Growing up in Michigan we always had Thanksgiving at our house. My Grandmother lived with us so all of the aunts, uncles and cousins came to us. It was fascinating to me as a small child. There was a festive air in the house from the moment I awakened in the morning. Mom and Grandma already had apple and pumpkin pies cooling on the cupboard and Mom was busy cleaning the biggest turkey that Dad could find. She was fastidious with that turkey. She washed it in her sink and plucked pin feathers and pulled innards from the cavity until the bird was pristine. It was then placed in the largest roasting pan I had ever seen, seasoned and put into the oven to gently cook for hours filling the house with that now familiar aroma that we all love. Oh the anticipation!
My Mother was in charge of the mashed potatoes, dressing and jello salads. All of the other side dishes were brought by the aunts. Aunt Ruth made the best homemade baked beans using dried Great Northern beans that were cooked long and slow seasoned with bacon, tomato sauce and brown sugar. Aunt Nita made a green bean casserole which was all right (She wasn’t much of a cook) and Aunt Pat made one of my favorites from that time, pineapple upside down cake. That was a special treat in my mind. I still remember them arriving with their families in tow carrying the covered dishes that were placed on the dining room table.
Everyone loved my Mother’s dressing. There really wasn’t anything special about it if you look at the simple ingredients, but she had a way of making everything taste good. I have watched her make it many times. One Thanksgiving about ten years ago she slipped and fell while cleaning the refrigerator in preparation for the big day. She broke her collarbone and her arm was in a sling. I ended up cooking the whole meal with her standing beside me giving me helpful directions so that everything would be just the way she wanted it. We laughed as I said “Yes Mom” over and over. That meal was not about me. It was about keeping a tradition alive. It was good to cook with her in this way because I learned her recipes and now I can pass them down to her grandchildren who loved her and loved her cooking just as much as I did.
MOM’S THANKSGIVING DRESSING
1 1/2 Loaves of good quality white bread (I use Arnold’s Dutch Country Premium white)
1 stick of melted butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 can of chicken broth ( You may need more to moisten)
3 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place 8 to 10 slices of bread on a sheet pan and toast them in the oven until dried out and slightly brown turning once. Repeat with remainder of bread. Break bread into bit size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile in a medium saute pan melt butter and saute onions and celery until soft. Add the onion mixture to the bread cubes. Season with poultry seasoning and salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth and mix in. If the bread is not moist enough add more. Finally add the beaten eggs and mix.
Reset oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a casserole dish that is big enough to hold the dressing. Mom used a round casserole that resembled a mixing bowl. You could use a 9×12 casserole but something deeper is better . I halved the recipe for this post and used a small rectangular casserole but felt that it should have been deeper. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and baste the top with turkey drippings and return to oven uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
By the way there is still time to sign up for the Kitchen Reveal. If you would like us to have a peek at your kitchen, leave a comment in my previous post and post a picture of your kitchen on Wednesday November 18th. Even if you just show us your stove or work area that is fine.