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Thanksgiving favorites | News | The Press and Standard

by | November 24, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: November 22, 2016 at 10:09 am

Turkey’s favorite Thanksgiving table co-stars.

By GEORGE SALSBERRY
gsalsberry@lowcountry.com
There is no hesitation when Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy is asked to name his favorite Thanksgiving side dish.
“Corn bread dressing,” McRoy says. What makes its special? “My mother. She is a great cook,” he said.
“I don’t know what she puts in it, but it’s delicious. I look forward to it every year,” he said.
The dressing, he said, dominates his Thanksgiving dinner plate. “It goes with everything she makes.”
McRoy said his mother, June, “has made it for as long as I can remember. It is one of the things I look forward to every Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
When it is time to head home, McRoy added, there is always some cornbread dressing in the car with him.
“It reheats well,” McRoy said. He puts a little water on it to keep it from drying out in the microwave.
“I’ll save you some,” McRoy promised.
Sweet potato casserole has had a five-year reign as the favorite Thanksgiving dinner side dish of Caroline Long of the Walterboro Police Department’s records department.
Long’s daughter Megan found the recipe, “probably on-line, knowing her.”
The Long family’s recipe calls for pecans and a lot of brown sugar. The brown sugar and pecans are mixed in the sweet potatoes and then used on top to give the casserole a crunch.
Long likes it because it is sweet and “it goes really good with turkey and dressing.”
“We make it for the hunt club when we go down there and everyone there loves it,” she said.
This Thanksgiving dinner will determine if the sweet potato casserole remains undefeated. “We always have something new every year,” Long said. “This year it will probably be a green bean casserole. We love green beans but we have never made a casserole. Megan has to make it for work, so we will try it,” she explained. “We’ll have to find a recipe for that.”
La’Shaughn Williams, the operator of Atol Bakery, declares his own mac and cheese as his favorite Thanksgiving side.
The secret is “the way my noodles are boiled. Most people boil their noodles in regular water; I boil my noodles in a stock, whether it is chicken broth or beef broth, whatever I want to use,” Williams said.
“Your noodles are absorbing that flavor,” he explained.
When his macaroni is cooked, he does not run water over them to remove any excess starch.
“Why do that?” Williams said. Add a little oil, regular oil, olive oil or his preference, extra virgin olive oil, to the pot when boiling. When the macaroni is cooling, he mixes in a little more oil to make sure the noodles don’t stick together.
For the cheese portion of the dish, he uses cheddar cheese, sometimes smoked gouda.  “If you want a little crunch on top, use some panko bread crumbs.”
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, Colleton Museum and Farmer’s Market Director Gary Brightwell’s favorite side is yam town.
“It is a wonderful, sweet mixture,” Brightwell said. Vanilla is mixed into sweet potatoes and it gets topped with a brown sugar glaze that contains crushed pecans.
“It is the best thing you will ever put in your mouth,” Brightwell explained.
It became a staple when it was brought to the Brightwell Thanksgiving table by her daughter-in law, Julie Brightwell. “It’s delicious, wonderful,” Brightwell said. The fact that it is her daughter-in-law’s recipe helped move it up the list of Brightwell’s favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.
What took it to the top, she added, “it is the one thing I don’t have to cook.”
Ask Karla Dadiecco her favorite Thanksgiving side dish and she travels back in time.
“I can tell you what it used to be,” said Dadiecco, who since retiring from her county administrative post several years ago, has volunteered for a variety of  local cultural and charitable causes.
“When I was a kid and my mother made Thanksgiving dinner, we always had peas with little pearl onions in them.” (The small, green English peas, not the field peas more prevalent in Southern cuisine.)
“They were always part of our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners,” Dadiecco said.
The question led Dadiecco to try and analyze her choice. “Because I was little, maybe the little onions were fascinating to me,” she said.
Or maybe, she said, it was the way she ate them. Mashed potatoes were another stable at her family’s Thanksgiving table. She would mix a serving of the peas and pearl onions with the mashed potatoes.
She said that she wasn’t trying to hide any of the vegetables in the concoction. “It made it easier to get the peas in your mouth.”

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