Welcome each day with the spirit of Thanksgiving

features@beaufortgazette.comNovember 19, 2013 

20111110 2 Turkey ham

While turkey is the traditional main dish in a Thanksgiving meal, many families celebrate with a ham.

MCADAM — McClatchy-Tribune News Service

  • A Prayer of Thanksgiving

    For each new morning with its light

    For rest and shelter of the night

    For health and food

    For love and friends

    For everything thy goodness sends

    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am a morning person. My day begins before the crack of dawn, when I sit and read and gather my thoughts. Many call this a time of meditation, a communion with God. I call it a time of gratitude. In fact, when I open my eyes to the day, my first words are always: "O God, I thank you. I feel whatever comes my way, he is there to lead me and guide me."

Some mornings in the Lowcountry are a bit chilly. On those days, I look out the window and watch the cats as they sun themselves by the shrubbery. They always seem to know exactly where the strongest rays of the morning sun will be. I join them outside and feed them by the bank, where I again gather my thoughts as I gaze into the morning sun. The Gullah people call this "day clean," which is the reminder that today is a new day.

I have been doing a lot of Thanksgiving planning for the past week. I have a list of people to whom Thanksgiving cards are being sent, some family and some just like family. I send cards to those who are unable to travel and eat with us on Thanksgiving Day. The love abounds.

The spirit of Thanksgiving warms the heart. I have thought a lot about what I'll serve next week. Most tables will have turkey on them. My Thanksgiving menu keeps ham in mind.

Baked Virginia or Smithfield Ham

1 Virginia or Smithfield ham, 10 to 14 pounds

50 whole cloves

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Bourbon for basting

Place ham in large pot or roasting pan, cover with water, and soak 12 to 24 hours, changing water frequently to remove excess salt. Drain ham and scrape off mold. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place ham in roasting pan, add 10 cups water, and cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes per pound. Remove ham from oven, leaving oven on. Remove skin, score ham and stud with cloves. Place brown sugar, honey and mustard in small bowl, and stir to combine. Spread over ham. Drain pan and place ham on rack in roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes. For added flavor, baste ham with bourbon during final baking. Slice ham paper thin and serve hot or cold.

Source: "A Little Southern Cookbook," by Barbara Bloch (1991)

Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

6 medium sweet potatoes, boiled

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

salt to taste

4 to 6 tablespoons bourbon

finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 2-quart casserole. Peel and mash potatoes. Place in bowl and stir in butter, brown sugar and seasonings. Beat in bourbon and spoon into prepared casserole dish. Scatter chopped nuts on top and bake about 30 minutes.

Source: "A Little Southern Cookbook," by Barbara Bloch (1991)

Perfection Salad

Makes: 12 servings

2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon curry powder

Dash cayenne pepper

2 onions, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1 1/4 cups finely chopped celery

1/2 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup sliced radishes

Mayonnaise

Sprinkle gelatin in cold water; add boiling water, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Add sugar, vinegar, salt, curry and pepper; chill mixture until slightly thickened. Stir vegetables into thickened gelatin mixture; pour into an 8-cup mold and chill until firm. Serve with mayonnaise.

Source: "Southern Living, The Dinner and Supper Cookbook" (1977)

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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