The Star Democrat

Frost on the pumpkins; dinner on the table

- BY MARIE SAVAGE

The great smells are rolling out of the kitchen, and the cook wants everyone out of the way so dinner can be on time. Mom used to set the dinner time to be between 2 and 3 p.m. and was not happy with the “sightseers” who came at 1 p.m. to just sit and talk and tell mom how they made “their” recipe differentl­y.

The house soon filled with adults and children while she rolled out roll after roll of dumplings. I can still hear daddy say “Laurie, is it about ready?” and see the look on her face sent him back into the living room.

If the weather was cold, then I would keep the small ones outside in the heated “wash house” playing school. The older boys stayed outside with my brothers in “mischief.” One time I saw puffs of smoke coming from within the barn and I told the younger kids they were practicing having “powwows.” The first words out of their mouths when we went inside to eat was “wow” the big boys played with smoke.

After everyone left in the early evening then the fun really started — clean up inside and outside. This story leads back into the “dish” story — mom used every dish and piece of silverware she owned to put on those special dinners.

God bless you Mom and thanks for those memories! P.S. I kept my vow to have an electric dishwasher.

The first Thanksgivi­ng consisted of wild turkey, venison, waterfowl, corn, white potatoes, yams, cranberrie­s, porridge and many types of other wild berries and corn meal based dishes. Side dishes that accentuate the meat are important. Mashed potatoes, gravy and dumplings are important, but we need a variety of vegetables too.

CORNBREAD DRESSING WITH OYSTERS

You’ll need 2 tablespoon­s unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the dish,1 yellow onion, diced, 3 stalks celery, diced, 5 cloves garlic, minced, 8 cups crumbled cornbread, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 3 1/2 cups chicken stock, 6 large eggs, 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley,1 bunch fresh tarragon, leaves stripped and chopped, 2 cups shucked oysters with their juice. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 by 13inch baking dish.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the onion and celery, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in the crumbled cornbread and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, then remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until smooth. Whisk in the chicken stock, parsley and tarragon. Stir in the cornbread mixture and the oysters. Pour the dressing mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake until the dressing is set and golden brown, about 1 hour. (Alternativ­ely, cover and refrigerat­e overnight before baking.) Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

GREEN BEANS WITH BACON

This is tasty, quick and easy. In a large skillet, cook 4 diced bacon strips with 1/2 cup chopped onion until the bacon is crisp. Meanwhile place 8 cups of fresh green beans, trimmed, in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well and add the bacon mixture. Sprinkle top with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Serve immediatel­y. This recipe is not the

one grandmothe­r or mom made, but it is great too. Give it a try.

SWEET POTATO ‘N’ MARSHMALLO­W

For a small casserole dish size, mix together well with an electric mixer: 1 can sweet potatoes, 1 egg, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and 1/3 stick of margarine. Mix well and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with one bag of large marshmallo­ws and return to the oven just until the marshmallo­ws turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let set for a while before serving.

MEMORIES OF CRANBERRY SAUCE

We always had cranberrie­s at Christmas and

Thanksgivi­ng dinners. Mom used the whole cranberrie­s that you served with a spoon. One time on the Sunday after Thanksgivi­ng Thursday our parents, myself and my three younger brothers were invited to a dinner in a nearby larger town. We were prompted on the way there (or threatened) to be on our best behavior or else — we never tempted that “or else.” This strange looking dish came past with red slices of something on it that quivered when shook, and we all four said “no thanks” and passed it on.

Oh, but no, mom said, oh you all love that and proceeded to plop a piece on our plate. That is when the trouble started — we rolled it, we slapped it and finally mashed it, leaving the prettiest design ever. On the way home we were told that it was canned cranberry sauce. To this very day I have a can of cranberry sauce waiting to be opened, sliced and served on the holiday table.

As I look across my kitchen this morning at my can of sauce — I think of you mom standing in your bib apron, smiling and saying what did you all think was on that plate? The reporter came out of me at an early age so I said, Jimmy said it was liver, Ollie said it was brains, Richard said it was Jello, and I said I would investigat­e!

I’d like to send a very, happy 18th birthday wish to my grandson Mason Williamson!

 ?? METRO GRAPHICS ?? Sides make Thanksgivi­ng meal complete.
METRO GRAPHICS Sides make Thanksgivi­ng meal complete.

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