Food, Life

You can’t have a real Southern Thanksgiving without these fabulous dishes

Throughout the year the South is an interesting place to live, but boy is it worth it around the holidays.

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My grandmother, Doll, makes some of the best food I have ever tasted. It’s rich in butter (so much butter), fat, cheese, and all of that delicious bad stuff. She spends the week before Thanksgiving cooking cornbread for the dressing (and no dressing is not the same as stuffing and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise), several pecan and apple pies, and other desserts like peach cobbler. As you can imagine, her house smells amazing. Now, because our family shares differing political views, we don’t discuss politics at the table. Instead, all the focus is on food, and unfortunately, football. Because I hate the NFL and don’t really do sports in general, my focus is 100 percent on the food.

The dishes featured are a few of my personal favorites. It’s not a real holiday family gathering if these dishes aren’t there, am I right?

Cornbread Dressing

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The dressing is NOT stuffing. I repeat dressing is NOT stuffing. It’s so much better than stuffing. Doll makes a giant pan (it even has a designated blue pan because this dish is that amazing) of this delicious dish that makes for the best leftovers. It’s made with chicken, eggs, cornbread, and a heap of spices. This is actually my favorite dish. Put a little giblet gravy on top and oh man, heaven on a plate. Because I believe everyone should eat dressing, here is a link to a similar version of Doll’s recipe. This is just a me thing, but I totally think cornbread tastes better when its made in a cast iron skillet. I actually think my mom and grandma would disown me if I made it another way.

Grandma’s Mac & Cheese

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Y’all…this mac and cheese is the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. And, I’m not the only one that thinks so. Everyone in Doll’s church circle LOVES her mac and cheese. She’ll bring it to potlucks and other church gatherings and people go wild. This mac and cheese is gooey, cheesy goodness. Doll believes the Tabasco sauce is what sets it apart from your average mac and cheese. I personally think it’s a mix of that and the like 500 layers of cheese she adds to this glorious dish.

Greenberg Smoked Turkey

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This is an East Texas tradition that I never want to miss. Greenberg’s are smoked to perfection. The meat is moist and tender. Y’all haven’t had leftover turkey sandwiches until you’ve had a leftover Greenberg turkey sandwich. Basically, this turkey is life changing. Seriously. If you ever find yourself in East Texas for the holidays, buy a Greenberg turkey. Even deep friend it’s delicious! My mom isn’t a turkey fan, but she’ll gobble up a Greenberg.

Broccoli and Rice Casserole

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I think this might be one of my top favs. It’s cheesy and all around delicious. I won’t lie. I have hidden leftovers so no one else can have any. Doll is on to me, but she’d never rat me out because I’m her favorite (sorry sis if you’re reading this). This dish is to die for. Doll uses a blend of cheeses for the cheese sauce, chopped broccoli, and white rice. It’s not at all healthy, but oh my gosh is it delicious.

Green Bean Casserole

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Although this is a typical Thanksgiving dish, my Doll makes it especially delicious. It’s creamy, but it also has a slight crunch thanks to the fried onions on top. But the best part about this dish is that Doll usually only makes it for me because no one else in our fam loves it as much as I do. It pays to be the favorite grandchild (sorry not sorry sis) #winning

And of course, Sweet Potatoes

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We eat these all year round, but it’s not Thanksgiving if Doll doesn’t make sweet potatoes drowned in butter. What’s great about sweet potatoes is you can have it as a side, and then have it for dessert later. You just gotta add marshmallows and boom. More sweet potatoes. The only sad part of this dish is there usually aren’t many leftovers.

Now it’s time for dessert. Doll usually makes two pecan (pronounced peh-cahn) and apple pies, usually a peach cobbler, sometimes a cheesecake if my grandpa requests it, and a pumpkin or rice pie. Other family members also bring stuff, but to be honest, I’m only interested in the pecan and apple pies. The pecan is my favorite because when I was little, that was the dish I always helped make. In fact, if you look at Doll’s handwritten recipe, it will say “Gracie’s Magnificent Pecan Pie.” You wish you had a pie named after you *insert sunglasses emoji here.*

Since we all believe we make the best Thanksgiving Dinner, let’s all enjoy it with our friends and family. And if you’re like me, a Democrat surrounded by Republicans, ignore everything but the food. Just keep eating, eating, and eating and eventually, you’ll fall asleep and then no one can tell you how wrong your opinions are.

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Grace Necessary

Grace Necessary

Grace Elisabeth Necessary is an psychology undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Tyler. After graduation Grace hopes to attend law school where she will specialize in victim’s rights law. Grace is most passionate about shoes, dogs, and helping people seek justice.

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