Mixed Vegetable Casserole with Cheese

Mixed Vegetable Casserole with Cheese

Mixed Vegetable Casserole
Mixed Vegetable Casserole

(Makes 8 servings)

Prepare all vegetables. If using all fresh vegetables, which is preferable, wash cauliflower carefully and cut into florets, discarding all but tender stems. Steam vegetables separately until half cooked. Put into lightly buttered casserole or oven-serving dish.

Melt butter, stir in flour. Cook 2 minutes over low heat, add milk. Whisk vigorously until mixture is thick and smooth. Add cheese and continue to whisk until cheese melts. Add salt to taste. Remember vegetables have not been salted.

Pour sauce over vegetables, sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered at 350 F. for 20 to 25 minutes. Vegetables should be tender, not mushy.

Recipe from The Saturday Evening Post Fiber & Bran Better Health Cookbook,  © The Saturday Evening Post Society. All rights reserved.

Beating the Holiday Blues

Emotions run high during the holiday season. But let’s face it: Sometimes they dip low, too. Tend the body, mind, and spirit during the weeks ahead with these tips from the Foundation for Health in Aging:

Get out and about. Travel with family and friends to parties and events or invite family and friends to your home. Looking for a fun craft for families with children? Try making a handprint Christmas tree by tracing the hands of each guest on green paper, cutting them out, and gluing them together with fingertips facing down. Add a brown rectangle trunk and decorate.

Volunteer. Helping others is a great mood lifter. Contact schools, shelters, and places of worship for volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood.

Limit the eggnog. Too much alcohol can lower your spirits. Try hot apple or spiced peach cider, or add crushed peppermint to hot chocolate.

Accept and express your feelings. There’s nothing “wrong” with feeling less than jolly. Talk about your feelings to help understand why you feel the way you do.

If an older loved one has the blues or seems depressed:

Lend a hand. Offer help with shopping, transportation, and preparations for get-togethers in their homes.

Be a good listener. Encourage your loved one to talk about how he or she is feeling. Acknowledge “difficult” feelings, including the sense of loss when family or friends die or move away. Suggest lighting a candle or creating an online tribute in honor of the loved one.

Know the signs of depression: Holiday blues are usually mild and temporary. Depression is more serious. Look for sadness that won’t lift; loss of interest or pleasure; changes in appetite, weight, or sleeping habits; frequent crying; feeling restless or tired all the time; feeling worthless, helpless, or guilty; slowed thinking; and thoughts of death or suicide.

Many older people don’t realize when they’re depressed. If you suspect depression, encourage him or her to talk with a health care provider. Depression is a medical illness that can be treated and managed.


Crazy About Casseroles

What will you be bringing to the potluck?

The Casserole Collection

Banana-Sweet Potato Casserole

Banana-Sweet Potato Casserole

Crunchy Sweet Potato

Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole

Down Home Corn Casserole with Cheese

Down Home Corn Casserole with Cheese

Broccoli Cashew Casserole

Broccoli Cashew Casserole

Cheese Zucchini Casserole

Cheese Zucchini Casserole

Mixed Vegetable Casserole

Mixed Vegetable Casserole with Cheese

Banana-Sweet Potato Casserole

Banana-Sweet Potato Casserole

Banana-Sweet Potato Casserole
Banana-Sweet Potato Casserole

(Makes 4 servings)

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, beat until fluffy. Turn mixture into oiled 1-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F. 20 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned.

Recipe from The Saturday Evening Post Fiber & Bran Better Health Cookbook, © The Saturday Evening Post Society. All rights reserved.

Down Home Corn Casserole with Cheese

Down Home Corn Casserole with Cheese

Down Home Corn Casserole with Cheese
Down Home Corn Casserole with Cheese

(Makes 6 to 8 servings)

Sauté green peppers, onion, and garlic in vegetable oil over moderate heat until onions are golden.

In large mixing bowl combine sautéed vegetables with all other ingredients except cheese. Stir until well mixed. Pour into oiled casserole. Top with cheese liberally or to desired taste.

Cover pan. Bake at 350 F. 30 minutes; remove cover, increase oven temperature to 400 F. Bake 10 minutes longer to brown top.

Recipe from The Saturday Evening Post Fiber & Bran Better Health Cookbook,  © The Saturday Evening Post Society. All rights reserved.

Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole

Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole

Crunchy Sweet Potato
Crunchy Sweet Potato

(Makes 6 to 8 servings)

Peel, halve, and boil potatoes in lightly salted water until soft. Drain well. Mash with potato masher or electric beater. There should be 4 cups mashed potatoes. Beat in butter, 2 tablespoons honey or molasses, beaten eggs, and milk. When well blended, spread mixture into lightly buttered 11/2-to-2-quart casserole.
Stir together pecans, coconut, and flour. Add rest of honey or molasses and melted butter. When well blended, spread mixture over sweet potatoes. Bake 1 hour at 325 F.

Recipe from The Saturday Evening Post Fiber & Bran Better Health Cookbook,  © The Saturday Evening Post Society. All rights reserved.

Cheese Zucchini Casserole

Cheese Zucchini Casserole

Cheese Zucchini Casserole
Cheese Zucchini Casserole

(Makes 2 to 3 servings)

Simmer cut up zucchini in very little water until soft. Drain. Add cream cheese, egg, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until blended.
Pour mixture into oiled baking-serving dish, sprinkle with grated Cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F. just until cheese melts and mixture begins to bubble.

Recipe from The Saturday Evening Post Fiber & Bran Better Health Cookbook,  © The Saturday Evening Post Society. All rights reserved.

Beyond Daffodils

Tulips, daffodils, hyacinth—all, harbingers of spring. And why not? They’re pretty enough. And they have a charming familiarity that makes them a classic choice for gardeners looking to set the stage for a springtime show. Perhaps you’re the dramatic type, looking for something exotic to excite your landscape. If so, give not-so-ordinary bulbs a try. They’re as easy to plant and maintain as their more commonplace cousins, but fit the bill when it comes to expressing a green thumb’s inner wild child.

Lucky for the renegade gardener, you don’t have to look far to find these special bulbs. That’s because the market has done an excellent job reacting to consumer demand for the delightfully unusual. Purchasing anything from Bulgarian ornamental onion to Grecian windflower is a snap with all the various mail-order catalogs and online storefronts at our fingertips today.

But with temperatures plummeting and the holidays just around the corner, planting is probably the last thing on most people’s minds. If you garden in the North, however, it’s literally “last call” when it comes to planting spring-blooming bulbs. That’s because, to put on one heck of an early season display, spring-blooming “hardy” bulbs must experience a cool, dormant period—about 12 to 16 weeks—to bloom. A good rule of thumb for northern gardeners is to plant bulbs six weeks before the ground freezes.

Southern gardeners, on the other hand, can plant hardy bulbs in early January after they’ve been chilled by artificial means, such as in a refrigerator crisper (take note, however, that gasses from ripening fruit can damage the bulbs). Or gardeners in these milder areas can look for bulbs bred to adapt to their short, temperate winters.
Here are some other basics that are good to know before you plant any bulb:

Plant bulbs pointy end up. While it may seem simple enough, planting bulbs upside down is an easy mistake. The pointed end is where the stem originates, while the root end is generally flatter and looks like the base of an onion. While a lucky few may break through the soil surface and bloom, more often than not, the plant wastes oodles of energy doing so, resulting in a lackluster display.

Plant at the appropriate depth. Large bulbs like tulips and daffodils should be planted about 6 and 8 inches deep, respectively. Plant crocus, hyacinth, and like smaller bulbs 3 to 5 inches deep. As for spacing, a good rule of thumb is to set bulbs three to four times their diameter apart. Be sure to give them a good soaking after planting!

Mulch. A couple inches of mulch, such as evergreen boughs, straw, or marsh hay, reduces the risk of early sprouting and other weather-related complications. Just be sure to wait until the ground freezes before applying.

Leave on fading foliage. Although it may look unattractive, it’s important to keep the leaves on the plants until they brown or at least 6 weeks have passed since  they bloomed. The leaves direct energy to the bulb, essentially feeding it, which is why you’re able to enjoy blooms year after year.

Plant in groups. While individual bulb blooms are beautiful unto themselves, there are ways to up the ante when it comes to impact. Best planted in groups of three or more, a mass of bulbs concentrates colors and creates a focal point that’s hard to ignore. The same can be said when bulbs are used as a ground cover, planted in border beds, or displayed as a “bouquet” in planters.

If planting a variety of bulbs, be sure to plant low-growing bulbs in front of taller varieties, especially if they bloom around the same time.

6 “Out-of-the-Box” Bulbs to Plant Today!

