A Southern Thanksgiving

I’m a couple of weeks early, but Thanksgiving is on my mind this week after having  finished writing a Thanksgiving Day scene for EVERY PERFECT GIFT.  During my research, I found out that in the 19th century, Thanksgiving frequently comprised almost thirty different dishes–everything from the usual turkey to  pigeon pie.  Thanks, I’ll pass on that one. The day was often marked with costume parades, raffles, turkey shoots, chestnut roasts, and plenty of desserts consumed before a crackling fire.

Like most Southern families, ours has a list of traditional dishes that never varies. Cornbread dressing, homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie are always  on the menu at our house along with a smoked turkey and whatever greens look good at the grocery store on shopping day. Several years ago, I came across a recipe  for sweet potato casserole from Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith. It was an immediate hit, and is now on the list of “must haves.”   Over the years I’ve tweaked it a bit. Recipe follows. I hope you enjoy it. And from our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Dorothy’s Sweet Potato Casserole (with thanks to Emmitt for the basic recipe!)


3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes  ( I make mine from scratch because the canned ones are too sweet and overpower the dish. If you want to use canned, rinse them well to get rid of a lot of the syrup)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup evaporated milk ( I use Carnation)

1/2 cup butter, melted

Mix thoroughly and pour into a 1.5 to 2 quart casserole dish


Mix together:

1 and 1/2 cups Southern pecans, finely chopped

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the sweet potatoes. Then drizzle with 1/3 cup melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

How about you? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?


4 thoughts on “A Southern Thanksgiving

  1. Cathy

    I saw this recipe in the Austin American Statesman in the late 90’s and lost it and never thought to look on Internet ..thank you for bringing this favorite dish back to my table again !

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