Isn't it funny how favorite foods evoke memories? I wonder how many wars are actually about what we eat and what scents waft across the breezeways than about the religious rules that so few really seem to know about their own faiths.
This Thanksgiving, I've been asked to make a cornbread dressing by my daughter-in-law's mother's recipe, as my daughter-in-law's dad has just had some surgery and his wife will be unable to provide this favored delicacy. My daughter has requested that I stuff celery with a cream cheese, olive, and pecan stuffing.
Our family tree is more like a tangled vine, so the kids are always looking for ways to celebrate peace between their long-divorced parental units, especially at holiday time. My children think I believe that they've requested their dad's favorite oyster dressing for them, when I'm pretty sure nobody but their dad actually eats it, mainly because it looks just like pond scum. I guess food is as good a way as any to show good faith, so how could I say no?
The father of my children came from Slavic people, a German mother and a father from Louisiana oyster fishing folks. I guess this marriage of the German who grew up on potatoes and the Louisianan who grew up with oysters plucked directly from the bayou led to this concoction that I was lucky enough to learn before my mother-in-law's early death from cancer.
Not that I think any of you would want to make this, but here's the old family recipe:
Pond Scum and Then Some, aka, Oyster and Potato Dressing
½ cup canola oil
1 bunch celery, diced
1 bunch Italian parsley, minced
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
4 cups (approximately 3 large) diced onions
2 cups (approximately 2 large) diced green peppers
½ gallon fresh oysters (preferable unwashed) drained – Reserve liquid
5 pounds red potatoes
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 large eggs, beaten (optional)
In large, heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat, sauté vegetables in canola oil until soft. Boil potatoes in oyster liquid. Drain well and roughly mash. Cut oysters into one-inch pieces. Add to sautéed vegetables. Heat until oysters curl. Add potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees for thirty minutes, or until heated through. If a firmer stuffing is desired, stir eggs into stuffing before baking.