1. Allium (Allium)
‘Silver Spring’ has tiny white blossoms with pink-purple centers; ‘Fireworks’ has a distinct form that earns its namesake.

2. Grecian windflower (Anemone blanda)
Try ‘Mixed’ for daisy-like flowers in a variety of colors like blue, pink, and white.

3. Checkered lily (Fritillaria meleagris)
‘Saturnus’ boast reddish purple flowers, while ‘Charon’ has deep purple blooms.

4. Indian hyacinth (Camassia)
Plant ‘Blue Melody’ for impressive spikes of dark violet-blue flowers and variegated foliage.

5. Crown imperial (Fritillaria imperialis)
Ranging in colors from scarlet red to yellow, its nodding, bell-shaped flowers rest beneath a “crowns” of stiff green leaves.

6. Species tulips (Tulipa)

Known for their uniqueness and ability to naturalize well, species tulips are the wild cousin of the hybrid variety. Try ‘Rockgarden Mixed Colors’ for an assortment of brightly colored blooms on short stems.

Also check out how to save bulbs.

Waiting for the Next Twain

Halley’s Comet appears in 1835; Mark Twain is born.

Halley’s Comet returns in 1910; Mark Twain dies.

Halley’s Comet re-appears in 1986—perhaps to interfere with the course of American humor again.

For all we know, the next great American humorist was born with its return and is now 23 years old. Since Mark Twain didn’t achieve national fame until he was 34, we’ll have to wait for 2020 to see if a comet-influenced successor has arrived.

Until the next Twain shows up, Americans must content themselves with the 24 volumes of the original’s complete works and the scores of books that contain his letters, speeches, and notes. That should be plenty, but it’s not. Even after 99 years, America’s enthusiasm for Twain doesn’t appear to be fading.

Scholars at The Mark Twain Papers, housed at the University of California at Berkeley, have been hunting through his works, which include 600 unpublished manuscripts. But after years of searching, it doesn’t appear that they’ll discover another Innocents Abroad or Huckleberry Finn.

Still, there’s always the hope a new Twain will emerge from America’s young writers.  Again and again, publishers have hailed some new humorist as “the next Mark Twain,” though the reputations of many of these contenders barely outlived them. Who, today, reads George Ade, Irvin Cobb, Kin Hubbard, John Kendrick Bangs, and Ellis Parker Butler?

Will Rogers looked like a promising successor in the 1920s, but he was more of a successful columnist than a “literary humorist.” Then there was H. L. Mencken, James Thurber, Robert Benchley, S. J. Perlman, Dorothy Parker, Art Buchwald, Erma Bombeck, and on, and on—all expected to be the next Mark Twains.

The line of contenders stretches clear out of one century and into another. More recently, critics have nominated humorists like Calvin Trillin, Veronica Geng, Dave Berry, Ian Frazier, Roy Blount, and of course, Garrison Keillor. But Keillor, like the others, doesn’t want to be another humorist’s successor, as flattering as that might be. No humorist wants to walk in another’s shadow any more than they want to be the second person to tell a funny story.

We need to love the humorists we’ve got because we’re not likely to see another Mark Twain. Any successor would have to be truly funny to several generations—and this rules out most contenders. The successor would have to attempt great things and risk failure to make humor do what it had never done before, to raise laughs and raise awareness. Finally, the successor would have to convey Twain’s sense of fresh enjoyment—the way he makes reader feel the joy he experienced when he was writing.

So what is the connection between Mark Twain and the Post?

Twain’s biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, said The Saturday Evening Post played a vital role in the humorist’s early career. Back then, Sam Clemens was a teenage boy, years away from adopting his pen name. Working for his brother’s newspaper, Paine says, when he inserted a poem without his brother’s permission:

“It was addressed ‘To Mary in Hannibal,’ but the title was too long to be set in one column, so he left out all the letters in Hannibal, except the first and the last, and supplied their place with a dash, with a startling result. Such were the early flickerings of a smoldering genius. Orion returned, remonstrated, and apologized. He reduced Sam to the ranks. In later years he saw his mistake.

“‘I could have distanced all competitors even then,’ he said, ‘if I had recognized Sam’s ability and let him go ahead, merely keeping him from offending worthy persons.’

“Sam was subdued, but not done for. He never would be, now. He had got his first taste of print, and he liked it. He promptly wrote two anecdotes which he thought humorous and sent them to the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post. They were accepted—without payment, of course, in those days; and when the papers containing them appeared he felt suddenly lifted to a lofty plane of literature. This was in 1851.

