My earliest memories of Thanksgiving involve my dad, Handel’s Messiah, and beaten and
battered copies of the Betty Crocker Cookbook and Good Housekeeping Cookbook. When I was very young, my dad was a surgical resident, and we lived in the suburbs of Washington, DC. It was not uncommon for daddy to leave the house before we woke up, and not get home until after we had gone to bed. Today with my own two kids, I now totally understand why my mom was such a stickler for bed time. She was largely raising my brother and I on her own, as my dad was completing his neurosurgery residency. I write this looking for pity, but simply as just a statement of fact. When I was little daddy worked long hours, and those hours continued after residency and into private practice. But Thanksgiving was always his holiday. His own parents had divorced when he was a small child, and he started cooking Thanksgiving for his mother and brother when he just out of elementary school. Every year we got out the cookbooks and made Pilgrim Pumpkin Pie, homemade cranberry sauce, bread stuffing, and giblet gravy.
Today I laughingly refer to daddy as my sous chef, and he still typically does the turkeys, one in the oven and one smoked on the grill. Over the years, many of our classic recipes have stayed the same, and some I have tweaked, merging my professional knowledge with our family’s favorites. As we have added family to the mix, new recipes have been added to the menu, including Kentucky Corn Pudding and my version of my mother-in-law’s Sweet Potato Soufflé.
Monday we will kick off 10 Days of Thanksgiving with Kentucky Corn Pudding, a new classic for our family, and a great additional to anyone’s Thanksgiving table.