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— Editor’s Note: Although Thanksgiving has come and gone and this column by Marie Putman appeared in the Rogers Hometown News at that time, the subject of food is always appropriate, so we’re reprinting it. Marie has joined the News Herald columnists and you can look for her Christmas column in next week’s News Herald.

Thanksgiving has been a major holiday in my home since before I can remember. Mom always started cooking a few days before the big event. I remember I got to peel and slice apples for the pies - I never got to make pie crusts. Mom and my sisters got to roll out the dough.

We would go to the well house to decide which vegetables to cook and bring in jars of peas and greenbeans and corn which we had canned during the summer. Leftover bread and cornbread was broken up for dressing, which my mother always stuffed into a big turkey early Thanksgiving morning, before plopping it into the oven of our fancy kitchen wood stove. Later I again peeled, this time it was potatoes, and we all got to beat them when they were cooked so they would be light and fluffy. Ummm! Mashed potatoes and gravy!

I still do most things the way my mother did, though we always buy a smoked turkey - they are the best; we just have to heat it. After I take it from the oven and it has a chance to cool down a bit myhusband carves it. He’s the champion turkey carver. If a prize were offered for this accomplishment, he would win hands down. He has his own way of cutting upthe bird and he’s the best.

I cheat on my dressing and buy packages of herbspiced mix and then add dried bread and cornbread, which I’ve been saving for months in my freezer. Unlike my mother I cook the dressing in a separate pan. My dressing is a combination of Mom’s and Jerry’s Aunt Sybil’s. She taught me to mix in a couple of eggs and a bit of milk with a touch of baking soda to make it fluffy. I usually cut up onions and celery to add to the mixture. Beans are still a staple, but I usually make them into a casserole. My pies are pecan rather than apple.

Through the years my granddaughter would come up and help. She loved tearing up bread and cornbread. I even let her roll out the dough. That was her favorite thing to do. I never made her peel anything.

Just as my recipes were handed down from Mom, my daughter wants to know how I cook things. I told her she would have to watch, as nothing is written down. I showed her how to heat the broth for gravy, then add flour and water for thickness. When the gravy is done, I add diced boiled eggs, just like Mom did. Since we started going to my daughter’s in-laws’ potluck Thanksgiving meal, we still cook the turkey and take it but I leave a dish of dressing at home so we will have leftovers.

I don’t recall a lot of talking about being thankful when I was a kid, but a tiny sister always sang her turkey song: “Gobble, Gobble, who is that? Turkey gobble, big and fat.”

Thanksgiving doesn’t change much and in our house the dinner at 12 noon hasn’t changed much either.

Opinion, Pages 4 on 12/16/2009

Print Headline: Mom’s Home Cooking Sets The Standard

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