Thanksgiving Dinner Favorites

Happy Thanksgiving! I particularly love this time of year in our lovely spot on the globe, as it is autumn and the air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and there is a coziness that comes upon me – a time for candles, apple cider, puzzles, and fuzzy socks! Our American holiday of Thanksgiving, always on the 4th Thursday of November, is a whole day designed for returning thanks for the abundance we have experienced throughout the year, counting our blessings, and being mindful of the goodness of God in our lives. As every culture on earth is rich in tradition and meaning, we too have certain things that make this day special. It just wouldn’t be the same without them! 

I grew up on a farm where we raised corn. Lots of corn! Our family calendar and schedule were directed by the demands of producing a crop, each season with its own tasks, activities, smells, flavors, and feelings! And November often was a time of harvest, depending of course on the unpredictability of Colorado weather! Some years the snow was falling and making it impossible to finish bringing in the crops, and some years it was dry enough to get it all in before the winter storms hit. Either way…November has a celebratory feel of a year’s work coming to fruition! So when Thanksgiving came around, we were full of gratitude for a year’s worth of work ending in a beautiful harvest! 

Our family feast table held many of the traditional foods seen in magazines or in photos – turkey, stuffing (we called it dressing), mashed potatoes and gravy, candied sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. But we also had some traditions, carrying on to this day, that must make an appearance on the heavily laden table…or else it’s just not Thanksgiving! One of these items is, you guessed it, corn!!! After all, it was because of this yummy vegetable that we could have a feast – it was our livelihood! So when I heard about green bean casserole being a requirement on some Thanksgiving tables, I couldn’t relate! We’d never had that, as my mom had replaced that delicacy with a bowl brimming with buttery corn that we had all labored on Corn Day back in July or August to “put up” for the winter. What? You don’t know what Corn Day is???? Well, maybe I will let you in on that particular yearly adventure in another blog entry…just suffice it to say it is a long, hot, hard day of work for everyone in the family, and we got to eat the fruit of our labors all year long! 

My family thinks it would be a disaster if this next dish did not appear on the table. In fact, I got in big trouble last year, because, well, I was tired and feeling a little weary of it all, and decided to quietly let this item slip off my menu list …it takes a lot of time and effort to make…it’s so delicious that I have to make a double recipe…which means double the work…you get the picture. I have heard no end of it, so I will be getting out all the bowls and supplies to make it this year…and it really is so delicious, it will be worth hearing all the sighs of contentment and pleasure! We call it Graham Cracker Fluff, but I have heard it called Fairy Pudding. Oh my goodness!! With it’s light, airy, fluffy goodness, one bite is enough to make you believe it truly is what a fairy would feast on! 

And last, but certainly not least, I always make a walnut pie instead of a pecan pie. Surprising? Yes, but oh so tasty! I make it the same way I do a pecan pie, using chopped walnuts instead. The taste is a bit richer, if that’s possible, and a little…uh…something indescribable. Why don’t you try it this year … and see what I mean?! 

Friends, whether you make everything from scratch, or enjoy someone else’s cooking this Thanksgiving, remember to treasure the moments you spend with the people you love and return thanks to the One who gives to us with great abundance. May your feast be blessed with delicious flavors, delightful conversations filled with love and laughter, and heartfelt gratitude! 

GRAHAM CRACKER FLUFF (aka Fairy Pudding)

2 egg yolks                                                               2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

½ C sugar                                                                 1 C whipped cream

¾ C milk                                                                    3 TBSP melted butter

1 pkg unflavored gelatin                                    3 TBSP sugar

½ C cold water                                                       12 graham crackers

1 tsp. Vanilla

Beat egg yolks, add sugar and milk. Cook in a double boiler (or microwave) until slightly thickened. Soak gelatin in cold water. Pour hot mixture over softened gelatin and stir until smooth. Chill until slightly thickened. Add stiffly beaten egg whites, vanilla, and whipped cream to the chilled mixture, fold gently. Place graham crackers in a plastic bag, use a rolling pin to crush into crumbs. Combine melted butter, cracker crumbs, and sugar, mix until crumbly. Spread ½ the crumbs in the bottom of a flat serving dish, add pudding mixture, sprinkle remaining crumbs on top. Chill in refrigerator until set. Makes 6-8 servings. 

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