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Sometimes I get so tired of hearing people tell me that it is not possible to
celebrate Thanksgiving without a turkey. Our woods are full of wild turkeys, and they were here before we were, and they are welcome to stay, as are the deer, like the four does that met us at the foot of the driveway the other night at dusk, as we drove home along our winding, crunchy-gravel road. Of course, Lorelei, our German Shepherd, barked at them as she always does, and they ran like the dickens. They'll be back. Every year we pray that they will have the sense to hide on our posted lands, or that of the neighbors during hunting season.
We own out to the center line of our road, and last year my mom went out, in her bright red jacket, to make them remove their car, which they had parked on our land. They had guns. She didn't. They moved.
Half the time, here, there are rabbits in the driveway, and sometimes we see a really beautiful skunk. 'Possum are all over the place, too. We had three large tins of popcorn go stale because we forgot to eat it. Mom dumped all of it on the path behind the house. There was none left the next day. I found a half-drowned baby mouse in the driveway, and we moved it, on a dustpan, up to the grass at the edge of the woods, and when we looked again, it was gone.
These woods are so full of life, and those animals are our neighbors. Eat them? We're not barbarians. And we're glad that you folks are not, either. Can't be thankful without eating Turkey? Sure you can. Here's how.
1 pound dried navy, kidney, baby lima, pinto, or black beans
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Place beans in a large pot and cover them with water completely. Soak
overnight. In the morning, drain and cover with fresh cold water. Cook beans
in liquid, over low heat, for 2 to 3 hours until tender, adding more water as
needed to keep beans from sticking. Drain water from beans.
In a mixing bowl, combine beans, syrup, molasses, and mustard. You may want
to add a little salt. Pour bean mixture into baking dish and bake, covered at
300 degrees F for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bake 30 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Preparation Time: about 5 hours (plus the overnight soaking)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the diced bread on a baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until dry
and lightly browned.
Heat the margarine in a large skillet. Add the red onion and saute over
moderate heat until golden. Add the apple and saute for another 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the bread cubes with the onion and apple mixture.
Add all the remaining ingredients except the apple juice and toss together.
Sprinkle in the apple juice slowly, stirring at the same time to moisten the
ingredients evenly. Transfer the mixture to an oiled shallow 1 1/2-quart
baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned and still slightly moist.
Stir once during the baking time. Transfer to a covered serving container.