Gratitude, Thanksgiving and Being On Call

Thanksgiving week is here. Our families will gather together to eat our traditional meal, swap stories, argue about whether cornbread or white bread dressing is better and nap on the couch while watching football. I’m in charge of the corn bread (my great grandmother’s recipe) and the corn bread dressing (my grandmother’s recipe).  It’s a great time to recharge and to be thankful for family, food on our table, and the many gifts in our lives.

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I’m not on call this Thanksgiving, but I have been in the past.  I have a fond memory of Thanksgiving when I was the Chief Resident in our county hospital Emergency Room.  I bought the traditional dinner, including a large turkey, for my team… and then realized we didn’t have enough microwaves to heat it up properly.  I won’t go into the details of how we handled the problem…. but it turned out that the rarely used autoclave in the ER was big enough for a turkey.  We were grateful for ingenuity and a hot dinner!

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I will be thinking of the physicians, in practice and in training, who will sacrifice time with their families this year to take care of others.  To the physicians, nurses, hospital staff, police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, clerks and anyone else who spend this holiday helping others – thank you.  We are grateful.

 

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”  William Arthur Ward

Merry Everything!

To all who learn and teach, and to all who are working during this holiday season in hospitals for the benefit of the ill and injured – blessings of the season.

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Brandt Family Cranberry Bread

(Traditional Christmas morning breakfast bread)

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl:

2 cups  flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Combine in a Pyrex measuring cup:

2 Tblsp melted butter

Juice and grated rind of one large orange

Fill with boiling water to make 3/4 cup then add to dry ingredients

Add    1 egg

1 cup nuts (chopped walnuts)

1 cup raw cranberries (cut in half)

Bake in loaf pan (325° for metal pan, 300° for glass pan) for 1 hour

Test with toothpick

If you are particularly motivated to bake and give some away to neighbors and friends multiplying by 9 is the key to easy measurement:

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl:

1 5 lb bag  flour

1 4 lb bag sugar

1 1/2 tblsp salt

4 1/2 tblsp baking powder

1 1/2 tblsp baking soda

Combine in a Pyrex measuring cup:

1 1/8 cup melted butter  (2.25 sticks)

Juice and grated rind of nine large oranges

Fill with boiling water to make 6 3/4 cup then add to dry ingredients

Add    9 eggs

9 cup nuts (chopped walnuts) = 3 lbs

9 cup raw cranberries (cut in half) = 3 12 oz bags

Bake in loaf pans (325° for metal pan, 300° for glass pan) for 1 hour

Test with toothpick

Thanksgiving Cornbread

Every year at Thanksgiving, I make my great grandmother Sallie’s cornbread recipe.  She and my great grandfather were “dirt farmers” in Oklahoma during the depression.  This bread, plus some beans, was their dinner many nights. Their life on the farm was not easy, but it was a life that provided the simple necessities.

Every year at Thanksgiving as I mix the ingredients for this cornbread, and then make the stuffing for the turkey, I have the delight of remembering my great-grandmother.  It always leads to a sense of gratitude for her, all my ancestors and my family.

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I don’t want you to just sit down at the table.
I don’t want you to just eat and be content.
I want you to walk out into the fields
Where the water is shining and the rice has risen.
I want you to stand there far from this white tablecloth.
I want you to fill your hands with mud, like a blessing.

-Mary Oliver

 cornbread

Mix together with a big spoon

1 cup corn meal

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Make a large “hole” in the middle of the dry mixture with the spoon

Beat one egg with a fork, add 1 tsp oil add into well in the middle of the dry mixture and mix with a fork

Add 1 cup of buttermilk

Let rise while heating the oven to 425 degrees (about 10 minutes)

Gently whip down with a fork

Grease a one layer cake pan, cast iron skillet or 8” square pan with butter

Bake 20 minutes