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Turkey Talk

As Thanksgiving approaches, residents Phyllis Wigger and Joan Hampton reflect back to share fond Thanksgiving memories and their favorite family recipes.

Favorite Thanksgiving Memories

Phyllis shared: “My mom was a very good cook and watching her cook or helping her was a great cooking lesson. In Home Economics, I was supposed to follow the teacher’s recipe for apple pie. I used my mother’s recipe instead – the teacher said it was very good, but she took away from my grade because I didn’t use the teacher’s recipe. I thought my mother was smarter than my teacher.”

Joan shared: “We’d sit around and tell family stories. And of course, we had to relax after that big meal. We used to have a lot of sides. We’d have sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli casserole and lots of pies. A lot of times we’d make dressing at Thanksgiving and have enough we wouldn’t have to make it at Christmas. Same thing with pie – we’d make extra and freeze them for Christmas.”

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Mother’s Sage Dressing (from Phyllis)

Chop a medium yellow onion and 3-4 stalks of celery in pieces the size of your onion pieces. Saute the onion and celery in a small amount of butter or olive oil until it’s transparent. Add this to 2 cups of chicken broth (you may need to add more). Don’t use sodium-free broth. Stir together. Add salt, pepper and sage. When you cook you can determine how much to add by the smell – if you use ground sage it’s not as strong as the leaf sage. Take 1 ½ loaves of white bread – I like day-old white bread or French bread – and crumble, or tear it up, into pieces and mix it in with your broth.  

Put everything in a shallow baking dish or pan. Bake in the oven at 250 degrees for at least 35-40 minutes. It will bake slow, but it’s better that way. It’s just as good with a roast pork, turkey or chicken. Makes about six servings.

Cranberry Sauce (from Joan)

Take fresh cranberries, wash them, dry them and grind them up in an old-fashioned grinder with two oranges and one apple. Add some sugar and mix it up.

Dressing (from Joan)

Depending on the number of people, we took about 6 loaves of bread, dried it out in the oven and then broke it up. Set it aside. Cut up a whole stalk of celery (plus the leaves) and put it in a pan with three pounds of onions cut up. To cut down on fat, cook it all in water and chicken stock mixed together to give it more flavor. Cook until tender. After that cooks up, put that together with one pound of cooked pork sausage and the bread. Mix it up. You don’t want it soupy. Accommodate the bread/stock ratio as needed. Add spices you typically use with chicken such as sage. Cook it on the side of the pan with the turkey or in the crockpot.

PHOTOS: Top photo shows Ed and Joan Hampton. Phillis Wigger is shown in the smaller photo.

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