Mom’s Turkey Cassarole

I just finished preparing my Mom’s turkey cassarole for Christmas Eve.  Yes, I know I spelled casserole wrong.  But that’s the way my mom spelled it on the handwritten recipe booklet she gave me with some of her favorite recipes.  And so it shall remain forever cassarole. 

Mom was an overachiever when it came to Christmas.  I always thought it was because she grew up during the depression with 7 brothers and sisters and didn’t have much at Christmastime.  She made up for the lack of material wealth with her children and even more so with her grandchildren.

My brother and I were definitely not spoiled at Christmastime, but we always got that one special present that we really wanted.   One year, probably 1956, I wanted a bride doll in the worst way.  I got one.  But it was my old red-headed walking doll that showed up under the Christmas tree with a handmade wedding dress and veil, constructed by my Aunt Burdeen.   There were tiny flowers on the veil and at the neckline of the dress.  There was a satin underskirt and several layers of white tulle to make the full skirt.  And white satiny slippers with a strap that closed with a tiny button.  I never thought twice about that second-hand bride doll.. it was just what I wanted.

She continued the tradition with the grandchildren.  One year she stayed up all night constructing not one but two Castle Grayskulls (from the HeMan days) complete with drawbridge and working trap doors and probably 500 pieces.

It wasn’t just gifts under the tree that my mother provided.  She would cook for days preparing for the Christmas Holiday.  The year after she retired, she sent each of us home with whole pies, dozens of decorated cookies, ham, and enough side dishes to last us for a couple of days.   This was in addition to cooking the entire meal for all of us.  She was definitely a giver.

I miss my Mom the most during the holidays.  She has been gone for 8 Christmases and a few more than that; dementia stole her away from us the first time.  She left behind a wonderful legacy of love, generosity, and selflessness.  My kids tease me sometimes when I repeat some of the things she used to do for us.   “Are you trying to be Grandma?” they ask.

Yes, I guess I am.

Moms' turkey cassarole


About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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21 Responses to Mom’s Turkey Cassarole

  1. buckylb says:

    Hello Ruth. I found your blog after reading a comment you posted in another blog … I usually gravitate to photography blogs (I love the picture in the End of the Year on the Farm post) but yours grabbed me. I look forward to following you.
    I love to cook with my mom … she’s such a natural! I’m trying to learn all the recipes that have been handed down for years (Great Grandma’s ham loaf, Grandma’s baked beans, mom’s potato salad, etc) where there is often no handwritten recipe. I can’t let these memories / meals get lost! (my mom can tell if I haven’t been using a recipe … no stains on the page!).
    Lovely post!


    • Thanks for stopping by! Family recipes are the best… we recently lost one of our favorites and 3 of us tried to duplicate it with no success! I finally broke down and cleaned out the recipe drawer thoroughly and found it stuck to another recipe via one of those stains! LOL
      Looking forward to reading some of your posts.


  2. Karen says:

    Ruth, those memories are a gift in themselves. While I am not quite that out-doing-myself on Christmas, I try to take that general generous and giving theme throughout the year. A spontaneous cassArole or loaf of homemade bread here and there delivered to a child or a neighbor or a ‘just because gift’ given for no apparent reason. I think I am probably too selfish at Christmas as I just want to play with the children and grandchildren while they are in the family room yakking away about memories or figuring out a toy. I don’t want to miss a thing! So I make a pot of chili or have pizza. I know…it is odd, but I love being with the kids and grandkids so much I don’t want to be in the kitchen!! My eldest daughter has picked up the traditions I began as my mother did (and I did while the kids were small). She makes QUITE a Christmas for her family! I am proud of her!


  3. This is a wonderful remembrance, Ruth. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m writing down your mother’s cassarole and making it for my family. It looks really good. … My mother finally gave her old Betty Crocker cookbook to me. Like you, I was the one who left behind the stains – mostly in the cookie section. 😉


  4. Teresa Cleveland Wendel says:

    I love that you’re trying to be Grandma.
    My cousin recently gave me some index cards with cookie recipes written in my dear grandmother’s hand. So precious!


  5. Yopu know what I like…the little stains on the recipe… Mom’s old black cook book had so many drops of vanilla…cinnamon…etc. …that it was hard to read the recipe at times…and most of that was probably from us kids using her book…


  6. Caddo Veil says:

    Oh Ruth, this was heart-warming and caused misty-eyed reading. I’m missing your mom with you, and rejoicing that you’re apparently keeping her torch lifted high! Merry Christmas to you, and a blessed New Year–love, sis Caddo


  7. My Mom’s gifts didn’t grace the kitchen scene and my oldest sister naturally became the one to build exceptional Christmas memories. My favourite was building an icing village and making chocolates. I wrote her a card recently outlining all the special memories I carry thanks to her love and efforts.

    One year mom had to tell us Santa was not coming. (The Eaton’s order didn’t arrive in the mail on time). Yet Christmas morning, there was a tree full of prezzies…grandma had been knitting her entire first year in a Senior’s residence! Miraculous, we decided as children.


  8. It does, hopefully my grandchildren will have warm memories…. have a Merry Christmas!


  9. riverman1953 says:

    those wonderful days


  10. lucewriter says:

    Ruth, what a lovely tribute to your mother! I love the bride outfit description as that rang a big bell for me in my own childhood. Merry Christmas! Enjoy the cassarole!! 🙂


  11. Judy says:

    It warms the heart to have a mother and/or grandmother that left such wonderful warm memories especially at Christmas.


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