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FOOD | Thanksgiving Dishes from the Deep South and Beyond

Check out Megan Brown’s personal food blog, Mookie’s Food Odyssey.

This Thanksgiving, for the first time, I will be dining at a restaurant instead of in someone else’s home or at my own table. The offerings — Shrimp Remoulade, Spinach Salad, Pecan Pie, and a choice of Gulf Fish Amandine, Roasted Turkey, or Blackened Flat Iron Steak — will be, I know, well above par. The French Quarter establishment where we’ve made reservations has been open for 95 years. Their food seldom disappoints.

As a restaurant server who rarely goes out to eat, I know I will enjoy having someone wait on me for a change. I won’t have to clear the plates or refill water. I won’t have to uncork wine or pour it, and I won’t have to sweat in a hot kitchen or clean up after myself or anyone else.

But I also know that it’s only during the holidays when I most enjoy cooking because I have the time for it. In anticipation that I will miss seasoning the turkey, baking my own pie, and boiling and mashing sweet potatoes, and in appreciation for regional cuisines which often take the backseat to what I grew up with in New Orleans, I offer recipes that I would make this Turkey Day if I could.

Unless otherwise specified, these recipes come from the November 1997 edition of Eating Well magazine (a relic!), which highlights Thanksgiving dishes from around the country. Enjoy!

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(Image from


-Mary Risley, San Francisco California
Owner and Instructor, Tante Marie’s Cooking School


1 tablespoon canola oil
2 16-ounce packages frozen pearl onions
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, defatted
4 red bell peppers, cored and diced
4 cups corn kernels
(from 6-8 ears or frozen)
6 small zucchini, cut into ¼-inch rounds
¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 3/4 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed


1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. (Add 1 or 2 tablespoons water if needed to prevent scorching.)
2. Add chicken broth and bell peppers. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add corn and zucchini. Return to a simmer and cook, covered, until vegetables are tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Stir in sour cream and season with salt and pepper. (The succotash will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat before serving.)

Makes about 12 cups, for 12 servings.

110 calories per serving: 4 grams protein, 2 grams fat (0.5 gram saturated fat), 23 grams carbohydrate; 110 mg sodium; 3 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fiber.

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(Image from


-Debbie Vanni, Libertyville, Illinois


1 ½ pounds russet potatoes (about 5), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
6 cups shredded green cabbage (1 small head)
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened and cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly oil a 3-quart baking dish.
2. Place potatoes in a large heavy pot. Add salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, 10 to 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, drop cabbage into a pot of boiling salted water and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
4. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Place over low heat and shake, uncovered, for about 30 seconds to evaporate excess moisture.
5. Remove from heat and mash potatoes with an electric mixer or a potato masher. Add cream cheese and 1 teaspoon salt. Mash until smooth. Fold in scallions and reserved cabbage. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Spread mixture into prepared baking dish and top with cheese. (The casserole will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
6. Bake casserole, uncovered, for 30 to 50 minutes, or until golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes about 8 cups, for 12 servings.

120 calories per serving: 5 grams protein, 5 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat), 15 grams carbohydrate; 300 mg sodium; 13 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fiber.

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(Image from


Beverly M. Jones
-North Andover, Massachusetts


4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup fresh orange juice
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
½ cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger


1. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries soften and start to pop, about 5 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to low, add raisins, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon water. Slowly add to cranberry mixture, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.
4. Stir pecans, orange zest, lemon juice and ginger into cranberry mixture. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, until cold. (The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat before serving.)

Makes 4 cups.

25 calories per tablespoon: 0 gram protein, 1 gram fat (0.1 gram saturated fat), 4 grams carbohydrate; 1 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 grams fiber.

For a flavor of the Pacific Northwest, see this recipe for SMOKED OYSTER AND RICE STUFFING:

*Missing the meat? Recipes for roasted or smoke turkey abound. The adventurous and hungry can make a turducken, which is a chicken inside of a duck inside of turkey.

I can’t be sure who cooked the first turducken but it is alleged that former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden popularized it. It is indeed an anomaly to California cuisine, which is all the more reason to try it.