Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Remembering Granny's Thankgiving Dressing & My Green Bean Bundles - Unbundled!

Next week will be Thanksgiving here in the US and nothing makes me happier than remembering eating my Granny Louise Wilson Young's dressing.  Here in the south, dressing can mean any number of things...but at our house our traditional dressing is made with yellow cornmeal and lots of great seasonings like sage and the addition of an oyster or two and served beside your turkey.  To me the true test of good dressing is when it can be eaten cold...yes I said cold out of the refrigerator.  This next week on the day before Thanksgiving I will be helping my mom preserve this tradition and assist her in making our 'dressing'.  My Granny has now been gone for several years, but she was and will always be one of the best cooks I have ever known and the reason I believe my mom and I enjoy cooking so much!  She could turn anything she had into something spectacular.  She was a creative cook that I think came from cooking for five children each night in the 40's - 70's.  My mom said she used to stack 10 yam pies on top of themselves at our Yamboree festival and holidays so that everyone had plenty of pie to eat!  To this day I will never make my dressing as good as hers  or my moms, or even my cornbread for that matter...but if I had a final meal...Granny's dressing would be it! 

While I won't post her recipe...it's pretty sacred to me...I will however give you a look into what we serve in my family for a traditional Young/Goudarzi/Nolan family Thanksgiving dinner. 

It has and will always start with fresh made pimento cheese placed inside celery sticks.  It has always been a right of passage to stuff the celery and once you turned ten that was your job!  Next, you have to nibble on the sweet pickles, green and black olives, and my artichoke spread.  My brother says I always have to have appetizers...I think it is a necessity!  As the turkey is sliced and the dressing is cooking, you prepare my mom's asparagus casserole with Parmesan cheese that is completely fantastic.   Occasionally we'll make either my green bean bundles 'dump' recipe enclosed below...or we'll do fresh green beans with bacon and water chestnuts in memory of my Uncle Jimmy.  My sister-in-law makes the best homemade macaroni and cheese as my nephew attest.  My girls, especially Ilissa insist on candied sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, while my Bethany will make us a sweet or two like brownies or cookies for the kids.  The turkey recently is fried in a large pot, my husbands newest contribution to our meal...and my nephew recently shot a turkey he says has the main dish taken care of!  The meal however is not complete until we have whipped topping on pecan pie, a recipe from my Granny that is a tradition not only in our house, but across the south.  Plenty of sweet iced tea is always on hand. 

This year we will spend time between my two families, that of my husband and that of my own.  Next year we will be in College Station tailgating before the game of the Aggies vs. Texas.  However this year we will be at home in North East Texas watching the Aggies beat Texas!  The large meal will take it's toll and then we will all sleep soundly! 

However you spend your Thanksgiving, whether it is small or big, I hope you remember to give thanks for what you have, and remember those members of your family who you once shared it with.  I will remember my Granny, who instilled in me how important your family really is and that cooking for them is the ultimate way to show them you care.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!


Click here for the recipe for Unbundled Green Beans!  This link not only has the recipe, but an easy recipe file tool as well to copy in recipe format or email this recipe.

This is a favorite of my girls each year and of mine to cook. The original version calls for wrapping the green beans in bacon and putting butter, garlic salt and brown sugar mixture on top of it.  It's impressive to serve...but I find, that what is easiest always wins over in my kitchen!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Get cooking these green beans!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen