When it came to holiday cooking, I’ve always been a little spoiled. Not as in the “brat” kind of spoiled, but the well-loved kind of spoiled. My mother was a great cook and a great baker — and holidays were her specialties. It was unusual for Mom to let us help in any way. Occasionally I’d get to make a dish or two, or maybe a dessert, but she always did the vast majority of the cooking. In fact, I think she did ALL of the cooking the last few years.
So here we are… with the holidays barreling down upon us… and we the cooking is all on us. All. Of. It.
My sister-in-law has graciously agreed to cook the turkey (thank you, Sandy!), and we have split up the usual dishes for Thanksgiving. I’ve made most of them over the years, with the exception of one: the stuffing. This one is tough; everyone loves the stuffing that they grew up eating, and our family is no exception. What would Thanksgiving be without my mother’s stuffing?
Gratefully, about 8-10 years ago, we made a cookbook of all my mom’s best recipes. I was sure that we had NOT included the stuffing recipe in her book, but I was mistaken. As I leafed through the pages of the book, I was relieved to find the ingredients all listed on the bottom of one of the pages. (Creating this book was one of the very best ideas I have ever had… There are a number of copies circulating, and we are all so appreciative to have these recipes documented. I highly recommend that you all do the same with your favorite family recipes! I used Shutterfly to make Mom’s book, but any form of documentation will do.)
I had the list of ingredients, but no actual instructions. Apparently you just whip it up and know what do to with it! I read through a bunch of different recipes on the internet to get a sense for how to make it, and I set to work. I halved the ingredients for the trial run, in case it came out poorly. I had watched my mother make it 100 times… boiling the celery and onions, mixing it all together with her hands…so I did my best to channel her through the process. I could feel her looking over my shoulder, helping me determine if it was moist enough. We had done that so many times with cookies… too wet, too dry, too sticky? I could just feel her there, and it brought a tear to my eye.
So I did sort of whip it all together and then popped it in the oven. The moment of reckoning came 45 minutes later when I took it out of the oven. Success! It was great, and we ate almost the whole pan with dinner. The only thing I would do differently is maybe use cow’s milk… I used almond milk and I could taste the difference. It’s not vegan, but I’m willing to make an exception one day out of the year — for a memory.
IMDb: The Right Stuff (1983)