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Too Many Cooks

Thanksgiving recipe: Mixing past with present

For many of us, each holiday season is a time to count our blessings.

I am blessed to I have a husband and two kids who let me cook for them. I am also blessed that my mom is a great cook to whom I owe many of my pantry skills.

Thanksgiving in our house when I was growing up always included the usual suspects: turkey, stuffing, gravy, spuds, cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. These items were canonical in the meal.

The turkey, roasted in a stand-alone roaster, always came out juicy and perfectly cooked.

My mom's gravy was and still is top-notch. In our extended family, it is the gravy by which all other gravys should be judged. I have never been able to duplicate it, even though I have watched her make it more times than I can count.

I have copious notes from her about how to make stuffing. Over-toasting the bread isn't a bad thing. Check your seasonings. Too much sage, bad.

Not enough salt, bad. Bake it long enough to let it get nice and crusty on the outside.

My evolution as a cook includes carrying forward the tried and true bits of wisdom from my mom, straying from tradition by trying variations of recipes and dishes that sound delicious in their own way.

This year that means:



  • A variation on dressing made with mild chicken italian sausage. This, my mom would never do.


  • Adding ginger to the homemade cranberry sauce. I always like the bit of zing that ginger gives to any dish, so this recipe is a no-brainer.


  • I wanted to bring some heat to an often cloyingly sweet side dish: chipotle mashed sweet potatos with maple syrup. This was inspired by a TV spot I saw for a chipotle sweet potato souffle. I am still too intimidated by the word "souffle," but the flavor profile sounds worth a try.


  • Lastly, I am changing the pumpkin pie recipe, not because I don't appreciate the one from the back of the can, but because the lactose-intolerant teen in the house *loves* pumpkin pie almost as much as I do, and she has always had to exercise great caution when eating it. I am hoping to keep the flavor and texture close to the same, but minus the lactose-laden evaporated milk.

    Ultimately the meal that hits our table will be a nod to my past mixed with recipes that may someday be a Thanksgiving staple for my own kids.



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    Gina Boysun
    Gina Boysun joined The Spokesman-Review as a copy desk intern in 1993. She is currently Assistant Managing Editor for Digital.

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