Thanksgiving Memories

One of the happiest memories I have of my mother and her talents in the kitchen revolve around the recipe here on this page.  It is one of the most pungent visceral memories I have of being a child, and of numerous holiday dinners.  She would pull out this cookbook, the remains of which are in the picture, and start the process of baking this lovely cheese bread.  It was always Kraft Cracker Barrel sharp cheese, which always makes me want to reach for that in the grocery, the taste not nearly as sharp as the memory of how it was used.
Being from Southern California, the aroma usually had to float into the outside air, as even in November and December, I would probably have been out playing with abundant sunshine in attendance.  The smell of that bread was unmistakable, and happily was not confined to only holidays.  Sometimes it was just a treat, and the faster I got inside the sooner I could have a piece of the hot bread, slathered in butter and waiting for my first bite.
It’s always that first bite that gets us, isn’t it.  Sort of like a first kiss (hopefully) or the first sight of something treasured.  The initial response to that first taste of the cheese infused bread was unequaled in savory delights, and even now  makes my mouth water for a small piece of it.  The inclusion of this at a holiday table usually meant that there was a ham on the menu, usually accompanied by mom’s version of Waldorf salad, the one with apples and grapes, celery and walnuts.  Candied sweet potatos always found a spot, whether with or without a turkey, and the obligatory cranberry sauce.  Mom’s dressing was the best, and I”ve never had anything close to it,(except for mine, which is an exact duplicate).  She always baked hers, preferring that to the hazards of stuffing it in the turkey.  
To this day, I follow her example in most aspects of preparing this holiday meal, all of it from memory as she never wrote anything down.  I’m just grateful for having observed and helped enough to know each step, as we say, by heart.   But the bread, that requires the recipe.  I’m not preparing the Thanksgiving meal this year, so the memories will have to suffice since the food will be someone else’s family treasure.  In the spirit of the holiday, however, I offer the recipe for the world’s best cheese bread.  It certainly is that to me.


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