Empty plates, full stomachs

Dishes that make the holidays special

Ella Prince, Staff Writer

Imagine walking into your grandparents’ house to celebrate the holidays: cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, and garlic fill the air. You see the overwhelming amount of food in the kitchen and your stomach starts to grumble—welcome to the holidays. With Thanksgiving ending and Christmas coming up, it is time to bring out the old recipe books. Family traditions that have been passed down for years are making their way to the dinner table. 

A large majority of the holiday season consists of hours of preparation and planning for meals. Some families have one person do all of the cooking, while others eat potluck style. Franklin’s new basketball coach and fitness/driver’s education teacher, Mr. Graven, shared some of his family’s famous recipes that are used for special holiday occasions. He explained how he and his wife always make his grandma’s famous chicken and noodles on Thanksgiving—it’s his favorite. 

Graven’s wife makes organic cucumber salad that was also passed down from her family. It starts with three cucumbers per half onion. First, she dices the onions and cuts the cucumbers. Then, she mixes organic mayonnaise into the cut cucumbers and onions until the cucumber juice is removed from the cucumber. After that, she adds as much salt, pepper, and sugar as necessary. “It’s all about taste. There’s no specific amount you need for this recipe, just however much you want.” They also make broccoli casserole, and his favorite desserts, carrot cake and chocolate chip cookies. He and his wife do most of the baking together, and when they celebrate with their families around the holidays they will bring in one of those scrumptious dishes. Graven thinks the experiences of cooking Christmas and Thanksgiving foods is what helps make the holidays more fun and memorable.

Ms. Isaacks, the junior high language arts/writing teacher, mentioned that she has her grandma’s favorite pumpkin pie recipe every year on Thanksgiving. Her mom makes everything alone, but Isaacks and her family are always free at hand whenever she needs something from any of them. Isaacks loves to get together with her family and truly appreciates the time spent with them every chance she gets—whether it be the wonderful holiday foods or just spending quality time with her family. She always looks forward to seeing what delightful dishes her mother has prepared for her whole family around the holidays.

Ms. Reed, the junior high/high school math teacher, said that she and her siblings normally bring in appetizers or smaller finger foods, such as chips and dip, to her parents’ house where they celebrate big holidays, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. She mentioned that she is not much of a sweets or dessert person, but is more interested in salty foods, like chips, dip, pretzels, and cheese. Even though she and her siblings bring smaller dishes, she said that her mom and dad have passed down a delicious sweet potato casserole recipe that she looks forward to eating every year come the holiday season. The recipe includes two canned yams, a teaspoon of vanilla, and half a teaspoon of salt. Then, she adds three potatoes and a half cup of sugar to help make it sweet. After that she adds some cinnamon and ¾ cups of brown sugar. Once this is done, she adds three tablespoons of flour, half a cup of softened butter, pecans, and two eggs. She mixes the potatoes, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, eggs, vanilla, and sugar until smooth. All that’s left to do is pour the mixture into a greased casserole pan, put pecans on top, and bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes.

Reed explained how she loves the holidays and the recollection of the festivities that will leave a lasting impression for many more to come. “I think that passing down old recipes through generations of our family, and families in general is what will keep the traditions and memories alive. That’s what makes the holidays so special.”