Thanksgiving is saved

There are certain things Bunny and I require for Thanksgiving, which is always at her house in Knoxville. We require green bean bundles. We require Waldorf salad. We require broccoli-cheese-rice casserole, mashed potato casserole and banana pudding. But we have always relied on Ramsey’s for the cornbread dressing, gravy and turkey. Partly it’s a matter of oven space and partly it’s the fact that Mike Ramsey just makes those three things better then we do.

So I can’t tell you the horror I felt a few weeks ago when Bunny called to say Ramsey’s was closing. We have been feasting on Mike’s dressing, gravy and turkey for years, and I mean decades. It was partly a matter of leases gone wrong and a move to a less-than-perfect location, but the quality of Mike’s food was never at issue. Households throughout the greater Knoxville area were despondent at the news.

Bunny bought a 19-pound turkey, which was going to take up enormous oven space. I volunteered to make the dressing and gravy (Bunny is not allowed to make gravy after the Rocco DiSpirito jarred pork gravy fiasco. And I worried over this. I consulted more than 12 cookbooks as to the most delicious cornbread dressing. I had never considered making my own because Mike’s is so good. I made a shopping list for turkey wings and other necessities for making turkey stock for the gravy. I had never considered making the gravy because Mike’s is so good.

Well, thank goodness for Facebook. I logged on the other day and there was a post from Bunny that Mike is still catering Thanksgiving. And he even agreed to cook the 19-pound turkey for her. I am so relieved. Bunny has ordered two pans of dressing, four quarts of gravy and the turkey will arrive already sliced. All I have to do is make a few pies and the scalloped oysters (Bunny hates oysters, but it’s a tradition from my dad’s side of the family and, as we’ve just seen, tradition dies hard.

I am now officially relieved. I don’t know Mike’s recipe for dressing and gravy, but I am going to give you Bunny’s official recipe for broccoli, rice and cheese casserole. It’s always the first thing to go.

Broccoli, Rice and Cheese Casserole

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup butter

1 1/3 cup cooked rice

1 8-ounce jar processed cheese spread (that’s Cheez Whiz, of course. God bless Bunny)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Combine broccoli and onion. Cook according to the package directions. Drain and add remaining ingredients. Pour into greased two-quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

5 Comments

Filed under casseroles

5 responses to “Thanksgiving is saved

  1. terrell jones

    how do you make your scalloped oysters?

  2. Cath – If this crisis happens again, the McKnight/Kerr/McLean clan stands ready to come to your aid. We make a MEAN cornbread dressing. And because my sister does all the cooking and my only assignment is to pick up Mother, I’ll come help you next year or any time. I’ll even make the cornbread, in Nanny’s iron skillets. (But you’ve got to have the cold white wine).

    • the south in my mouth

      I need that recipe. There’s no guarantee that Mike will be willing to feed our habit next year. I always have cold white wine, as you well know.

      • I’ll make copies of everything you need and bring um next time we grab lunch. As you say best and often – it’s more a technique than a recipe. But I wrote everything down when my Mom taught me (whose Mom and mother-in-law taught her). Our family cornbread recipe is from Aunt Ruby (my great aunt).

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