Back Stories of Some Thanksgiving Recipes

These are a few of my original favorite recipes, and one of my neighbor’s version of his father’s recipe, along with the stories that created them. We hope you enjoy the stories. Lakehub  wishes you and your family a fulfilling and happy Turkey Day!

Randy Crum’s Pon Haus

This recipe gratefully comes from my neighbor, Randy Crum, who is a discriminating foodie. Randy and I have had many discussions over the last few years on our nextdoor website about the restaurants that are in Sherwood Shores, and the ones that keep opening and going out of business. Randy is pickier than I am about service and food quality. But for me, where we live, it is what it is. We never seem to get perfection. I asked Randy if he would share a recipe for this post, and he sent me this message: 

“My Dad slaughtered pigs, and used the waste meat to make scrapple. (aka pon Haus) Below I included my simplified recipe version. Pon Haus is made with pork.” Randy did not expand on his history, but sent me a link, and I just had to find out more. People actually celebrate National Scrapple Day on November 9, each year in the Mid-Atlantic region. Being from the west, I had never heard about scrapple. Scrapple is an interesting recipe with an American history. 

From the Farmer’s Almanac, “Also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name, pon haus, which translates literally to “pan hare” or rabbit, scrapple is said to have been invented by 17th and 18th-century German colonists who settled near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania. As a result, you’ll find scrapple as a regional favorite in the rural areas near Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and eastern Virginia.

“Created so that hungry, hard-working, prudent rural immigrants could make use of all manner of foodstuffs, scrapple originally consisted of a mixture of pork scraps (head, brains, heart, liver, skin) and other trimmings, boiled with bones attached for flavor (later discarded when a suitable broth was achieved). It was then simmered with cornmeal, wheat flour or sometimes buckwheat flour, onions, and spices like sage and thyme. Formed into loaves and pan-fried, scrapple was typically served at breakfast with apple butter, ketchup, mustard, honey, or maple syrup. 

“While today’s scrapple, available primarily in Mid-Atlantic area grocery stores, adheres to different standards using FDA-approved animal anatomy, it is still a tasty tradition popularly served alongside sunny-side up eggs and toast. With the current trend in lighter, healthier eating, scrapple is also known in a later incarnation to be made with turkey instead of pork components, or with beef for a different flavor entirely. Scrapple is also appearing more and more on the menus of heritage-based restaurants in Brooklyn, NY, and other places.”


  • 1 pound Ground beef
  • 1 pound Pork sausage 
  • 5 cups water 
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Sage 
  • 1 tablespoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper 
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper 
  • 1/2  teaspoon cayenne 



Place meat in a stock pot and cover with 5 cups of water. 

Boil meat until done. Drain and reserve the stock liquid. 

Measure 5 cups of stock, (add water if necessary), and return to stock pot. 

Process the meat to break up any large lumps. 

Add to stock pot meat, cornmeal, and the balance of ingredients. 

Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes stirring constantly. 

Pour mixture into 2 loaf pans and refrigerate until completely chilled. 

UN-mold scrapple. 

Slice, lightly flour, and fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides in oil.

Kendall’s Pea Salad 

This pea salad became a favorite and is still often requested from my friends. I was dating the the son of long-time Democratic Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Al Terrill. So the first year, I was invited to Thanksgiving at Al’s house. It was a very nice Turkey Day, and Al’s secretary made her office pea salad every year. I love to cook.

The next year, Al called me and said his secretary had quit making pea salad, and asked if I thought I could replicate the pea salad because he could not imagine Thanksgiving without pea salad. I was really nervous. I was nervous the first year just visiting the Oklahoma political idol the first year, much more so trying to copy a favorite dish for his family dinner the second year. How was I going to remember what was in something I ate once a year earlier?

So I started researching vintage pea salad recipes, because his secretary probably grew up in rural Oklahoma and was in her 80s, which is why she quit making pea salad for the office and retired. I really had nothing to worry about. After Thanksgiving, Al told his son it was better than his secretary’s recipe, and I think it was the maple bacon that did it. Al’s son and I did not make it to a third Turkey Day, so I was off the hook, but it became my holiday dish, and I never knew Al’s secretary’s name. 


  • 2-10 oz packages of frozen baby peas, or grown peas if they don’t have baby peas LOL (early peas)
  • 3/4 pound (12 oz) sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 6-oz can of whole black olives 
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 lb maple-smoked bacon, otherwise any pound of good smoked bacon brand, maple is best
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • ¼ cup sour cream  (salt & pepper to taste in dressing)


Hard boil the eggs, let them cool, and peel them.

Thaw the peas. Pat them dry or spread them out to dry in a single layer. 

Crispy fry or bake the bacon.

Chop the red bell pepper into 1/4 inch strips and about 1/2 inch long.

Chop the cheese into less than 1/2 inch but larger than 1/4 inch cubes. 

Chop about 3/4 to 1 cup onion finely. Onion is to taste. 

Slice the olives and dry them. 