“‘Seeing them in print was a joy which rather exceeded anything in that line I have ever experienced since,’ he said, nearly sixty years later.”

We must thank Mr. Twain for the compliment, but it never happened. When he dictated his memoirs to Paine in 1907, the Post was the nation’s most successful magazine, and Twain liked to think it had printed his fledgling work long, long ago.

Alas, the Post didn’t have that honor. By way of reparation, we now offer the piece we should have run in 1851. It tells of a fire that started next door to the newspaper office and the gallantry of the printer’s “devil” (apprentice). You may find the voice of the 16-year-old Sam sounds surprisingly similar to the adult Twain.

The Gallant Fireman

At the fire, on Thursday morning, we were apprehensive of our own safety, (being only one door from the building on fire) and commenced arranging our material in order to remove them in case of necessity. Our gallant devil, seeing us somewhat excited, concluded he would perform a noble deed, and immediately gathered the broom, an old mallet, the wash-pan and a dirty towel, and in a fit of patriotic excitement, rushed out of the office and deposited his precious burden some ten squares off, out of danger. Being of a snailish disposition, even in his quickest moments, the fire had been extinguished during his absence. He returned in the course of an hour, nearly out of breath, and thinking he had immortalized himself, threw his giant frame in a tragic attitude, and exclaimed, with an eloquent expression: “If that thar fire hadn’t bin put out thar’d a’ bin the greatest confirmation of the age!”

(from Early Tales and Sketches: 1851-1864 by Mark Twain, University of California Press, 1979.)

The Show that Ruined Television

If you watched television in the mid 1980s, there’s a good chance you saw, or at least have heard of, a little medical drama called St. Elsewhere. It drove forward the careers of such Hollywood heavyweights as Helen Hunt, Denzel Washington, Howie Mandel, and Ed Begley Jr., but it was also the beginning of one of the most interesting factoids in all of television trivia. Right now, television buffs are probably screaming at their computer screens about snow globes and children with autism, but that’s not even the half of it. There’s a much larger story to be told about the series. Put simply, St. Elsewhere may have ruined television.

If you are of the population not fortunate enough to have seen St. Elsewhere, it was the first of the modern ilk of medical dramas. What separated it from its predecessors was the reality with which it treated its subject matter. The television portrayal of doctors until that point was more in line with what we think of as super heroes. The patients always got better, the doctors never made mistakes, and everyone, as Garrison Keillor might put it, was above-average. The thinking of the time was, “Who wants to turn on their television only to be depressed? The advertisers certainly wouldn’t like that.” That strategy worked fine for many years, but it turned out not to work on the slightly-more-cynical younger generation. St. Elsewhere followed this new direction, and almost the entirety of the current hour-long medical genre owes its place on TV to “a show that ruined television.”

Welcome to the Multiverse

How does a show like this, with all the good it did for its craft, end up ruining television? The answer comes in two parts. The first is that St. Elsewhere was a very popular, and it continues to be well-respected among people who make decisions for television. The show did numerous crossover episodes where characters from one series appeared on St. Elsewhere or vice-versa. Crossing Jordan, Cheers, Boston Public, Chicago Hope, The Bob Newhart Show, M*A*S*H, and Homicide: Life on the Street are among the shows where this happened. Outside of this, there are shows that reference St. Elsewhere in a way that makes it clear they are intended to be in the same world. The hospital’s PA system on St. Elsewhere was used at various times to call doctors from other series, even though they were not appearing in that episode. The reverse of this was used on the Canadian show, Degrassi Junior High, where doctors from St. Elsewhere were paged through the school’s announcements system.

The crossovers don’t stop there, though. For example, you’ll notice that St. Elsewhere crossed over with Cheers at one point. This happened in an episode when characters from St. Elsewhere visited the Cheers bar. Cheers, being as successful as it was in its day, ended up creating crossovers with other series on its own. Cheers begat Frasier and another short-lived spin-off called The Tortellis. Since a crossover or spin-off is essentially a signal that the shows happen in the same television universe, all shows connected to Cheers in that way are also connected to St. Elsewhere. The same goes for all the other shows that St. Elsewhere crossed with. They are all, through common characters, happening in the same television universe.

In all, there are around 280 shows linked to St. Elsewhere. The oldest is I Love Lucy, which traces its lineage in this order: I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mad About You, Friends, Caroline in the City, Frasier, Cheers, and finally, St. Elsewhere. Current shows such as Lost, ER, CSI, Law & Order, and Heroes all have their own lineage tied to St. Elsewhere.

