Gut Check Shares Thanksgiving Family Recipes

Categories: Gobble Gobble

Oyster Dressing

Our Thanksgiving table has always been full of classic dishes -- mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn souffle, stuffing, pumpkin pie. But we always have two types of dressing: regular and oyster. The recipe is from my great-grandmother, Virginia Cottingham Castle. The Cottinghams came over from England in the early 1600s, and have always struck me as awe-worthy -- that includes the dressing.

My own grandmother continued to make it at Thanksgiving dinner on the farm, where everyone scarfed it down. Except for my aunt, that is, who had to have oyster-free stuffing. Now that my grandparents are gone, my mom and I are the only ones who eat oyster dressing; we always have the two dishes on the table. The card in my mom's recipe box was typed with a typewriter (as are many of her recipes). Mine isn't, but the dressing itself is a tradition that I'll cook for my children, too, though our name hasn't been Cottingham since 1929.

Oyster Dressing

Toast two loaves of bread in oven until until almost burned. Break into pieces. Can be done several days ahead and left in paper sack on shelf or done WAY ahead and frozen; but be sure to to take it out and let it dry out at least over night. When ready to bake, put in large kettle, pour hot broth over and cover. Let steam for about 15 minutes and then add more broth if not sort of mushy. Make broth same as for gravy; but this brother will have to be salted; for it will not have the salt from the turkey cavity like the gravy drippings. When the brother is sort of firm/mushy; add 24 ounces of oysters -- either standard or select. I drain them some; think the oyster taste is too strong if you don't. Put in a large and small casserole and bake about one hour, more or less! at 350 degrees.

-- Nancy Stiles

Our last recipe is noodles. Yep.

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