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At Thanksgiving time, readers' favorite recipes

When Mary Joan Moore was growing up in Riverside, Thanksgiving was a day for celebrating with her extended family.

They were already seven in the house on Prairie Avenue, with her parents, three siblings, her grandmother and her aunt. Thanksgiving brought more relatives, stuffing the house like a turkey.

Amid all those people, Moore was alone in one way: she hated pumpkin pie. Instead of telling her to stop being difficult and eat the pie already, Joan Hess, Moore’s mother, came up with The Raspberry Dessert.

“She made this special dessert for me, even though, as she reminded me, ‘Raspberries are so expensive,’ ” Moore recounted. She started with Salerno cookies, known in the house as

That recipe, below, was one of many offered when The News asked readers to share their favorite recipes and the stories behind them. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we’re sharing Moore’s recipe and a few others as families prepare.

“Now, pumpkin pie was the supposed favorite of everyone else, so they all ate a piece of pie, but then also took a piece of my dessert,” wrote Moore, a Tonawanda resident. It became a family favorite that day.

To this day, her family expects it from her. The only difference is she uses fresh berries, because she can.

“Today, everyone assumes that my contribution to a family party will be that raspberry dessert,” she wrote. “Just this summer, my nephew passed up all the fancy desserts at his welcome home party and opted for the raspberry dessert. He told me that eating it reminded him of grandma and all the Thanksgivings we shared.”

The Raspberry Dessert

  • 1 package Salerno butter cookies
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup confectionary sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • Confectionary sugar
  1. Pulse the cookies into crumbs and set aside.
  2. Line a 9-inch glass dish with plastic wrap, going right up the sides
  3. Cream butter and sugar, add the egg, beat till smooth.
  4. Now the tricky part, Spread the butter mixture evenly on top of the plastic wrap then sprinkle half the cookie crumbs on top. Reserve the rest of the crumbs. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. When ready to serve, flip the dessert so that crumbs are on the bottom. Gently remove the plastic wrap and cover the dessert with raspberries.
  6. Whip cream, adding sugar to taste.
  7. Cover the raspberries with whipped cream, then sprinkle remaining crumbs over the whipped cream.

. . .

My mom made egg pancakes for our family on Sundays when I was growing up. They’re like crepes.

When I was dating my boyfriend, he enjoyed this delectable treat. When we married, I made them on many Sundays.

As our children married, I made them as a special Sunday gathering meal so we could all be together. At a recent family reunion, our 9-year-old granddaughter made them for 20 of us.

We always make a pancake toast to mom as we indulge, and feel like she is smiling down on us. It’s the kind of tradition that brings joy to my heart, simple but beautiful.

– Kermuth Haraszko, Cheektowaga

Mom’s Egg Pancakes

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Butter
  1. In a large bowl, beat all ingredients together until there are no lumps.
  2. Heat pan over medium heat. Add a pat of butter.
  3. When melted and bubbly, slowly add batter, and twist pan until bottom is covered.
  4. When it can be moved without breaking, turn pancake over. Cook another 20-30 seconds.
  5. Serve with maple syrup, jam, or brown sugar mixed with cinnamon.

. . .

Frances Minkebige Van Roy was my maternal grandmother and the best cook in the entire family. She was the youngest of 9 kids, and first generation American of German and Czech parents, who settled in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin.

This dish was featured at all big family gatherings from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Easter. As Grammy Fran’s eldest granddaughter, I was her kitchen sidekick. I remember sitting on a tall kitchen stool to break and beat the eggs for this dish. I was especially captivated by the pimentos, the most exotic food ingredient I had ever seen.

When I moved to Buffalo, she was very upset I would miss Thanksgiving in Wisconsin for the first time. She sent me a long, newsy letter right before Thanksgiving 1983 that included her hand-written recipe so I could make a little bit of home. I’ve pull out that little scrap of paper with her “signed” recipe for the past 35 holiday seasons and watched my daughters fall in love with the resulting fluffy, delicious corn pudding.

– Sharon Linstedt

Scalloped Corn

  • 2 No. 2 cans cream style corn (Note: a No. 2 can is about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 well beaten eggs
  • 2 cups cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 6 tablespoons chopped pimiento
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs
  1. Heat corn and milk. Gradually stir in eggs.
  2. Add 2 cups crumbs, onion and pimiento. Pour into buttered casserole.
  3. Pour butter or margarine over 1 cup crumbs. Sprinkle over corn.
  4. Bake in moderate (350 degree) oven about 1 hour.

. . .

When my dad and I visited my aunt in Pittston, Penn., in the early 1970s. On one of our visits, she made this. I had never had it before.

It is a Sicilian peasant dish from the “old days.” I tried it and loved it!

I asked my dad why we never had it. He told me he ate it every day during the Depression and hated it.

For me, it is pure comfort food, and has replaced chicken soup. I grate Locatelli romano cheese on top and enjoy every bite.

It is simple, easy and fast. Every time I have it, I feel warmth and comfort.

My dad and aunt are long gone, but this soup reminds me of them every time.

– Laurie Galbo, North Tonawanda

Aunt Marie’s Macaroni & Peas

  • 1 15-ounce can peas
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • Chopped garlic, to taste
  • 1 squirt vegetable or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cooked macaroni
  1. Add peas and liquid to pot.
  2. Add 2 pea cans of water.
  3. Add tomato sauce. Add tomato can or water.
  4. Add chopped onion, garlic and oil.
  5. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve over bowl of cooked macaroni, such as small shells, elbows or orzo.

. . .

My mother, Harriet Rucki, and her sisters baked this cake for every party the family had — it was at baptisms, communions, confirmations, graduations, engagement parties — any occasion that called for home-made desserts.

We always thought it was a recipe my grandmother brought with her from “the old country.” After years of serving the cake, one of my aunts called my mother to say she saw the recipe in a magazine — and it won a prize. They were outraged that the family recipe for cherry cake had gone public.

Seeing the secret was out, my aunt shared the recipe with her daughter’s future in-laws. It still brings back wonderful memories of long-ago parties and the relatives who are no longer with us.

– Judith Rucki, Bowmansville

Cherry Cake

  • 1-1/2 cups butter (three sticks)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (Mother’s or Quaker) oats
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cans cherry pie filling
  1. Mix first six ingredients by hand.
  2. Put three-quarters of mixture in 9 x 13 inch pan.
  3. Add pie filling.
  4. Put remaining quarter of mixture on top.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  6. Serve cool.
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