A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson

Before I start my Thanksgiving story, I have one more hunting story.  This one was a surprise to me when it happened and is still an amazing incident as I look back on it.  My mother was never a hunter in spite of living on the farm.  She was not into killing any more than I am.  She felt sorry for the pigs and calves that my father butchered to put meat on our winter tables.  For the 65 years I knew her, she never changed her attitude of being kind to animals and marveling at the sight of wild animals.

One year when my brother-in-law brought a friend of his to the farm, my mother changed her whole personality for one November night.  The men had not been lucky on their hunting trips and they were eager to shoot a deer.  My brother-in-law was all about following the laws.  His friend Charlie Dutton (I always thought his name was Al Dutton, but my nephew has advised me that it was Charlie) did not have the same qualms about following the laws. 

After some conversation over a bottle of ginger brandy, Charlie and my mother took a ride down through our fields.  It was around eight pm so we all know that a ride through the fields was not a smart move on their part.  As luck would have it, a deer appeared in their headlights.  Charlie had gone prepared.  He had his rifle and a heavy-duty flashlight.  While my mother held the light, Charlie shot the deer.  My kind-to-animals mother turned into a poacher.

I think my father had to go down in the field to help get the deer home because my brother-in-law was so angry with his friend.  He wanted nothing to do with the whole incident…and that was the last time that Charlie Dutton visited the farm.

The next day my mother spent a lot of time on the couch, but last March when she was in the hospital telling this story to my cousins, she did not mention the ginger brandy.  My cousins were practically rolling on the floor laughing at her story, but she demonstrated selective amnesia in her last telling of this event.  Since she remembered everything that happened years ago until her death, I can not believe that she forgot the influence of that ginger brandy.

While Mamma was very ill and in the hospital, she entertained all visitors with tales of the “old days.’ She remembered all of the happenings (except the ginger brandy) and for that all of us were thankful.

This week I promised I would look for a vegetable side dish for the Thanksgiving holidays.  My choice is for Stuffed Acorn Squash because it is healthy recipe and may be prepared in a slow cooker.

Stuffed Acorn Squash


Three small (1 and one quarter pound each) acorn squash

Five tablespoons dry instant brown rice

Three tablespoons dried cranberries

Three tablespoons diced celery

Three tablespoons minced onion

Pinch of ground or dried sage

One tablespoon butter, divided

Three tablespoons orange juice

One half cup water

1. Slice off points on the bottoms of the squash so they will stand up in the slow cooker. 

Slice off tops and discard.  Scoop out seeds.  Place squash in slow cooker.

2. Combine rice, cranberries, celery, onion and sage.  Stuff into squash.

3. Dot with butter.

4. Pour one tablespoon orange juice into each squash.

5. Pour water into bottom of slow cooker.

6. Cover.  Cook on low two and one-half hours.

7. Serve with chicken or turkey breasts.

This is really good for vegetables lovers.  A note on the recipe suggests that microwaving the whole squash on high for five minutes to soften the skin will make the squash easier to slice.  Enjoy.