January 23, 2022

Dishin’ with Dody

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Dody-Denman-FP 1By Dody Denman

Don’t Ban the “B” Word…with a side of Tamale Casserole

The powerful trio, Condoleezza Rice, Sheryl Sandberg and Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez, exhibit their “Ban Bossy” buttons, aiming to change the conversation about girls and leadership. Ninth grader Sheryl Sandberg wasn’t shy about raising her voice. But the message she got from a faculty adviser didn’t praise that trait. “She’s too aggressive, too bossy,” the teacher said. “You don’t want to be bossy.”  Their goal is to ban the word bossy, saying “it is a negative label too often applied to young girls, and one of the many ways they are discouraged from speaking up.”

This is according to a recent Parade Magazine interview with these stories of how they were encouraged to achieve…

Condoleezza Rice: “My parents elected me president of the family when I was 4. … I would call meetings where we’d decide things like what color to paint the living room. As I got older, I realized that what my parents were doing was sending messages about leadership potential.”
Anna Maria Chavez: “Instead of teaching me how to cook, my mother taught my brothers how to cook, and me how to run a board meeting.”
Sheryl Sandberg: “I, too, had supportive parents who told me I could do everything. But the rest of the messages I got from society were pretty negative on leadership.”

All the time I was reading the interviews I kept thinking that something was wrong.  The words just didn’t sit comfortable with me. I was a “bossy” girl, woman, old lady and it has served me well.  I don’t think the answer lies in changing the perception of a word, but in teaching girls and women to stand strong for their beliefs and principals without regard to others attitudes.  Teach young women to know who they are and they have familial support behind their beliefs.

I remember when in high school I had a bad encounter with a teacher and he was wrong and I knew he was wrong.  I stood up and walked out of his class.  I walked into the principal’s office and said, “I want to call my mother and I want to call her now.” She arrived immediately and there was instant action to correct the injustice.

Teach your children, boys and girls, that adults don’t have the last word.  Teach them they have a voice. Respect those in authority, but only as far as it is comfortable to them.  There is a time that children must stand for themselves, I will say it, and be damn bossy!!!

I was called “bossy” most of my life and considered it a compliment.  Don’t delete a word; take it for the better meaning.   “Bossy” is a derivative of the word “boss” which means “somebody in charge” and I think that should be the goal.  Be the boss that teaches with patience and kindness.  Be the boss that demands respect and accomplishment, teaching those around you the fulfillment of successful achievement.  Be the boss of yourself first but, be the boss.

I also take a bit of offense to Rice, Chavez and Sandberg, albeit incredibly dynamic women, who admit they were called bossy, yet want to coddle others.  Sandberg didn’t listen when she was called “the B word”, neither should you.  Look at their accomplishments and decide if you want to be leaders as they are.  If so, don’t take the shortcut. Strong, aggressive, educated, accomplished women will face a daily war of unprintable words, I say, rise above them and make them eat those words. Don’t ban “bossy” and if you are called such, smile and say “thank you.”  Remove the connotation, not the word.



This is a new recipe I recently created.  I have had to make it three times already…twice doubling the recipe.  It has been a huge hit with my family and I am sure it will be in yours, too.

tamale casseroleTamale Casserole



1 box cornbread mix (I used Morrison)

Egg and milk as stated on mix box

1 tsp. chili powder

1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

1/8 tsp. smoked paprika

2 cups grated cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, divided

4 oz chopped green chilies, drained

1 can cream style corn

1 can spicy red enchilada sauce

1 1/2 lb hamburger

1 small onion, dice

1 Tbs. taco seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste



1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine 1/2 cup cheese and all ingredients through corn in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork.  Pour half the enchilada sauce over top.

4. While cornbread is cooking brown hamburger meat and onion.  When meat is done, add salt, pepper and taco seasoning to taste.  Stir in 1 cup water and remainder enchilada sauce.  Continue cooking until most of the moisture is cooked out.

5. Top cooked cornbread mixture with hamburger mixture.

6. Add remainder of cheese

7. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese melts.

8. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes.

9. Serve with sour cream and avocados if desired




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