"Freedom From Want", March 6,1943
"Freedom From Want",
March 6,1943

Norman Rockwell
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La Belle Cuisine - More Favorite Recipes

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"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of integrity, and faith."


Michele's Down Home Thanksgiving



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“Ah! On Thanksgiving Day, when from East and from West
From North and from South come pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?"

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

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Wild Turkey
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Fall-Colored Bearberry and Dwarf Cranberries, Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska, USA
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"Thanksgiving Day Blues", November 28,1942
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Norman Rockwell
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"Freedom of Worship", February 27,1943
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Norman Rockwell
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Home To Thanksgiving, 1867
Home to Thanksgiving, 1867
Currier & Ives
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La Belle Cuisine


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into
enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order,
confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a
home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

~ Melody Beattie


Mammy’s Traditional Cranberry-Orange Relish

Since this is the first thing I do toward making preparations for Thanksgiving
and Christmas, I suppose I should begin with this recipe. As far as I know, it
originated with my great-grandmother. It could well have been around genera-
tions before hers. I have adjusted it only slightly over the years.
One of my earliest and very fondest childhood holiday memories is of helping
my grandmother prepare this relish, always in October so that it could "ripen"
in time for Thanksgiving. It's really great on turkey sandwiches! A food
processor will do if you don't happen to have a food grinder.

2 pounds fresh cranberries
4 navel oranges
2 unpeeled apples, washed, cored
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup or more Grand Marnier
(my addition)

Scrub the fruit well. Place it through a food grinder, peel and all. Repeat.
Add sugar and Grand Marnier. Refrigerate in tightly covered jars. Flavor improves with age. Delicious!


Michele's Thanksgiving Turkey

An 18-pound Butterball turkey
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
minced fresh parsley
1 onion stuck with 6 whole cloves
4 carrots, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 leeks, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise,
washed well
Several stalks of celery, with leaves
6 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh parsley
Good pinch of dried thyme ( a sprig
of fresh thyme if you have it)
1 cup dry white wine, mixed
with 1/2 cup water
Bread Dressing (recipe follows)

Basting Liquid: 1 cup chicken/turkey stock, mixed with 1/2 cup
(1 stick) melted butter and 1/2 cup white wine

Large piece of cheesecloth to wrap turkey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Wash the turkey and lightly salt the inside. Stuff both cavities with dressing. Rub the turkey all over with melted butter mixed with minced parsley to taste. Line a large roasting pan with heavy- duty foil. In the pan place onion, carrots, leek, celery, bay leaves, parsley sprigs and thyme. Add the wine-water mixture to pan and place turkey in roaster. Dampen the cheesecloth in the basting liquid and cover the turkey with it - both to enhance its moistness during the baking process and to
avoid overbrowning. Bake the turkey 15 to 20 minutes per pound (at least
5 hours) or until it is done and is a rich even brown.
It is imperative to baste the turkey every 30 minutes with basting liquid
and eventually with drippings from the roaster. Allow the turkey to stand
at least 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
NOTE: GMA Thanksgiving Day 1995: Barbara Kafka roasted a turkey to perfection, during the show, as follows:
Place 12-lb turkey in the oven at 500 degrees F. (yes, 500!!) and roast it, unstuffed, in 1 hour, 20 minutes. It was evenly golden brown, and accord-
ing to Charlie and Joan, very moist and totally delicious. Ms. Kafka says to add an additional 30 minutes total baking time for a stuffed bird, although
she prefers for health's sake (salmonella danger) to roast unstuffed. In case you go for large turkeys (which I do) 2 hours for 15 lbs., 3 hours for 20 lbs.


Michele's Turkey Gravy

When turkey is done and has been removed from the roasting pan, pour off the juices into a 4-cup measuring cup. Allow the juices to stand for a few minutes and the fat will rise to the top. It really helps a lot if you have one
of those special cups to achieve this. I'm not sure what they are called, but they're designed so that when you pour, you wind up pouring the yummy turkey juices out and leaving the fat on top remaining in the cup. Measure
6 tablespoons fat from the top and place it in a saucepan. Then blend in 6 tablespoons flour and allow the roux to bubble for several minutes, stirring to avoid overbrowning. Then add 1/2 cup dry white wine and 3 1/2 to 4 cups turkey pan juices (or a mixture of pan juices and chicken broth.)  Add chopped turkey giblets if desired (I do not) and simmer until the desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. If you'll pardon my saying so, this is nothing short of fabulous gravy!


