Thanksgiving Dinner Memories

Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner and I have been reminiscing about the Thanksgiving dinners we used to have with my parents. Since my parents are no longer with us those memories are very special.

Our family enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving Day. When we arrived at my parents’ home the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was on the TV and we could smell the turkey roasting in the oven. Something special was cooking on every burner on the stove.

The parade ended, a football game began, and we sat down to dinner.

Thanksgiving 2009

My mom was a very good cook and she made everything you would expect for a Thanksgiving dinner—roast turkey, stuffing (we call it dressing), mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato souffle, corn, cranberry salad (homemade), rolls, and pumpkin pie. She made everything from scratch.

Every single dish was delicious and we all ate too much. After dinner we all were ready for a nap. What is it about being sleepy after eating a turkey dinner?

I know which dish I think was the star of the meal and I asked Joe what dish was his favorite. We both agreed it was the dressing. My mom made the best dressing ever. Here is her dressing recipe:

Thanksgiving Dressing:

2 T butter
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 loaf of bread
½ t. poultry seasoning
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
2 cups of broth
1 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
Turkey giblets

Separate and let bread slices dry out overnight. Tear in pieces and put into large bowl. Sauté celery and onion and seasonings in butter. Add to bread pieces. Add broth, milk, beaten eggs and giblets to the mixture. Stir until mixed well. The mixture will be very moist, almost runny. Pour into greased large casserole and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. I usually bake covered with foil for 45 minutes and uncovered for the last 15 minutes.

Giblets are optional, depending on how much your family likes them. I sometimes add cooked turkey or chicken pieces if I am just making dressing. Or, you don’t have to add meat at all.

We like plenty of poultry seasoning in our dressing, too.   

My mom said her recipe was very similar to the Schumm church ladies’ dressing recipe. And she always stressed that the dressing mixture should be runny when you pour it into the casserole. You don’t want dry dressing.

I once made this recipe in a slow cooker, which worked fine for that carry-in dinner. I just had to make sure it stayed plenty moist because it tended to dry out in the slow cooker. It was good but it did not get the nice brown top crust you get when baked in the oven.

Since my mom passed away in 2016 Joe and I have eaten an untraditional Thanksgiving dinner each year. Our son and his family usually go to his in-laws on Thanksgiving Day. They come back to Celina for the Bennett get-together, a carry-in dinner for a couple dozen family members, not on Thanksgiving Day. That leaves Joe and I on our own on Thanksgiving Day. What restaurant is open on a holiday? Chinese buffet. That’s right. We have been eating Chinese on Thanksgiving Day. It works for us and I don’t have to cook!   

But this year all Thanksgiving plans are messed up. The grandkids have colds, so we will get together closer to Christmas.

The turkey is in the freezer and the dressing recipe is close at hand.  

So this year, because of the virus, our Thanksgiving Day dinner will probably be Chinese carryout.


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    • Ken Schaefer on November 20, 2020 at 7:02 am
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    Wonderful picture ! And thank you so much for the recipe.

    1. You are welcome!

    • Virginia Britten on November 20, 2020 at 9:46 am
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    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, wherever they are. Next year we will be able to celebrate together, we pray!

    1. Thank you and I also hope next year is a better year all around. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, too!

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