My mom, Ruby K., is the hardest worker I know. At 84, she still keeps busy… sewing, gardening and decorating her home in nearby Florence, Oregon. But of all the rooms in her house, the kitchen is where Mom spends most of her time, preparing appetizing meals, desserts and more.

All of Mom’s meals are five-star, but the one I will always cherish is this turkey dinner that’s perfect for the holidays.

Whenever I think about her impressive Rolled-Up Turkey, I can almost smell its wonderful aroma. It starts with a deboned turkey that’s flattened and rolled up with a scrumptious Southern-style corn bread stuffing.

For side dishes, Mom serves a colorful trio. The festive Cranberry Gelatin Mold is a tangy holiday favorite. The crunchy Sweet-Sour Red Cabbage gets its sweet-tart flavor from vinegar and maraschino cherry juice. And her Peas in Cheese Sauce is creamy and comforting.

It’s difficult to leave room for dessert, but you can’t turn down a slice of her yummy Caramel-Crunch Pumpkin Pie!

Longtime Cook

Mom’s had plenty of practice in the kitchen. She started cooking at the age of 12 for a family of 15 as well as relatives, friends and farmhands during threshing season. As a wife and mother, she cooked nourishing meals every day for our family—my dad; me; my sister, Gretchen; and my brother, Colin.

Dad was a carpenter, and Mom often worked alongside him. She also sewed clothes for my sister and me…with matching outfits for our dolls. But she always found time to make cinnamon rolls, breads, cakes and pies. There were even baked goods on camping trips because the tent had a gas stove with an oven.

Mom still loves to cook and bake, especially homemade soups and desserts, and until a couple years ago, she canned fruit, vegetables and meat. But now the big, festive dinners are held at someone else’s house or at my niece’s restaurant.

Our family must have caught the cooking bug from Mom. My brother and sister are both good cooks, and I was a cook at the University of Oregon for 15 years. Even my son, Daren, married a wonderful cook, Karen, who works as a food service manager.

When Mom got married, she told my dad that a 50-pound bag of flour had top priority when they moved their belongings west from Oklahoma. I’m sure glad cooking was so important to her because we reaped the rewards! I hope you’ll reward your family by serving her meal.


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