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Mom's Thanksgiving Sage Dressing
Family Cooking Background
In our house, my Dad was an Army cook who was in charge of the meats for his platoon. That meant that my Dad took charge of the turkey for Thanksgiving and my Mom made her wonderful Sage Dressing to go inside the turkey. My grandfather leant a hand by making his ever popular pumpkin and mincemeat pies.
- dried bread, cubed
- vegetable oil
- green pepper, diced
- onion, diced
- celery, diced
- sage, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cover bottom of a large skillet with vegetable oil. Add chopped onion, celery and green pepper and saute
- Once chopped vegetables start to cook, add bread cubes, sprinkle with sage, salt and pepper. Continue to sauté turning bread cubes to bring vegetables to the top. Continue to sauté until all the oil has been taken into the cubes and the cubes brown.
- Pour each batch into a large container to be stored until morning when you are ready to stuff the turkey. My mother had a huge roasting pan and we would fill that with the stuffing on the back porch until morning.
When I was a young adult, I joined my mother making the stuffing for Thanksgiving. It took several pans to fill a 20 lb. turkey but the process and results were well worth the time and trouble.
The only change I've made to my Mom's recipe is that she used Crisco and I am using vegetable oil. If you prefer you can use canola oil for those who are watching their cholesterol.
If, I have leftover stuffing mix, I normally make stuffing balls by adding eggs and chicken or turkey broth to the bread mix and forming into balls. I place these in a covered casserole and bake at 350° until the stuffing balls are browned about 45 minutes.
And the Sky Lit Up on Thanksgiving Eve
Like I said my Mom and I would make the dressing for our turkey on Thanksgiving eve. One year after we had played bingo at the American Legion in Aspinwall, we came home to do our stuffing as we always did.
As we were make one of the batches, there was a huge bang that sounded like the town was under siege. It was followed by several other similar explosive sounds and then the sky behind my house turned a unmistakably orange. There was a fire close by.
An oil tanker which was approaching the bypass a block away from our home missed the turn and banged into the abutment for the upper bypass ramp. One of the compartments in the tanker exploded and a fire erupted. Luckily for the driver, one of our firemen, Juney Haberman, was approaching the scene at the time and was able to pull the driver from the cab of the truck before the next compartment exploded and went up in flames.
That night our bypass was lined with countless fire trucks all waiting the be used if needed. They came from all around the city of Pittsburgh and some as far as from Turtle Creek which is totally on the opposite side of the city if you know the terrain.
The most significant thing for me was that our whole neighborhood was outside standing a block away from the scene watching the flames and the response teams who didn't lose one of the neighboring houses. At the same time, my husband was asleep on the couch and never heard a thing or even moved from the spot in which he was sleeping.