Giving Thanks for All Our Blessings…And All That Good Food…

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – As many businesses and government offices began to slow down before the Thanksgiving holiday, many locals began the yearly rush – cleaning that house before the mother-in-law arrives, fighting crowds at the store to try and not forget anything on the shopping list or making plans to travel to see loved ones in other parts of the country. 

There are a million reasons to be thankful this year – and every year. Even with its many issues, we are thankful for the country we live in, where at least we can still gripe about those issues. Thankful for family and friends, thankful for what we have and the wonderful place we live. 

Then there is the food. One of the few times when you will offend people if you don’t ask for seconds. Some gobble up the turkey, others enjoy the side dishes more – and let’s not get started on all those tasty desserts. 

The Messenger thought it might be interesting to ask around Houston County and see not only what people love to eat the most, but who in the family cooks it the best. It always makes the heart warm and the belly growl, thinking about the great dishes to be cooked this week, and those cooked by those no longer with us. 

Mitchell Woody, Grapeland Mayor

“I would have to say a heaping pile of turkey cooked by my wife Bobbie Jo.  She always makes the turkey perfectly. Then it’s nap time!”

Dr. Ianthia Fisher, Crockett Mayor

“Chicken dressing. I like to mix the chicken in the dressing with seasoned cornbread and some Mexican cornbread. I cook it every year and have cooked it for many years.”

Clayton Smith, Crockett Police Chief 

“Before my mom’s passing, she would make Chicken-n-Dressing and banana pudding. For years, that is all I would eat on Thanksgiving day because it was my favorite. 

Since her passing I have come to find that my aunt (mom’s sister) makes her Chicken-n-Dressing almost exactly the same. I have yet to find anyone that can match her banana pudding but have found a close second with a former Houston County Dispatcher.”

Jim Lovell, Houston County Judge

“My favorite dish is oyster dressing. My wife Marleen always knocks it out of the park!”

Coach Jody Jordan, Crockett ISD

“Since I can remember, we have always had big family gatherings in Rusk or Reklaw, Texas. We have so much great food, plus the traditional thanksgiving meal of turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. Family members bring a dish – which I always love, such as black-eyed peas, collard greens, corn dish, etc. It is always a great time to visit with family. Oh, and I can’t forget the sweets. Coconut pie and chocolate pies, which started with my grandmother and now my aunts, cousins and siblings learned to replicate after she passed.”

Mike McCreight, Justice of the Peace

“I’m going to go with my mom’s dressing and my mother-in-law’s potatoes!”

Donna Gordon Kaspar, Houston County District Attorney

“My favorite thing is candied sweet potatoes – I always make them. My second favorite dish is the dressing and my mother makes it best but I’m getting better at it.”

Coach TaNesiah “Cookie” Johnson, Kennard ISD

“I would have to say pecan pie brownies – they are so delicious, especially when warm! And of course myself, Cookie, bake brownies also. But if you want a dish, I would say cheesy baked macaroni and my aunt Lola cooks them best!”

Coach Greg Horn, Latexo ISD

“My mother-in-law’s bread stuffing. She makes it with dried French bread, ground pork, chunks of potatoes, and all of the right spices. Very moist and super delicious.”

Hilliard McKnight, Grand Marshall Christmas Parade

“My favorite dish is chicken and dressing, my wife Ruth McKnight cooks it.” 

Dr. David Maas, Grapeland ISD Superintendent

“Green bean casserole with lots of the crunchy onions on top.  My mom makes it the best, but I am a close second.”

Jason Frizzell, Crockett Fire Chief

“My favorite dish is dressing. My granny made the best but she is no longer here. So now, my wife’s dressing is the best.”

Liza Clark, Executive Director Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce

“It has to be broccoli rice casserole and no one makes it like my mom did. I miss her most during the holidays. It was her favorite time of year.”

Kelly Nicol, Publisher, The Messenger 

“Macaroni and cheese – indulgent, comforting and downright delicious!”

Cheril Vernon, Editor, The Messenger

“My mom’s magic cookie bars are family favorites during the holidays. Usually, she gives me and my brother our own cookie tin full of them at Christmas, but we are spoiled and always request them at Thanksgiving, as well.” 

Lesia Beard, The Messenger

“Chicken and dressing… since I’m the only one who knows how to cook it, I guess I cook it the best!”

Ansel Bradshaw, Sales Manager, The Messenger

“Banana pudding, made by my wife Brenda.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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