Michele's Old-Fashioned
Yankee Bread Stuffing

Two 1-pound loaves good French bread
Several pieces leftover cornbread
(okay, so I cheat a little...)
3 onions, chopped
1 large bunch celery, chopped
2 sticks butter
Minced fresh parsley
2 to 3 tablespoons Spice Islands poultry seasoning
4 to 6 cups turkey/chicken stock

On Thanksgiving Eve (while the pies are in the oven!) break the bread
into small pieces, spread it out on baking sheet(s) and dry it out in a
250-degree F. oven.
In a large skillet sauté the onions and celery in the butter. Refrigerate this mixture overnight. When ready to make the dressing, place the bread in a large crock. Add parsley, onion-celery mixture and poultry seasoning. Mix well. Add enough turkey stock and/or chicken broth to moisten mixture to
the desired consistency. Note that the stuffing mixture should not be dry
and crumbly, but it is important to remember that since the dressing will
absorb moisture from the turkey during the baking process, it shouldn't
be too moist or you will wind up with mush.
This recipe makes a very large amount of stuffing - it is a cherished
family tradition! There will be enough to stuff both cavities of a very
large turkey and still have some left over for a casserole. Depending
on exactly how many you are expecting for dinner, you may choose
to freeze the casserole.

Cornbread Dressing Collection!


Southern Squash Dressing

This delicious, quick-and-easy recipe came to me by way of my dear Aunt Jo
who likes to cook (once or twice a year!) as long as it doesn't take all day. Okay,
I know, the gourmet purists among you are going to turn up your noses at the
very thought of using, heaven forbid, canned condensed soup. I understand. So
if you'll feel better about it, then spend some more time in the kitchen and whip
up a béchamel sauce to moisten this dressing. But just try this first - I won't tell
if you won't...  I was really amazed at the raves it got the first time I served it.

2 cups cooked, well-drained yellow squash
2 cups crumbled corn bread
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, including leaves, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup condensed cream of chicken or
cream of mushroom soup
Salt and pepper to taste

Place drained squash and crumbled corn bread in a large bowl. Sauté onion and celery in butter until tender. Add this to the squash mixture along with condensed soup, salt and pepper. Combine well. Spoon the dressing into a lightly greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F. until slightly brown and bubbly, about 40 minutes.


My Favorite Scalloped Corn

1 can (17 ounces) cream-style corn
One 10-ounce package frozen corn
1 cup crushed saltine cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion or scallions
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream-style corn, frozen corn and
cracker crumbs. Lightly sauté the celery and onions in butter until they
are tender. Add mixture to corn mixture along with all of the remaining
ingredients. Stir to combine well. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart round casserole. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 50 - 55 minutes at 350 degrees F.


Broccoli Casserole

I guess this is what you call comfort food. Down home. I started making this casserole when my sons were very young and not too fond of anything that didn't
at least vaguely resemble macaroni and cheese or peanut butter. Vegetables in
any disguise were a challenge, to say the least. In such situations, one does what
one has to do. I found that they absolutely loved this casserole, which is actually
quite similar to a broccoli dip quite popular at the time. Yes, I know, the gourmet
gods are growling again. Mushroom soup and garlic cheese, indeed! No excuses,
I simply continued to cook it over the years because the whole family devoured it. Feel free to go in any direction you want with this. By now our sons have grown
to be adults with very discriminating tastes who probably would prefer steamed
fresh broccoli with herb lemon butter, except perhaps at Thanksgiving...

Sauté 2 chopped onions in 1 stick butter. Add 3 cans cream of mushroom soup and 3 rolls of processed garlic cheese *. Cook over
low heat until the cheese melts. Cook 6 packages of frozen broccoli
according to package directions. Drain well. Layer the broccoli with the
sauce in a large shallow casserole and sprinkle with minced parsley and
paprika. Bake at 350
degrees F. until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Yes,
this is a LOT of broccoli casserole, but I have never had to dispose of
any. It disappears in a hurry. Of course if you are cooking for two,
you may want to cut back a little... Or not.

* Sorry about that! Kraft no longer makes rolls of garlic cheese! Egad! What
were they thinking?!?!? This decision caused a minor revolution in the Deep
South! Thanks to Kraft and Mary at Deep South Dish (and many others via
Google) there is no longer a need for panic!

