By Steve Flairty
Grandma Fryer could always be counted on to serve a “ribbon salad” on Thanksgiving, as well as on other holidays, especially Christmas. We ate it as an accompaniment to the starter or, because of its sweetness, sometimes as a dessert.
Long after Grandma passed away, the red and green layered gelatin delicacy with cream cheese in the middle layer with traces of pineapple, continued to find its way onto our dinner tables. And while Grandma certainly didn’t “invent” ribbon salad, we had a feeling she might have.
Being curious about other Kentucky families’ special dishes, I checked to see. I couldn’t find any others naming ours, but I found a lot of interesting diversity in the answers, and I might want to try a few.
Roger Garrison of Nicholasville said his family’s star food was transplant food.
“My aunt in Florida started the tradition by bringing her broccoli casserole to Thanksgiving dinner,” Roger said. “To the best of my recollection, he first appeared when we celebrated Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ house. It was a formal affair with linen, china, lots of money and a big bird, sculpted by Papaye.
“It was Pawpaw, Grandma Garrison (not just ‘Grandma,’ he noted), Fowwie (aunt in Florida), my parents and five children.” It has become a staple at Thanksgiving and other Garrison holiday dinners. “I remember the time the broccoli casserole didn’t show up on Thanksgiving,” he said with a smile. “I had a fit! It’s my job to bring a pot of broccoli now.
As a young person around seven or eight years old, Brooke Hall loved her grandmother’s “green jelly salad in a jelly mold” every holiday and was “upset if people ate a lot of it because it would be less for me”. As an adult, she bought a mold and has her grandmother’s handwritten recipe to carry on the tradition.
Many of us enjoy recreating the unique, authentic taste of a favorite family dish. Not just any will do. Carrie Thomas, a Grant’s Lick Elementary teacher who grew up in Pendleton County, long ago got excited about the special rolls served at their table. “My grandmother always made her homemade yeast buns with strawberry jam,” she said. “One time we asked her to write down the recipe for us so we could make them. Her measurements were hard to follow because she said to use (words like) ‘enough’ flour and she used oleo instead of butter.
“We tried but we could never master them the way she created them. The ladies then asked her to do them and they watched and took notes, but again, her special touch was needed to do them just right. Now that she’s gone, her great-grandchildren have fun making them and of course eating them for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They taste the same as I remember! »
Miche Branscum, from Frankfurt, noted that his grandmother always had jelly punch and dried apple cake, calling the punch “amazing”. In Henderson, Stephanie Brown mentioned that Granny always had a canner of dumplings on top and a roasting pan full of cornbread dressing inside the stove.
It was homemade oyster stew for the folks of Erlanger resident Lucy Riffle, and sweet potato soufflé for the parents of Lexington-raised Susan Gall. Not far from Erlanger, in Walton, Janet Windgassen-Cook grew up eating oyster stew and oyster dressing on Thanksgiving, and the family of Mary Lynn Collins, of Frankfort, preferred scalloped oysters.
The day before Thanksgiving, Darlene Godman, from Falmouth, said her mother had made homemade cookies for dressing.
“She used to crumble the cookies to dry for the salad dressing she made on Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Darlene shared. “I guess she did this so the crumbs would soak up the delicious turkey broth. The best part was she made an extra pan of country ham cookies and breakfast cookies.
Another Falmouth resident, Fran Carr, offered pretzel salad, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie as foods that have stood the test of her lineage.
A favorite for many is probably what former Fayette County teacher Jenny Bronaugh mentioned.
“For five generations our family has always had and continue to have a sweet potato casserole topped with mini marshmallows,” Jenny said. “As a kid, I didn’t like sweet potatoes, but I was allowed to eat those perfectly browned, melted marshmallows, only on Thanksgiving. I learned to love the whole casserole and still make it, now adding a jigger of bourbon, which was always an ingredient in the original recipe.
Also note that Jenny substitutes her marshmallows when reheating leftover casserole.
Lexingtonian Foster Ockerman Jr. insists his favorite growing up was a turkey and cranberry sandwich the day after Thanksgiving. Sharon Turner of Versailles recalls dressing up/stuffing her ‘awesome’ family.
“Mother would keep pieces of bread for two weeks and let them dry before breaking them into crumbs, adding chopped onions and celery, melted butter and broth for cooking the neck and offal,” she said. declared.
With the exception of oyster dishes, which I’ve never tasted, my mouth is watering when the people of Kentucky sit down for this week’s feast. May we all be lucky and grateful to be well nourished for this special time.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!