GNO: Debbie Doriani’s Favorite Things


I am Debbie Doriani, wife of Dan Doriani for 40 years and mother to 3 grown daughters.  Since I am married to my favorite speaker who gives my favorite sermons, I will not choose that topic.  By God’s gracious blessing, the favorite speaker has been able to take me on fabulous travels around the world to accompany him on his speaking trips, so that topic is out as well. Here are my favorites, although you should know there are way too many to enumerate and they overlap considerably.

My Favorite Calling: I totally enjoy my position in life at this time. I thank the Lord for all the things, tasks, people he brings into my life.  I am wife to Dan.  We still laugh together and enjoy doing things together like traveling. I am mother to Abigail Doriani Karsten and (favorite son-in-law) Dave Karsten, Sarah Doriani and Beth Doriani. Nana to Estelle (3yo) and Jonah (1 week old). Our family enjoys being together and I am privileged to keep Estelle at least 1 day a week.  Soon I will care for Jonah as well.

Mostly I am a home engineer, which takes tons of time but is truly rewarding.  I give credit to my parents for teaching me wonderful skills in this area. This involves doing all things domestic: laundry, ironing, shopping for all household stuff including refrigerators, etc., cooking, banking, gardening, putting up produce, cleaning, organizing, figuring out ways to be efficient, errands, sewing/mending, creative planning and seasonal decorating. But there’s more.  Dan and I count it a privilege to host people in our home, friends AND strangers.  I love drop in friends.  You get what you see.  I love my neighborhood and seriously try to minister to them, especially new people, neighbors with new babies, hospitalizations, sickness or deaths, and even gutted out kitchens. My dog and I are co-dependent.  She alerts me to people walking by and I run out to talk to them.

God has blessed me with 10 piano students and families.  I have known some of these children for 5 years now and have watched them mature physically, emotionally and musically.  I consider piano lessons more than notes.  Some days it is being a counselor, cheerleader, and boss.  What a delight to hear them play accurately with great expression and ENJOY IT!


My Favorite Music: Growing up, it was everywhere and all the time.  I grew up in a pastor’s home and extended family that loved and performed music.  There was church music: my father led the worship singing, he sang in a pastors’ quartet, he led choirs. He and I sang duets together. We sang in church, washing dishes, in the car.  I remember learning to sing harmony in the 3rd grade at the annual camp meeting where my aunt played the piano in a gorgeous, improvisational style.  In 2nd grade, I commenced my piano training and by 6th grade was playing the hymns for Sunday evening worship.  I was the designated accompanist for singing around the piano on Thanksgiving evening. I forced myself to learn to sing and play the piano at the same time.  Who knew I would do that for a living later on?

  • There was school music: My high school music director was a huge influence in my music career.  Our school choir and select choir mastered the great classical vocal works.  He chose me to learn to play the viola in the school orchestra and he was my beloved piano teacher.  It was because of him that I pursued piano and music education in college.  It was the Lord that enabled me to use those skills for the rest of my life, despite not attending a high-powered music school.


  • There was listening music:  My uncle played the trombone for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.  He gave my parents wonderful albums, filling our house with memorable melodies. One of my fondest childhood memories is of my father taking me as a 5 year old, on the train at Christmas time, to downtown Philadelphia to the famous John Wanamaker’s Department Store with its cathedral-like atrium housing a historic pipe organ and featuring the “The Dancing Waters.”  High on a balcony in the atrium, fountains of water with colored lights bouncing off of them, sprayed according to the intensity of the Christmas music played by a recording of The Philadelphia Orchestra. The whole event was magical. To this day when I hear that particular Christmas arrangement I have to stop and recall that special time.


  • There was music of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, my era:  In one smooth motion, when I entered my bedroom, the light switch went on, the radio went on. The tight harmonies and rich rhythms of Crosby, Stills, and Nash (etc) and Motown/Funk were inspiring.  Even now, when Dan is out playing tennis and I am cooking/baking, I groove to “Tower of Power,” “Snarky Puppy,” “Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.”  And more. And loud.

My Favorite Recipes:  These two are wonderful for dinner parties.

Chicken Marbella from The Silver Palate Cookbook.  It is a marvelous combination of flavors of chicken, prunes, olives, capers, garlic and more.  So easy to do ahead.  No babysitting required.

Butternut Squash Lasagna from Williams-Sonoma. Beth Doriani’s birthday dinner request.  Yes, this is labor intensive but totally worth it!

1 Tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
add: 4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
add: 1 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
Remove from heat and add:
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used dried)
1 Tbs. minced fresh sage (I used dried)

Cook to al dente: 9 lasagna noodles

I cook and mash by butternut squash, it’s too hard to peel and slice. Can buy already peeled/sliced squash.

Sauce, then noodles, sauce, sausage, squash
Repeat the layering of sauce, sausage and squash 5 more times, replacing the squash layer with a layer of noodles after every 2 layers of squash. Top with the remaining sauce and the 1/4 cup cheese.

Bake: 400F, 45 minutes until browned and bubbly.Sprinkle with 1 Tbs. parsley. Let lasagna stand in pan 15 set.



My Favorite Restaurant:  The Crossing on Forsyth in Clayton.  See Jane Ellen Mark’s and Cher Curtis’ reviews.   Our daughter and friends worked for Jimmy Fiala, the owner.  They love him as we do.  We know many of the staff by now and it is like a reunion.  The food is out of this world, portions just right, and we hold the best memories of times dining there.


My favorite Make-up:  A high quality lipstick.  “Nectarine” by Estee Lauder.  It is a perfect shade to match orange which I happen to wear frequently. Stays on well.  This is a freebie: “If the barn needs painting, paint it.” For us more mature women, this is an important principle.

Your friend,

Click HERE to return to the landing page for GNO: Our Favorite Things 

chicken marsala photo by Darkhunter / lasagna photo source

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