Garlic Cheese Rolls (substitute for Kraft)

1 1/2 pounds sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 pound Velveeta cheese
3 ounces cream cheese
1 seasoned salt
Garlic powder to taste

Bring cheeses to room temperature and place them in large mixing
bowl. Add salt and garlic powder, then mix all ingredients together
well. Shape into four rolls and wrap well in foil or plastic wrap. 


Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

My grandmother "discovered" this recipe when it was all the rage.
Could that have been in the 50s? I double the recipe for our family
because they like to eat it all weekend with leftovers. Disappears
like magic...

A 29-ounce can sliced freestone peaches
A 1-pound can Mandarin oranges
A 15 1/4-ounce can chunk pineapple
A 1-pound can Royal Anne cherries
(if you can find them!), or substitute
canned or frozen Bing cherries
A 1-pound can pears, sliced
5 ounces flaked coconut
12 ounces sour cream

Drain the fruit well and combine it in a large bowl with the coconut
and sour cream. Mix gently. Refrigerate the salad at least 24 hours to
allow flavors to blend.

If possible, use fruit which has been canned in its own juice. If you have the
time and inclination, naturally this salad would be even better made with as
much fresh fruit as possible. You can vary the combination of fruit according
to your preference. I usually add a good splash of either Grand Marnier or
Amaretto, depending on my mood and what I have on hand.

This was my grandmother's favorite fruit salad at any time of the year. One of
the main reasons I like to serve this salad on Thanksgiving is that it has to be
prepared ahead of time. The less last minute preparation the better, as you will
already be juggling, what with making gravy, baking rolls, preparing mashed
potatoes, finding someone to light the candles and pour the wine at the last
minute. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to have everything ready to be devoured
before the kickoff of the first not-to-be-missed football game on TV!


Mammy's Pumpkin Pie

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
One 16-ounce can pumpkin purée
1 cup milk, scalded (I use evaporated milk)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

My grandmother’s recipe (which I still have on a faded recipe card,
in her handwriting), reads as follows:

Beat eggs. Mix sugar, salt and spices. Add to pumpkin and mix. Add hot
milk very slowly stirring lightly. Pour into pie crust and bake 15 minutes
at 450 degrees and then 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

"Pour into pie crust" means pour into unbaked pie shell - pâte brisée or
pâte sucrée
. It is a good idea to brush over the bottom of the unbaked pie crust with lightly beaten egg white to prevent the crust from becoming
soggy, although at our house it isn't around long enough to get soggy!


Mammy's Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cups cooking oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 cups grated carrots
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

In large mixing bowl combine oil and sugar and beat well. Add eggs, one
at a time, beating well. Sift dry ingredients together and add them to the
creamed mixture. Fold in the carrots and nuts. Bake cake in 3 layers 45
minutes at 325 degrees F. (Can also bake in large Bundt pan 50-60 min.)


Two 1-pound boxes confectioner's sugar
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted, cooled

Mix well. NOTE: This is so rich that I prefer to make only half of the frosting. If baking layers, frost only between layers and on top. If baking
in Bundt pan, I prefer a light glaze.

Variation: Substitute 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar for 1 of the cups
of granulated sugar. Add 1/3 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon grated orange zest. Reduce cinnamon to 1 teaspoon. Add 1 teaspoon ground ginger and
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Also, you may add 1 cup raisins, or substitute
1 cup raisins for the nuts.
Frosting variation:
cream cheese and butter as above; add 6 tablespoons orange juice, 2 teaspoons grated orange zest and 5 cups confectioner's
sugar, sifted.

More Thanksgiving Recipes!

Cranberry Condiments fpr Thanksgiving
Cranberry Sauce with Pears and Cardamom
Mama Lou's Thanksgiving Candied Yams
Mama Lou's Thanksgiving Macaroni and Cheese
Mama Lou's Thanksgiving Scalloped Oysters
Sheila Lukins' Favorite Stuffing
More Stuffing Recipes - Cornbread
New England Sausage, Apple and
Dried Cranberry Stuffing

Sweet Potato Soufflé Satsuma Tea Room
Hoppin' John's Icebox Rolls
Turkey Poulette
Keegan's Favorite Cranberry Bread
Cranberry Gingerbread with Brown
Sugar Whipped Cream

Glazed Cranberry Ginger Pound Cake
(and other cranberry goodies!)

Michele's Banana Nut Cake
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Gigi's Deep-Dish Apple Pie
Gigi's French Apple Pie
Spago's Old-Fashioned Apple Pie
Michele's Cherry Pie

Extra - Favorite Thanksgiving Goodies!

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