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Cooking With Myra: A day of thanks and lots of pies

By Myra Starkey
Nov. 26, 2013 at 5:26 a.m.

French silk pie

For all of our married lives, Taylor and I have taken turns sharing major holidays with his family and then mine. This year is Thanksgiving with my clan, the Mitchems, and the gathering is at my house.

By the time you read this article, I will have shopped for our Thanksgiving Day meal and hopefully chopped everything I need for the big day. In the past, my mom and dad would arrive early and spend a day at the kitchen table chopping onions, celery and bell peppers. This will be the second Thanksgiving since my mom passed away.

Last year, my 80-year-old dad was feeling sad and alone, but this year, he will be bringing his new wife, Arlene. Lest you are raising your eyebrows at this point, Arlene is close to his age and they have been going to the same church in Lake Charles for many years. This will be her first visit to Victoria and our home. I hope she knows about the chopping part of the holiday.

I have always been thankful for my family and friends, but most of all, I am grateful that God allows me to breathe and live and love. I try not to take that for granted at any time.

Perhaps when I am busy or tired, I lose the feeling of gratefulness. At this time of year, Americans sit at the table together and reflect on all that we are given. I cherish my family and friends and know that each of these individuals is a gift from God that adds great richness and dimension to my life.

I am grateful to have a home, a husband who loves me, healthy adult children and even a great son-in-law. I have a job that I enjoy and dedicated co-workers who genuinely care for the patients that come to our clinic. I have clothes to wear (more than I need), food to eat (sometimes too much) and a healthy body (only slightly overweight and tomorrow will not help that problem).

I have heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. I have a yard and a garden that I enjoy. I have two big poodles, Lola and Hazel, who bring me joy and comfort me when I am sad.

For weeks before this Thanksgiving, I search through cookbooks looking for just the right recipes to make the big meal special. It usually revolves around the turkeys - one fried and one baked. I add my grandmother's recipe for cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, salads, green beans, my mom's sweet potato souffle recipe and multiple desserts.

My sister, Susie, loves to make pies. Her specialty is a French silk pie. I have published this recipe before, but anyone who has ever made it once wants to make it again, so at this time of year, I get calls that sound something like, "I need that recipe for the chocolaty silky pie. Do you remember that one? It was the favorite of the meal."

This year, I am publishing the recipe before Thursday so you'll still have time to get the ingredients. I am also printing my paper bag apple pie recipe. Make them one or all. And when your guests say they could not possibly eat another bite, you can bring out the pies.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email myra@vicad.com.

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