Life is but a Dream

The second part of the answer is the bit of trivia mentioned in the opening. In the final moments of the series finale of St. Elsewhere it is heavily implied that the entire series had been a dream of one of the characters. Dr. Donald Westphall discusses his son, Tommy Westphall, which includes this bit of dialogue:

“I don’t understand this autism thing, Pop. Here’s my son. I talk to him. I don’t even know if he can hear me, because he sits there, all day long, in his own world, staring at that toy. What’s he thinkin’ about?”

The next part, the answer to that rhetorical question, shows Tommy Westphall shake a toy snow globe containing a model of the show’s hospital, while real snow begins to fall over the real hospital.

This is the moment that may have ruined television. St. Elsewhere takes place in the same universe as over 280 other shows, and that universe was revealed to be entirely in the mind of Tommy Westphall. So the next time you watch I Love Lucy, Cheers, CSI, Lost, Heroes, The Andy Griffith Show, Law & Order, or any of the other shows connected to St. Elsewhere, keep in mind and take solace in the fact that they are at least two layers of fiction removed from our reality: They are the fictional creations of Tommy Westphall, an already fictional character. Most television, as it turns out, is more fictional than you would have thought.

If you’d like to explore Tommy Westphall’s multiverse on your own, this excellent site has complete documentation of the phenomenon that continues to be updated by contributors. You can take a look at the diagram of all the shows, and check the key to see exactly how they link together. If your friends are good enough at television trivia, you might be able to play a game of Six Degrees of Tommy Westphall.

Broccoli Cashew Casserole

Broccoli Cashew Casserole

Broccoli Cashew Casserole
Broccoli Cashew Casserole

(Makes 6 to 8 servings)

If using fresh broccoli, wash carefully, cut off thick stems. Quarter florets, cut tender stems into bite-size pieces. Boil in salted water 3 minutes, drain thoroughly or thaw frozen variety and drain well.

Cook noodles in large kettle boiling salted water 6 to 7 minutes or just until tender. Do not overcook. Drain, rinse very briefly in cold water. Drain again, toss with butter or margarine. Set aside.

In saucepan, toss cheese cubes with flour, stir in milk. Place over moderately high heat, stir until thick and smooth. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and poppy seeds. Continue to cook until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat.

Beat egg yolks well, add a little of hot sauce gradually. When those ingredients are blended, add mixture slowly to rest of sauce, stirring vigorously. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread a little cheese sauce in bottom of lightly oiled baking-serving dish. Cover with layer of noodles, the with layer of broccoli. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cashews, pour over half remaining sauce. Repeat layering process. Garnish top with rest Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/2 cup cashews. Bake 20 to 30 minutes at 325 F. If this is prepared in advance and chilled, allow 40 minutes for baking.

Recipe from The Saturday Evening Post Fiber & Bran Better Health Cookbook,  © The Saturday Evening Post Society. All rights reserved.

Classic Covers: Post-Thanksgiving Shopping

Let the post-Thanksgiving shopping begin! Post cover artists over the decades have shown us how it’s done. And how darn tiring it can be.

The kid is having a meltdown; Dad already has more than he can handle, but Mom has a list and is on a mission! The 1936 cover by artist J.C. Leyendecker has a message: If you see a shopper this determined, get out of the way!

Children and husbands are not the only sufferers. Take the “Santa’s Helper” on Norman Rockwell’s 1947 cover. The poor woman in the toy department is footsore and exhausted. Rockwell did the cover in Chicago in the summer heat. Deciding the scene needed more dolls, he set about shopping, somewhat sheepishly, until he had “forty-eight dollars’ worth”. In 1947 we’re sure this amounted to a mountain of dolls. According to the editors, Rockwell thought “he probably has more dollies than any other kid of fifty-three.”

Crammed full of shoppers and travelers is the December 1944 cover of a Chicago train station also by Rockwell. Santa ringing a bell, servicemen kissing sweethearts – even some poor schmuck squeezing through the crowd with a Christmas tree – ‘tis the season for hectic!

The Lost Child Department (or lost parent department) is shown to us in artist Thornton Utz’s 1958 cover. A dizzying amount of hurly-burly is happening in what the editors dubbed “the Madding Throng Department Store”. A lady in the foreground is hitting hubby up for additional money and a lady in the background is considering some rather wild boxers for her own beloved. Alas, it is the poor lost little urchin that worries us! The editors assure us, however, the parents will show up, and “their distress will lose itself in the reunion—their sweetest Christmas present of the year.”

