A Paula Deen Thanksgiving

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Thanksgivings Past

"After the anchors of our family were gone I felt displaced," says Paula [Editor's note: Deen's parents, Corrie and Earl Hiers, had both died by the time Paula was 23.] "But my Daddy's brother, Uncle Bernie, and my Aunt Glennis took over hosting Thanksgiving for the next 20 years or so, and the entire family would gather at their home, in Statesboro, Georgia. I would just live for those Thanksgivings. We'd get in on Wednesday and set up the poker table and the grown-ups played poker for four days, just stoppin' to eat."

"As dark as our year might have been, Thanksgiving was always a bright spot," says Jamie.

"Aunt Glennis and Uncle Bernie lived in an old house with a catfish pond, so we fished."

"And there was deer and bird huntin'," says Bobby. "People drove five and six hours to get there so we didn't want to eat, turn around, and go home. There'd be homemade pallets and cots laid out all over the modest house."

"Thanksgiving morning, Paula, Aunt Beth, and Aunt Glennis would make us country breakfast," says Corrie, Paula's niece, "no matter that soon we would eat an endless Thanksgiving dinner. Then there were great platters of food and sweets laid out all over the house."

"Thanksgiving was never a formal dinner," says Bobby, "it was a day of grazing."

"Of course, we all brought our special dishes," says Paula. "Aunt Glennis made the best macaroni and cheese and green corn. But I always brought the stuffin', 'cause she made absolutely the worst stuffin'."

"We might not have had a lot of money," Peggy says, "but we never realized things were bad. Although we knew we were of modest means, we never felt poor."

Continued on page 3:  The Birth of a Cook


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