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The Taylor Family Clam Dip makes its appearance on Thanksgiving Eve.

Most families count down the days approaching the glazed ham and turkey that will fill their bellies on Thanksgiving. But our family? We count down the days until the Taylor Family Clam Dip makes its debut appearance. Forget the meat — we want cream cheese.

This recipe is a family classic compliments of Grandma Beth, and there's some serious full-court pressing when it comes out of the oven. Licking fingers in between bites is totally acceptable, while appropriate food etiquette and social cues are thrown by the wayside. Just to ensure my opinion wasn't biased, I made this on Thanksgiving Eve as a missionary, as well as for my local congregation in Oklahoma.

And I was right. It's a must-try.

While many variations of clam dip are floating around the Web, take my word for it and try our family's version: heavy on the lemon juice and light on the clams.

TAYLOR FAMILY CLAM DIP

2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese

½ cup chopped green onions (one bunch)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cans minced clams, drained (save the liquid — about ½ cup)

1 round loaf sourdough bread

1 long loaf sourdough bread for dipping

Salt, pepper and parsley to taste

Cut a circle off the round top of your loaf, like you would a pumpkin, and scoop out all the soft bread from the middle. Set that bread aside and be sure to slice off the bread connected to the top lid.

Soften the cream cheese in a saucepan on medium heat.

Drain the clams from the can and save the juice; we tend to be modest on the clams and heavy on the lemon juice.

Chop the onions and add them to the cream cheese, as well as the lemon juice, minced clams (we cut them extra small), clam juice, salt, pepper and parsley. Stir well. No need to boil the cheese, just melt it enough to break it down and make sure the ingredients make a good home in there.

Next, lay two long pieces of foil on the counter, criss-cross like the letter "t." Place the round hollowed loaf in the center and pour the mixture into the loaf, placing the bread lid back on top.

Wrap the foil over the loaf, securing all sides. Carefully put it in the oven. Set for 250 degrees and bake 2-3 hours.

When it's almost done, slice your long loaf and the leftover middle pieces into bite-sized pieces. Broil them for a few minutes once the dip is done, or bake the bread pieces the last 15 minutes along with the dip.

Brooke Willardson Porter is a California native, a mom, writer, editor and wife to a busy pediatric resident. Join her exaggerated life perspectives at atleastitsnotasingle.blogspot.com. Her email is [email protected].