American Book Award-winning novelist Robb Forman Dew first began collecting her Thanksgiving recipes at the request of a cousin who hadn't cooked before. In her 1992 book, "A Southern Thanksgiving," she gathers these step-by-step recipes to create a lovely Thanksgiving cookbook. It's practical and literary, with a delectable menu for an easy-to-prepare, sumptuous Southern feast.
When Dew received a call from her cousin Jane, who was 12 years younger and who had never dealt with a large, raw turkey and the other foods that make up a feast for the holiday, Dew's task of gathering recipes began.
Her menu is manageable for new cooks, working couples with little time and anyone who enjoys good food and also wants to preserve the ritual of Thanksgiving.
With thoughts of her childhood and the Thanksgivings spent with family, a menu for 12 was developed: cocktails; blanched and other vegetables vinaigrette; roast turkey; Thanksgiving Gravy; Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples; cranberry jelly and whole cranberry sauce; buttered long-gain white rice; Yams Mousseline; Broccoli Mornay; braised red cabbage and chestnuts; green salad vinaigrette; Lalie's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Gingersnap crust.
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The advantage of this menu is that for weekends in advance you can begin to prepare one dish and place it in the freezer until the week of Thanksgiving. The gravy, the dressing and the yam casserole will have been made and frozen weeks before, thereby requiring time to thaw and heat them. Having a system allows less trauma on Thanksgiving.
The recipes are given in exhaustive detail because Dew thought of cooks who needed step-by-step direction. She understood that knowing the details will cause fewer mistakes. Some of the recipes are labor-intensive, but they aren't tricky. You can't really mess them up. You also must factor in time and energy to clean up.
As I mentioned, her recipes are often lengthy. To get Dew's recipe for Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples, go to islandpacket.com.
Port Royal resident Ervena Faulkner is a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at email@example.com.