Rick Bragg's Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

Rick Bragg describes his traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and mac and cheese.


Hi, I'm Rick Bray. [NOISE] I love these images of the perfect Thanksgiving. These television images of the perfect Thanksgiving. First of all, there is the perfect turkey. The perfect Southern Living turkey. It is golden brown. With, a dusting of delicate herbs and, and you know, on a white linen table cloth, you know, on a silver tray. But the turkey itself is, immaculate. There's no broken skin, there's no, there's not a, there's nothing out of place. Our turkeys never really look like that. Our turkeys were cooked to death cause my momma is deathly afraid of undercooked poultry. Now that's not saying that they were not delicious. They were delicious and they continue to be delicious. But they cooked them down. They cooked them until the meat fell off the bone, and fell into the pound and a half of butter, that they had shoved up into the turkey. You know, it, it, it tasted great, looked bad. But the turkey was almost an afterthought, in a way. To the wonderful things that were all around it. We never stuffed the bird, it was always a pan of cornbread dressing. Never breadcrumb anything, breadcrumbs is kind of a sacrilege. It was cornbread dressing. It was kind of a cross between pound cake and pudding. And just a thick kind of dense but creamy that held it's shape, when you cut it out in a square, and you could eat it like cake you could go get it from the refrigerator two days later and eat it with a spoon or a fork. Good mash potatoes, the magical mash potatoes. Which my mother's always used her secret ingredient which was a tablespoon of mayonnaise whipped in and these were perfect mashed potatoes. They weren't any peelings or, or. I always thought that peelings were just kind of like restaurants showing off. That perfect creamy mashed potatoes and, and hot biscuits. I don't remember anything green, macaroni and cheese you know, perfectly golden macaroni and cheese, but never, ever anything green, unless you count the coleslaw, that rare green sprig that got into the The coleslaw, that was our green vegetable. And we did not miss it at all. Dessert was not. For us, it was almost unnecessary. It would be like running a marathon and then saying I think I'll jog around the house before I come in. It was unnecessary, but there was pecan pie, of course, and, and my sister-in-law Teresa makes the best strawberry shortcake for Thanksgiving. And she makes one of the best strawberry shortcake cakes I've ever had. It's hard to describe but it's, it's yellow cake with a kind of a whipped cream icing but she pokes holes in it, I think with her fingers and fills them up with canned strawberries. It's a reason to live.
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