Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What A Pan of Cornbread Dressing Really Means

This was the first ever Thanksgiving meal I prepared on our own after George and I got married and were living in Buffalo.  This was the late 90's.   George came home and helped at some point probably on Thanksgiving day as he was working round the clock in residency.  We enjoyed this meal at our home with several of his fellow residents (all bachelors might I add), and they didn't offer to help clean the dishes.  Not that it stuck in my craw at all...

Well, I had no idea how to cook the big dishes of that meal.   I called home several times and my dad talked me through how to do so.  I did not connect with my dad on a multitude of levels but this time I needed help and he was the man for the job.  This included "the dressing."  My dad's dressing was one that he had perfected over many years from what he remembered his grandmother had made.

On this first holiday without him, I went back and forth about whether to cook the dressing.  I haven't made it myself in years and it's an ordeal, containing cornbread, rice and turkey meat. And this year,  I was cooking everything else for the entire meal as well, which is quite the undertaking and sometimes simpler is better.

But it won't seem like the holiday without having it.  So...

Yesterday, I pulled out the sixteen year old piece of paper I had written down the instructions on all those years ago and began the process.  Two trips to the supermarket later and twisting of my children's arms to help with some other sides and voila.  I also broke the rules and used chicken we already had frozen in broth which was a fantastic time saver for me.

Here is the dressing, ready to be put in a dish and baked - except for the green onion that I still need to add.  I will admit that I ate a small bowl just to see if it tasted right. {smile}


This year, I'm sad that my dad is not here but I feel his presence around this dressing.  I feel connected. I felt it cutting and chopping and the blending of all of the ingredients. It brings a warm feeling even with all of the effort.  My children will tell you I don't always cook mostly because when I try something new the kids don't eat it.  Aarrggghh.

The jury is out to see if the girls will ever like it as much as I do.  Sometimes it takes time for appreciation to kick in. And then there is George who grew up in the North with the bird stuffed and different food traditions and he wants to make his own stuffing with sausage in it.  The poor man has had to eat our Southern cuisine for all these years. {grin}

Leftovers, anyone?  We will have them. And I look forward to making some turkey and sausage gumbo after as well.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  May the tradition that warms your heart be yours on this special day.

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