in 1995 at age 49 of breast cancer.

Maureen McNerney Nichols, features editor at the newspaper, died in 2000 of an apparent heart attack.

I, too, think of them often, especially at this time of year.

And I was astounded to hear from Kevin after all these years.

The power of the Internet to connect us all continues to amaze me.

I think of that often, especially after Island Free Press coverage of and response to Hurricane Irene last August.

Anyway, after the surprising e-mail from Kevin, I really couldn’t see another depressing Park Service blog for this week.

So I am sharing with you two favorite Island Free Press recipes.

My crab dip, which originally came from my mother, Jean Rodriguez Clare, is something that I served at holiday parties for The Courier-Journal staff in Louisville and here on Hatteras for the annual Christmas gathering of The Island Free Press writers.

Donna Barnett, Island Free Press webmaster and graphic designer, shares her recipe for egg rolls, which has also become something we look forward to at our annual holiday party.


1  8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1  6 ounce can of good quality crabmeat -- or if you have it, fresh or frozen crabmeat
1/4 cup of finely diced onion
1 tablespoon (or more) of horseradish
Paprika or slivered toasted almonds for topping

Mix cream cheese, crabmeat, onions, and horseradish together and put in a pie plate or small baking dish.  Sprinkle with the paprika or toasted almonds and heat in a 350-degree oven or microwave until hot and bubbly.

1 14 ounce package egg roll wrappers
1 1/2 pounds of fresh shrimp
1 pound bag of cole slaw mix
1 small onion chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger
1 large clove of fresh garlic
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 beaten egg

 Mix soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch together in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat.  Peel and chop fresh shrimp.  Stir fry in oil with onion, ginger, and garlic until shrimp are slightly pink.  Stir in cole slaw mix. When cole slaw mix starts to wilt, add soy sauce mixture and cook until mixture starts to thicken.  Set aside until cool. 

Once the mixture is cool, assemble the egg rolls by placing a wrapper onto your work surface with one corner pointing towards you. Place about 3 tablespoons of cooled filling in a heap onto the bottom third of the wrapper. Brush a little beaten egg around the edges of the wrapper to bind, then fold the bottom corner over the filling and roll firmly to the halfway point. Fold the left and right sides snugly over the egg roll, then continue rolling until the top corners seal the egg roll with the egg. Repeat with remaining egg roll wrappers.

Deep fry immediately until browned. Serve with prepared S & B Oriental Hot Mustard and bottled sweet and sour sauce. Makes approximately 20 egg rolls.

We at the Island Free Press wish for peace on earth this Christmas season.

eight comments

Kinnakeet Jackie

The recipes you publish are ALL so yummy! I’m afraid there is drool on my keyboard!! Merry Christmas y’all! May your days be merry & bright and I hope for peace in the New Year- if not peace , then the patience to adjust to changes.

Kinnakeet Jackie - 22-12-’11 15:12
Hawk Hawkins

Very Merry Christmas,Irene!Stay healthy,happy and keep up the great work!!!

Hawk Hawkins (Email ) - 23-12-’11 08:15
Kenneth Young

Merry Christmas to you Irene and to all the folks at the Island Free Press! Thank you so much for everything you all do to keep us so quickly and accurately informed on all of the critical happenings affecting Hatteras Island!!!! With so much uncertainty and change, at least I know I can depend on you all to keep us up to speed with the most up to date information on the island. My wish for you all is for smoother sailing in the coming year. Thank you again!

Kenneth Young (Email ) - 23-12-’11 10:23
Robert Bucks

Merry Christmas to Irene, the Island Free Press staff, and to everyone who calls Hatteras Island home.

Robert Bucks - 23-12-’11 20:47

“I was planning another blog on the National Park Service – this one about its conflicts with communities across the county.

I will do that blog next month, because the more I thought about it, the subject seemed just kind of “Grinchy” for Christmas week.”


Christmas is a time of kindness and understanding for fellow man and looking to the best of people, but after that faithful week when the crab dip is downed, all those good thoughts disappear and it is back to lets see what we can dig up to discredit the National Park Service and environmental groups. I thought the message was that the positive that the Grinch found during the Christmas season was a learning experience that he could carry throughout the year.

The FEIS for CHNS that is to be implemented in Feburary will be difficult and definately a learning experience for everyone who plans to ORV at CHNS, but my hope is that all will carry the Christmas thought throughout the year during this process.

Merry Christmas to you, and to the men and women of the National Park Service, Cape Hatteras Group.

Dennis - 24-12-’11 14:32
Janice Spake

Irene, Arley & I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas & a Happy & Healthy New Year. You & Island Free Press are awesome!!!

Janice Spake (Email ) - 25-12-’11 22:18


zhengjian (Email ) (URL) - 12-03-’12 02:32
Kevin Baker Morrice

Thank you SO much, Irene!! I can’t believe it took me so long to find you again! I was linking pages to my Klout account and my name popped up in the Island Free Press! Lo and behold, I found your touching pre-Christmas blog and the recipe I got from you all those years ago. Not only does the Internet bring us together, but I’ve always found food connects us to our loved ones across the miles and years. You will always be in my heart and kitchen because you shared your crab dip (and your recipe) with us when we gathered together. Thanks again!

Kevin Baker Morrice (URL) - 11-03-’13 12:10

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