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Columns November 24, 2015  RSS feed

Cooking Country

Sherry Matney

It’s here! After months of waiting, the first Big Day of Holiday celebration for the 2016 season. Thanksgiving! You know the story. The pilgrims and American Indians shared their bounty during the fall. Many of the Europeans had suffered the long voyage to America to experience religious freedom. To be able to offer thanks was a blessing for them; as it is for us today. Thanksgiving became a legal holiday in 1941 and has remained as such for more than seventy years.

Thanksgiving was my mother’s day for having her family together. Once my siblings and I married we scattered and found it hard to get together for every Christmas but Mama held steadfast that she would have Thanksgiving dinner, no matter what! And so we came and she cooked. We rarely had turkey, actually, never until my brother married a girl from Wisconsin and she couldn’t imagine Thanksgiving without the big bird. But even when Mama gave in to turkey she still made chicken n’ dressing. She and her mother and her mother made it different from most recipes because they boiled their chicken, boiled their eggs and used very little, if any, sage. She de-boned the chicken and mixed it in the dressing and used the broth from the boiled chicken to moisten her dressing. She saved biscuits and cornbread for several days before she had to cook the dressing and only cooked more if needed. I doubt that there was ever a written recipe.

My sister, Trudy, was passed down the responsibility of cooking the dressing and she does an excellent job. I prepare the turkey and for the past few years have brined and smoked it without stuffing. One of us will pick up a spiral ham and simply heat it in the oven. No matter what we have on the table the blessing is in getting together.

The following dressing recipe is not my mother’s, although I’ll bet it is delicious and the favorite of the Robeson family. Cornbread Dressing – Hazel Robeson – Homemade with Love, the Lord’s Pantry Leona 8 cups cornbread 3 cups bread chunks 1 ½ tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning 1 cup chopped green onions 1½ cups chopped celery 4 cups chicken broth 2 eggs 1 to 3 cups milk ½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. black pepper

Crumble cornbread then combine with bread chunks, baking powder, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, celery and onions. Add warm broth and eggs. Mix well. Add milk until mixture is batter-like. Place in a greased roasting pan. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour.

Happy Thanksgiving!! Let someone know that you are thankful for them


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