Hands down it's turkey and sweet potato pie for me!
It's sort of like Mennonite Girl meets Southern boy--all in one meal!
I love this pic, my Dad is the boy beside my grandpa.
When I got married, I knew how to cook a ham and how to cut up a chicken, but I had no clue how to roast a turkey. Growing up, Thanksgiving was a holiday that was more full of deer hunting than turkey dinners. I was probably out in the garage watching them bring in the deer instead of in the kitchen helping with the food! (yep, I was a tomboy) Don't get me wrong, we ate turkey. But my memories are more of Dad cleaning his gun, laying out his hunting clothes, waiting for him to get home from the woods and then eating a nice meal.
So after I married Ted, he and his buddy, Duane, followed the same hunting ritual I was used to during the Thanksgiving holiday. It was Duane's wife who insisted we teach ourselves how to roast a turkey. It looked difficult, but we were pleasantly surprised and delighted that we could easily rival our mother's cooking skills with a little practice and the help of step by step instructions from Esther H. Shank's Mennonite Country-Style Recipes & Kitchen Secrets. My copy of that cookbook, given at our wedding, is nearly falling apart!
My friend and I have taken turns cooking the bird ever since. That was twenty-one or so years ago, and I think we missed only a few holidays with them. So, last year I insisted my daughter not leave the house for college without having the excellent skills of turkey roasting! There's nothing like the smell in the house on the day the turkey roasts, no matter the occasion. It brings many warm memories to remembrance.
Sweet Potato Pie is a close second to turkey. And you have to pronounce it with a little Southern twang in your voice--it makes it taste better!
Ted's Aunt Pam made this sweet potato pie when we visited them in Florida at Christmas in 1997. I'd never tasted or even heard of this recipe before--it wasn't in the Mennonite cookbook for sure! (definitely Southern) Our sweet potatoes were always candied with marshmallows and I hated them. But Aunt Pam's recipe was divine!
Aunt Pam's Sweet Potato Pie
2--30 oz Sweet Potatoes drained and mashed
1 1/4 c. white sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 c. evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla
1 stick butter melted
Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, milk, vanilla, and butter. Mix well. Place in 9x13 in greased pan.
2 c. chopped pecans
2 c. brown sugar
6 T. butter (do not melt)
2/3 c. flour
Blend until crumbly with a pastry blender. Place over the potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 min until bubbly.
And like Julia Child says: "Everything is better with butter!" It's true in this case.
What's your favorite holiday food or food memory?