Love covers from The Saturday Evening Post? Peruse and purchase your favorites at saturdayeveningpostcovers.com.

Black Friday: Be a Smart Shopper!

As “Black Friday” kicks off the holiday shopping frenzy, Americans get anxious about crowded shops and long lines. We have some helpful tips to steady your nerves and help boost your shopping experience. Whether you are browsing the Internet or waiting in line before the birds are up and singing, these guidelines may help alleviate some holiday stress.

Do Your Research
Have a game plan to avoid overspending. Sometimes a bad product can be a bad deal no matter how cheap it is! Look online or ask store professionals before the big sale to see what is worth a wait in line, especially for those door-buster items that come deeply discounted and in limited quantities.

Go Local
Look in your local newspaper. It will be chock full of coupons, advertisements, and time-specific deadlines. For example, “receive an extra 15% off if you shop before 10 a.m.” It will point you to the nearest local stores and help you prioritize your route. Take coupons with you; they may help  if you come upon a store having an unadvertised sale.

Shop Instantaneously
Some stores are still price-matching, even on Black Friday. They may meet the lowered price of another retail store without forcing you to leave theirs. You can even find cell-phone applications that enable you to price-match directly from where you are. Frucall is an online service that uses a toll-free number. Others may require Web browsing or text messaging capabilities and certain charges may apply. Other programs include Slifter, 4INFO, and Scanbuy Shopper.

Go Online
Using online tools such as PriceGrabber.com can help relieve worries that you didn’t get the best deal possible. Also, look for “Web-only” deals that may be posted as early as the night before Thanksgiving (amazon.com/blackfriday and shopthepost.com, for example). Many products may be purchased online and picked up at your local store the day of the sale.

Keep Receipts
Know the return policies of stores. (Some do not extend their sale days’ return policies.) Gift receipts are a must! As retailers are clamping down on return policies, many gift recipients may be turned down without one.

Stay Secure
During the holiday season, identity theft and other attempts at fraud rise sharply. Use caution when signing checks and always cover your information. If possible, use a credit card. Most credit companies offer exclusive benefits for card-holders, which may include extended fee warranties, return protection, and sale protection.

Check Web sites for security. Enable your computer’s firewalls and update antivirus and antispyware software. A lock in the lower right hand corner of the checkout page and addresses beginning with https:// (the “s” is for secure) are both good signs.

Roast Turkey with Apples

Roast Turkey with Apples

Roast Turkey with Apples
Roast Turkey with Apples

(Makes 12 servings)


Make brine 1 day before roasting turkey. Combine all ingredients in nonreactive pot. Bring mixture to boil. Lower heat, simmer 15 to 20 minutes (partially covered).

Allow brine to cool completely.


Remove giblets from turkey cavity. Set aside. Rinse turkey under cool running water, pat dry with paper towels. Pour brine in container large enough to hold turkey and small enough to fit in refrigerator. Immerse turkey in cooled brine; turkey should be completely submerged in liquid. Cover, refrigerate at least 8 to 10 hours, up to 24 hours.

Make turkey day of meal. Remove turkey from brine, rinse. Preheat oven to 375 F. combine 3/4 cup cider and 4 tablespoons corn syrup in small saucepan. Bring mixture to boil. Remove from heat, set aside. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. In medium bowl, combine herbs, salt and pepper. Rub turkey all over with olive oil, then rub herb mixture over skin and inside cavity. Place half garlic, onion quarters, and apple quarters into body cavity. Place turkey breast side up in shallow roasting pan. Arrange remaining garlic, onions, and apples around turkey in pan. Place turkey in oven, roast 45 minutes. Baste turkey with cornstarch-apple cider mixture, cover loosely with foil. Continue roasting 2 hours and 15 minutes more or until meat thermometer registers 180 F. Baste every 30 minutes with cornstarch-apple cider mixture.

While turkey bakes, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add reserved giblets and neck; sauté 2 minutes each side or until browned. Add 2 cups chicken stock, bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat. Simmer 45 minutes. Strain mixture through fine sieve into bowl, discarding solids. Reserve 1/4 cup broth mixture.

Remove turkey from oven, let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pan, reserving drippings for sauce. Place turkey on platter and keep warm.

