Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 9, 2008

Grandma's Kitchen: Thanksgiving recipes


Today I feel like my calendar is bouncing up and down on the wall, screaming at me ... and pointing bony fingers at all the circled dates: church bazaar, doctors' appointments, birthdays, mail, e-mails, phone calls, study groups, election, grocery shopping, and columns, columns. I'm cowering in the corner whispering back, "But there's only one of me!" and knowing it only picks up speed as the holidays approach.

I'm sure so many of you feel the same way, it's what I call the "sticky note war." Everything we can cross off is a battle won.

Today our holiday caper is my priority. I have a file brimming with notes and recipes from you faithful friends, just waiting to be shared. Since this lands in your box before Thanksgiving, I'm using two recipes you might find helpful for turkey day. For those of you who missed the column requesting holiday recipes, I hope you can sit back and enjoy, and wouldn't it be nice if we could coast through the holidays without our hair standing on end!

It is hard to find Thanksgiving's true spirit of gratitude, and celebrate the Birthday of Hope that comes at Christmas, when we are going at breakneck speed. We desperately need the joy and peace they offer. So let's encourage each other to slow down.

I have some pretty basic recipes for you today from Nadine Dolan of Traverse City, and Paula Cruickshank of Suttons Bay. They will add some special touches to your Thanksgiving table. Nadine and Paula reminded us that all hearts go home for the holidays, this is when we long to be around the tables of our childhood. Even though we now have our own traditions, no food is ever quite the same as mom's.

Nadine says this, "Back in Burdett, Kansas my mother, Fredia Pelton was known as one of the very best cooks...her dishes were always sought out at the church suppers." Nadine goes on to say "I have lived all over the country and have many favorite recipes, but at holiday time I always come back to her standard recipes."

The following is Nadine's, her mother's and grandmother's favorite bread stuffing recipe for their holiday turkey. She said, "We usually tripled it because we loved the left-overs, and quite often there were none."

Traditional Bread Stuffing

(12 lb. turkey)

2 sticks butter

12 c. bread crumbs

1 T. salt (or to taste)

pepper to taste

1 T. dried crumbled sage, Thyme or Marjoram to taste

3/4 c. finely minced onion

1 1/2 c. chopped celery

chicken or turkey broth to moisten

You can make your own broth by simmering the giblets covered in water. If you use salt adjust the other salt requirement.

Melt butter in large skillet, cooking onion and celery on medium low heat till tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in some of the bread crumbs. Heat, stirring to prevent browning. Turn into large bowl, mix in remaining ingredients lightly. For a dryer stuffing use little or no broth. For a moist stuffing mix in just enough broth lightly with a fork to moisten the dry crumbs.

Allow to cool and stuff the bird when it's ready to bake. (If some of you grandmas want to throw the giblets in, it's OK, we won't look.)

Serve hot, makes 8-12 servings.

Paula sent her recipe for her family's favorite Cranberry Salad. She says it came from a guy cook. Dave Culler always brought it to potlucks, and it now lives on in her home with every turkey dinner. Maybe it will at ours, too.

Cranberry Jell-O Salad

1 6 oz. pkg. Raspberry Jell-O

1 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce (can use jellied if your family prefers)

1 10 oz. can undrained crushed pineapple

1 12 oz can Canada Dry Ginger Ale.

Stir dry Jell-O and cranberry sauce in pan over medium heat. Stir and heat till nearly boiling and dissolved. It should start to bubble. Remove from stove and stir in the pineapple with juice, then the Ginger Ale. After the fizzing stops pour into serving dish, cover and refrigerate. Serves 8-10

Thank you Nadine and Paula. We appreciate you sharing. I think your salad Paula, would also be great with some of those mouth waterin' fish and game dinners you are famous for!

Parting Shot: One of life's blessings is a loaf of pumpkin bread warm from the oven.