Jane sampled the first bite of her Cornbread, Chorizo, Cherry and Pecan Stuffing and smiled. “It’s good! I think it’s good.” She looked at her mother and raised her eyebrows. “What do you think?”
“I like it.” Her mother nodded encouragingly, her new blonde bob bobbing. “Add it to the list.” It was a new tradition, if there was such a thing, for the Marksons to try a slate of new recipes two weeks before Thanksgiving and hand-select the ones that would make the table that year. Ever since Jane took over the holiday, in her new house with the two ovens she just needed to use fully, she had to, it was necessary, this was how she wanted to tackle the holiday and her mother obliged. (Her mother was just relieved her daughter and Jim, her husband of two years, hadn’t actually moved to Cincinnati as they thought they might and would’ve agreed to anything her daughter suggested, if it meant she lived down the block for the rest of their days.)
Jane glanced up at her mother who had failed to go for a second bite of the gorgeously complex and interesting side dish. “Are you sure you like it?”
“Of course! It’s very good.” Jane wanted to believe her mother, behind her wide smile, she really did.
“I have an idea,” Jane said suddenly. “I saw it on Pinterest- since I’ve been married for two years, why don’t you make a dish that you made for Thanksgiving when you were first married! Wouldn’t that be fun? That would be fun.”
Her mother’s smile faltered. “Oh, I don’t- how would I even know what I made then-“
“Funny you should say that because… I have them all right here!” Jane reached behind her and plopped the leather bound album onto the table between them. The turkey roulade winced and the stuffing beside her bounced. Jane beamed. “Grandma found it and gave it to me, isn’t it great? It’s all of your old recipes. And marked by date!” Jane practically squealed and grabbed her mother’s hand, appreciative of their equal appreciation for organization. “Let’s see what we’ve got.”
“Yes, let’s see.” Her mother stifled a smile. “Let’s see what I made for dinner in 1972. This should be interesting.”
Jane turned the crackling pages and found the list. “Let’s see here. Okay, recipes you made. Hmmm. Individual Turkey Noodle Casseroles. Okay- noodles, margarine, cooked turkey, condensed cream of mushroom soup, capers, thin cream, what’s thin cream? And 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.” Her words trailed off. “Okay, maybe not that one.” She smiled brightly at her mother. “Maybe just a scootch too much sodium, I think. And fat. Maybe. Here’s one. Chipped Beef Peanut Butter Cheese Hearts. Okay no, is that real? Is that a real thing? That you ate? Did people eat that?” Jane scanned the list, a bit desperately, as her mother’s shoulders started to shake. “Here’s another appetizer- Cheese “Carrots”, okay no. That’s just soft cheese and Worcestershire molded into the shape of carrots. Ew, really?” She looked at her mother. “Really?”
Her mother shrugged. “Those were actually pretty tasty.”
“Stuffed Avocado Slices.” Jane swallowed hard. “Stuff avocado with cream cheese, sweet pickles, green onion and pineapple. Okay, you know what?” Jane closed the album, her face green. “Maybe we just stick with my magazines. This year.”
“Of course, dear,” her mother said. She spooned up another bite of the chorizo cherry stuffing and smiled, only to herself.
All of those recipes mentioned in the story are very, very real. They’re from Mary Margaret McBride’s Encyclopedia of Cooking 1960 which I found in a massive antique store in Maryland last year. The book is 1531 pages long and every single one of those pages is absolutely amazing. I might snap pics of a few and put them on our Instagram, just because I can and, frankly, I shouldn’t have to keep something as incredible-sounding as Frosted Meat Loaf to myself.
(You know you want to know the ingredients in Salmon Salad Tropical, come on.)
If you glance down at our collection of blogged Thanksgiving recipes, you’ll see we’re no stranger to trying new-fangled, twisty recipes around here. I definitely think it’s fun and worth doing. I also know, fully well, that someone may find this list fifty years from now and be fully and completely horrified by what they find. And so it continues.
For our first recipe this year, we’re taking a classic favorite and shrinking it to simple, sample-size bites with these Mini Pumpkin Pies. Our thinking is keep it small and eat more of absolutely everything on the dessert table.
SKS Thanksgiving Recipes
Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows | Butternut Squash Soup | Sugar and Spice Cocktail Nuts | No Knead Dinner Rolls | Apple Crumb Pie | Mad Easy Chocolate Pecan Pies | Apple Crisp | Almond Crunch Pumpkin Cheesecake | Multicultural Stuffing | Pear Cornmeal Cake with Rosemary Syrup | Brussels Sprouts with Mint & Anchovy Sauce | Spinach with Fresh Indian Cheese
Thanksgiving Recipes 2014: Mini Pumpkin Pies
Note: You need a 4-inch round cookie cutter, a small leaf-shaped cookie cutter (optional) and a standard-size muffin tin.
1 Package of refrigerated pie crust
1 Can (15 oz) of pumpkin
1 Can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice (make your own!)
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and insert 4-inch circles of dough.
3. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and pumpkin pie spice until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour into pastry-lined muffin cups, almost to the top. (Top with a pastry leaf if desired.)
5. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes longer or until knife inserted comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool 30 minutes in pan and remove to wire rack to cool for another hour for pumpkin filling to set completely.
*Note from Mary: You will have a little more filling than would fill the 12 muffin cups, bake in a ramekin and add some pastry leaves for a cook’s treat!