Spoon off any excess fat from drippings in roasting pan. Spoon out solids from pan, place in fine sieve set over bowl, pressing on solids to release any excess juice. Place roasting pan over 2 burners over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup chicken stock, cook (scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan.) Strain drippings through sieve into medium saucepan. Add juices from solids and giblet broth mixture to pan, cook over medium heat. Combine reserved 1/4 cup giblet broth with cornstarch; whisk into saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons corn syrup, stirring with whisk. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Carve turkey and serve with gravy.

Recipe from Glutenfreeda Online Magazine and Recipe Book.

Thanksgiving … 1950

Hard, hard it is, this anxious autumn,
To lift the heavy mind from its dark forebodings;
To sit at the bright feast, and with ruddy cheer
Give thanks for the harvest of a troubled year.

The clouds move and shift, withdraw to new positions on the hills;
The sky above us is a thinning haze—a patch of blue appears—
We yearn toward the blue sky as toward the healing of all our ills;
But the storm has not gone over; the clouds come back;
The blue sky turns black;
And the muttering thunder suddenly crashes close, and once again
Flashes of lightening startle the rattling windowpane;
Then once more pours and splashes down the cold, discouraging rain.

Ah, but is it right to feast in a time so solemn?
Should we not, rather, feast—and give the day to prayer?

Prayer, yes; but fasting, no.
Soldier and citizen alike, we are a marching column,
And how long the march may be, and over what terrain
We do not know;
Nor how much hardship, and hunger, how much of pain
We may be called upon to endure. And fortitude
Takes muscle; and needs food.

Never more dear than in a thoughtful hour like this
Are the faces about the table: each stands out
More sharply than before, and is looked at with a longer glance.
And smiles are deep, from behind the eyes, and somewhat quizzical,
Lest they go too far in tenderness.

God bless the harvest of this haggard year;
Pity our hearts, that did so long for Peace;
Deal with us kindly: there are many here
Who love their fellow man (and may their tribe increase).
But cunning and guile persist; ferocity empowers
The lifted arm of the aggressor: the times are bad.
Let us give thanks for the courage that was always ours;
And pray for the wisdom which we never had.

This is nothing new—that we should be attacked
While we are napping: is it not always so?—
And, dazed and unprepared, start up to act,
Rubbing our eyes, not knowing where to go?

Yet the trained hand does not forget its skill;
Nor can we lay precision and speed aside:
Strength we have, and courage; an acetylene will;
A timorous vigilance; but a brave pride.

From the apprehensive present, from a future packed
With unknown dangers, monstrous, terrible and new—
Let us turn for comfort to this simple fact:
We have been in trouble before . . . and we came through.

Holiday Centerpiece Ideas

Piece together your own attractive centerpiece with these simple ideas.

The Gifted Centerpiece
Wrapping up small gift boxes or candy boxes and placing them in a large glass bowl is a simple yet elegant holiday display. Of course, your guests will be extra pleased if the boxes contain a tasty parting gift.

Fired-up Fruit
What do apples and oranges have in common? You can turn both of them into festive tea-candle holders. For apples: Carve out a circle in the top of the apple that matches the diameter of the tea candle. Cut down only as far as the depth of the tea candle. Sprinkle the exposed flesh with lemon juice to prevent browning, and place the tea candle in the apple. For oranges: Cut the orange in half. Scoop out the insides, leaving the rinds in tact. Place the tea candle in the bottom half. Cut a hole in the top half of the orange and place it on top of the bottom half.

Make it Personal
Place several small boxes of various heights in the center of the table. Cover them with a festive cloth to create your own “center stage.” Arrange your family photos on top of and around the boxes.

A Natural Solution
Use nontoxic spray paint to color pine cones. Arrange in a glass bowl filled with cranberries and pine needles for some earthy holiday decor. Or, for a tropical tablescape, fill several clear hurricane candle holders, preferable different sizes, with sea shells. Place in the center of the table on a small bed of palm fronds.

Save Room
For dessert! A tantalizing tiered dessert platter serves a dual purpose: It’s an appetizing center piece and a reminder to guests to save room for dessert. Alternatively, stock with fresh fruit and cheese and crackers.

Wreath Around the Roses
A small wreath adorned with holiday ornaments is perhaps the most versatile centerpiece. Fill the center with fresh flowers, small pumpkins, pine cones, gifts, or fruit for a bountiful center of attention.