By Rhonda Woods
Cooler weather is moving in and Thanksgiving is a few days away. Our family celebrates this gathering a little differently than most do. Thanksgiving is generally held a week earlier, at my home or my sister’s. Somewhere to host the crowd. Most of the family travel to their extended families on Turkey Day or spend the long weekend camping. This year, we celebrated even earlier, on Sunday, November 4 for both Thanksgiving and to honor my mama’s birthday. All the counter tops in my kitchen were full of traditional and favorite dishes brought by the “designated” family members. The birthday girl had requested a 6-Layer Coconut Raspberry Cake, which was topped by a large number of candles! The Happy Birthday song was sung by close to thirty relatives and three of her great-granddaughters sitting on “Granny’s” lap anxiously awaiting the end of the song. This is followed by the children plucking the candles from the cake to suck the frosting off the bottom of each one! What a sight! As I looked around the room, I could not help but be amazed at the growth of our family. I joke and say, I was the one that started the whole mess, as the firstborn. Mama is pictured here with my children who are the parents of her five great grandchildren. As her health deteriorates, it was important to celebrate her birthday with many of her favorite foods, laughter and lots of love.
The memories of my sweet husband and other family members who were not there with us brought back the “rain”. The sting of reality. For a brief time, all was good as I buzzed around doing what I do best, cooking in my kitchen, my comfort zone. Dressing, Herb Turkey Breasts, Southern Seasoned Butter Beans Pistachio Salad, Butterscotch Haystacks, Sweet Tea, Cranberry Sauce and the birthday cake were my contributions to the feast.
So, I am adding my often-requested Dressing, also called Stuffing, recipe which was adapted from my mother-in-law’s recipe (pictured with my husband). I am also adding some casserole favorites that I hope you will enjoy on your Thanksgiving table… or counter tops, as is tradition in our family. Some people ask what is the difference between Dressing and Stuffing. Well, Dressing is baked in a pan and Stuffing is cooked inside the turkey as it bakes. I could just hear my sweet husband asking about leftovers as we would get ready to “make a plate” to reheat for supper.
May God bless you and your family as He has blessed ours,