The very best baking in my home when growing up took place at holiday time. Mom was a good cook and it was great to hang out in the kitchen when all the good food was being prepared.
I was blessed with a wonderful mother and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for her. I never came home from school or from anywhere that she was not there waiting for me. She was always happy to see me and usually had a pot of soup, cranberry scones or something ready to eat. When I was little I remember getting mad at Mom for not getting my way. I said to her “I hate you”. Her answer to me was, “I don’t hate you, I love you”. I remember not saying another word. What could I say to that? Her words have stuck in my heart all these years.
When I was little, I remember walking with Mom to town to pick up our mail at the post office. She was always looking for a letter from one of my brothers in the military. Polio was rampant at the time and Mom was very fearful of one of us getting the disease. She would hold my hand with one of her hands. When we came near a house or people, Mom would cover my face with a clean hanky until we passed.
After I grew up and had my children, I would say to Mom, “how could you stand all of us.” Her answer was always the same; “My children were my blessings from God.” Often I will tell this story about Mom to my friends. One day a lady said “Your mom was a saint”. I do believe that she was very close.
The very best baking in all my years took place in Mom’s kitchen. Having had fifteen children, cooking for a crowd recipes were the norm for Mom. She didn’t need large quantity recipes; she just naturally mixed in large batches. If there were leftovers, they were always eaten; nothing went to waste. Thanksgiving recipes included the biggest turkey anyone could find, a turkey stuffing recipe, always mashed potatoes, giblet gravy recipes, vegetables, salad, cranberry recipes, many pies, breads and whatever any of my brothers and sisters brought in. I can tell you that the food was endless and all was delicious.
No one ever had to tell Mom how to cook a turkey! She had it down and the turkey was the beginning of the very best baking. After the turkey was put in the oven, Mom worked on the rest of the dinner. Loaves of bread had been laying out for days to dry out good. Mom said this is important. Equally important, she would say, stuffing must have lots of good butter and lots of eggs.
In the following recipe, I have tried to make a small version of Mom’s very best baking of a turkey stuffing recipe.
Break bread into small pieces. Soak with milk until all bread is saturated but no excess milk standing in pan. Melt butter in a skillet and add celery and onions. Sauté until tender. Add vegetables to the bread and milk. Add seasonings and blend well. When the turkey is done, dump stuffing into broth from the turkey and return to oven at 350F degrees for an hour or until stuffing appears set and done.
Mom preferred to do her very best baking by herself. We would pitch in with the salads or other side dishes, but we had to keep hands off the main dishes like the turkey and stuffing! Those belonged to her!
You would think that all of us would have gotten on her nerves hanging out in the kitchen while she was doing her very best baking. Quite the opposite, she always enjoyed her children around her and she really liked it at Holiday time. This is why she was the best Mom ever and will never be forgotten.
You probably remember me writing about our friend, Jim. We met him in Ecuador, but he also lives in Florida. Often he stops by on his way to and from his home here, or sometimes he just comes to help us out with farm work. Anyway Jim and his mother are sharing with us two holiday recipes for delicious cranberry dishes.
(Cooking for a crowd recipes)
Mix gelatin with 3 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve. Grind cranberries, oranges and apples together. Add celery, nuts and sugar; mix well. Stir ground mixture into cooled gelatin. Refrigerate until set before serving.
Add 3 cups of boiling water to gelatin. Mix well to dissolve and put in a 9x13 inch dish or pan. Set in refrigerator until just slightly thickened. Add sour cream and cranberry sauce and blend in completely. Refrigerate until it sets completely.
I thank Jim and his mom for sharing these holiday recipes with us. I hope you all enjoy making and eating them!To all of you, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and do your very best baking ever.
I am adding this recipe to Mom’s page, not because she made it but because I started making it as a preteen long before I ever heard of anyone else making it. Mom was always in the kitchen when I was mixing it up. I never had the French fried onions that everyone uses today but instead I always fried thinly sliced onion in the skillet. I would mix some in the casserole and put some on top.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Combine green beans, soup, cream and ½ cup of French fried onions.
Dump mixture into a greased casserole dish; top with 1 cup French fried onion rings.
Bake about 35 minutes.