For Thanksgiving one year, Duke Associate Librarian Kate Collins looked to the past to help feed her family and friends.
Collins recreated sweet potato custard Recipe from a November 1870 issue of The Rural Carolinian. The experience of preparing a vintage dish helped her feel a connection to people from the past.
“It’s another way to make the story really close to you,” said Collins, who wrote about the experience in the Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen, a blog by Duke University Library staff. “It feels like another way to get to know them and connect with that story and get a little more insight into their lives.”
Similarly, family recipes have become holiday staples because they are tied to memories and nostalgia of special times gathered around the table year after year.
This Thanksgiving, [email protected] collected favorite recipes for main courses, sides and desserts from staff and faculty and created a electronic booklet with 20 recipes and some special stories about the dishes. To whet your appetite, here are some recipes.
Feed a crowd
Leanna McKay has fond memories of childhood Thanksgiving trips to Illinois to share a feast with 30 or more family members.
Every year the house was always full of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents and often more people to feed. When that happened, McKay and her grandmother headed to the kitchen to bake a cherry and pineapple cake to please the crowd.
“No one would care about the extra mouth to feed, but desserts tended to disappear faster than anything else,” said McKay, human resources specialist for Duke University Health System Clinical Laboratories. “So we always managed to have spare boxes of pie filling and yellow cake mix in the pantry, just in case we ran out of dessert before we ran out of dining guests. Usually we could get it whipped together and ready to eat before the last guest to arrive could pack their plate and finish dinner first.
A taste of New York
Stan Paskoff enjoys leading the charge of Thanksgiving preparations for one to two dozen friends and family in his home each year.
While he prepares the turkey, vegetables and other usual accompaniments, his favorite dish is potato stuffing. The recipe is reminiscent of the filling of a potato knish, a treat of carby goodness from his childhood in New York that could be found at any deli.
Paskoff inherited the recipe from his wife’s half-sister, whose stepmother brought the stuffing recipe with her when their family arrived in the United States as immigrants in the early 20th century.
“She brought the cookbook when she emigrated from Eastern Europe,” said Paskoff, a computer analyst and network administrator for the Sanford School of Public Policy. “This recipe was one of the recipes in this book.”
A tribute to his father
Leah Austin’s dad knew she and her sister didn’t like old-fashioned stuffing cooked in a turkey.
He always set aside some of his special Italian sausage stuffing to cook it in a glass dish, bringing together the savory and sweet flavors of sausage, onions, celery, apples, maple syrup and fresh herbs.
Since his father’s death in 2017, Austin has continued to make the stuffing dish as a tribute to his father, Allan, and as a reminder of special holiday times spent together.
“There aren’t many stuffing recipes this good for me that have this perfect mix,” said Austin, assistant manager, Event Management for Duke Venue and production management. “It’s really good, but it also ties into those nostalgic memories of having him with my family every year.”
On Monday, November 14, join LIVE FOR LIFE for a “Health Matters Live Webinar on healthy recipe ideas for Thanksgiving lunchtime. If you can’t make it, a recording of the session will be available afterwards.