Elizabeth O’Neal’s blog party theme this month is, not surprisingly, sharing our favorite holiday traditions. In my family, “the holidays” used to mean Thanksgiving Day and the ensuing kickoff to the Christmas season when we saw Santa Claus make his appearance in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
Just an opinion here, but as much as I love this time of year, I wish we still didn’t see signs of Christmas until then. The first of the holiday-themed items were displayed and on sale before we departed on 30 September for our cruises. It definitely doesn’t seem right to be bombarded with that before Halloween and it doesn’t even feel right to be further bombarded between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Okay, I’m off my soapbox now and back to the Blog Party theme.
When I first read this month’s theme, I was more focused on Thanksgiving and realized that, although Thanksgiving was a happy time with family getting together, I have few memories of individual Thanksgiving Days as I grew up. I think part of the reason for this is that few photos were ever taken on that holiday as opposed to Christmas Day.
I do remember my dad always tuning in to the Macy’s Day Parade and the wonderful smells of the food cooking and making me very hungry.
I have only one recipe that has been handed down through my family. My dad’s mother was an excellent cook, but cooked by memory, never writing down any of her recipes, which are now lost to time.
My mom’s mother had a recipe box, which I remember seeing growing up, but which is now probably also lost to time. However, my mother always loved my grandmother’s recipe for holiday stuffing and it is a recipe I, too, love with one small change, which I’ll mention.
Best Ever Turkey Stuffing
1 loaf bread, thin sliced, stale and toasted
1 tablespoon Bell’s poultry seasoning
1 potato, boiled
1/2 lb. butter or margarine
1 medium onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
NOTES: First, we always use plain old white Wonder Bread, but any bread can be substituted. I take the bread out of the package and leave the slices on my kitchen counter in the open air to go stale over night and then toast the next day. Second, Bell’s seasoning was available in supermarkets on the East Coast. I’ve never seen it in a market in the West, but I buy it online. A one-ounce box can be purchased for $2.90. Last, the change I make to the recipe is removing the actual onion and using a tablespoon of onion powder. I dislike chunks of onion in my food. My mother minced the onion into such tiny pieces that it wasn’t noticeable in the stuffing, but I don’t have the patience for that so I cheat and use onion powder. The stuffing tastes the same to me!
- Grate bread into crumbs, using a large bowl.
- Use a masher and pour just enough hot water over the crumbs to moisten them. Don’t add so much water that the crumbs lump together.
- Mash the potato and add it to the crumbs.
- Beat the eggs together in a small bowl and add to the mixture.
- Add the minced/chopped onion or the onion powder and the Bell’s seasoning.
- Add the margarine or butter, softened but not melted.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mix well and stuff the turkey.
If you are looking for a healthier version of stuffing, I have also baked the stuffing separately (covered with aluminum foil) for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. This version works, but isn’t as moist or flavorful as the unhealthy, but delicious stuffed version!