Holidays bring back lots of memories…mostly good ones. Even the ones that make me sad are usually good. At Thanksgiving when I start thinking about what I will bring to our family dinner, I always think of my Granny. Her house was where we had our Thanksgiving meal. She made the turkey and dressing and lots of weird salads that as a child a would not touch! One year while I was in college, I didn’t get to come home for Thanksgiving. I called Granny to get her dressing recipe. That sounds simple. It was not. She didn’t have a recipe. She made it by memory…maybe that’s why some years it tasted a bit different than others. She told me all the ingredients and gave me directions. The measurements were interesting, but we took a good guess. I am so thankful that we had that phone conversation all those years ago because Granny isn’t here to cook the dressing anymore. My mother usually does it now, but I am so happy that I am able to as well.
I must really like the dressing because that’s what I think of first when I think of eating Thanksgiving dinner. I have taken a different spin on dressing since my pharmacy school days. I was blessed to live with a wonderful couple the last year and a half of school. They had spent much of their life in New Mexico and loved all things green chile. They were also very talented in the kitchen and excellent wine educators. I learned much about cooking and life while living with them, and I will be forever thankful. Don did a lot of the cooking, and I did a lot of the dish washing. It was a fabulous deal. He is who introduced me to pinon nuts and green chile dressing. I didn’t think I liked “spicy” foods, but Don didn’t take no for an answer. At 20+ years old, I was still a bit finicky. He corrected that over the time that I spent with them. He cooked it. I tried it…except for avocado. That took another 10 years! I do love his green chile dressing. I make it most years to go along with the traditional dressing. I also make it several times a year! It’s too good to only be eaten once or twice a year.
It’s funny how food can stir up such strong memories. Funny in a way that makes your eyes a bit misty. This year as we sit down to eat Thanksgiving dinner, I will be thankful for many things…but I will remember to give thanks for a strong, beautiful grandmother and a wise sweet couple who took me in.