Chop the eggs, but  mix them in last with the mayo and sour cream.

Mix the mayo and sour cream.

Gently mix all the vegetables and then gently mix in mayo/sour cream dressing. 

Any Chef’s Creamed Cornbread

This recipe took me about 10 years to perfect. And I so wanted to make it my own, only to find out that it had been created by many chefs already. It is still my favorite cornbread recipe, and I like spicy cornbread. My original recipe is locked up in an old computer with a broken screen that I keep meaning to have mined. I cannot remember where this one came from, but it is very close to my original recipe. 


  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon New Mexico red chile powder or ancho chile powder: Use a pure chile powder, like New Mexico red or ancho chile powder, not a premixed chili seasoning powder.
  • 2 large eggs beaten (use 3 eggs if you want it spongier).
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1-14 1/2 ounce can creamed corn half drained
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack, cheddar, or muenster cheese, shredded
  • Jalapenos to taste, chopped or sliced, I use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup Take out seeds for less heat
  • If you want to make it a whole meal, add 1 1/2 pounds of chopped ham steak. 


Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl with a whisk. Add chile powder if using. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil. 

Using a large spoon, gently fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until a batter is formed. Don't over mix.

Using a colander, or mesh strainer, drain the creamed corn. Let the corn sit in the colander for 2 minutes. Give it a couple of shakes to remove more of the liquid before adding to the batter. You don't want it completely drained.

Using a large spoon, fold in the corn, cheese, and jalapenos to the batter.

Pour batter into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking pan or bake a little longer for an 8-inch pan. Use the back of the spoon to smooth batter into the pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is light-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the heat and let cool for about an hour before slicing.

Libby’s Pumpkin Cheesecake

Years ago, sometime in the 1980s, I sent off for a free cook booklet from a Libby’s pumpkin can label. The cook booklet came, and I had it for years, until one Thanksgiving, I left it in my shopping cart at the grocery store in 2015. I have been kicking myself hard ever since. It was full of great pumpkin recipes. I made almost all of them.

I called Libby’s, which Nestlé bought in 1970. But of course, they knew nothing about that old cook booklet. Thankfully, some of the recipes are so delicious that people posted them on the internet. This is one of them. One child and a dog have stolen these pies from me the night before Thanksgiving or when I was making them. This recipe makes 2 1/2 pies, and I do not know why, but it does.  

So, when I first got the cook booklet, It immediately drew me to the pumpkin cheesecake recipe, and my instinct was right. This is a scrumptious pie. I made the pies two nights in advance of Turkey Day that first year. I put them in the fridge, and the next day, Wednesday, I came home from work and my child had eaten 1 1/2 pies after school before I had arrived home. I was going to give one away. 

I rescued a 75% hybrid timber wolf in 2010. Her name is Waya. Boy, did we have a time with food and trash when she was a baby, which is why hybrid wolves usually end up in kill shelters by the time they are three. It took about three years for her to understand she would never go hungry. For 2012, as usual, I was making my pumpkin cheesecake for Turkey Day. 

There are four steps in making this pie. First you make the crust, then the cheesecake filling. Waya was about two-years-old and had learned to steal food without making any noise. Now I’ve never had a dog with a sweet tooth, but I do in Waya, and this is how I found out. I had a horseshoe-shaped kitchen counter then, and the prep counter top was opposite the sinks. 

I went to wash the mixing bowls and utensils before I finished the pie. It only took a few minutes. I turned around to finish the pie, and Waya had quietly eaten it all by putting her front legs on the counter and slurping up the pie as quickly as she could. She was still standing there and almost done with the entire 2 1/2 pie filling when I finished the washing the dishes. Waya still steals food. I accidentally left a package of cream cheese out yesterday, it is gone. 


Remember this is the original recipe. I was so surprised that it made much more than one pie. The Libby’s test kitchen did not correct the faux pas before publishing, so have two pie crusts ready, or adjust ingredients. I always make 2 1/2 pies though. 

Crust: Make 2

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter


  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 16 ounce can Libby’s solid pack pumpkin (1 3/4 cups) 
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 fluid ounce can undiluted evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • 16 ounces sour cream at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For Crust

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar in a medium bowl. Press into springform or pie pan, adjust for 8- or 9-inch pans. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees, but do not allow to brown and cool. 

For Cheesecake

Beat cream cheese, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in large mixing bowl until fluffy with mixer. Beat in eggs, pumpkin, and evaporated milk. Add cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well. Pour into crust. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes until edge is set and/or toothpick comes out clean. 

For Topping

Combine sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl. Spread over warm cheesecake. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes and cool. Chill for several hours or overnight. 

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GOOD. Water normal stained; 65 degrees; 2.55 feet below pool. Striped bass fishing is good with gulls working active fish around main lake river ledges in 60-70 feet of water. Drift live shad or flukes suspended 30-40 feet down. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are fair on live shad along the bluffs, and the main lake points off the banks. Swimbaits are landing catches off the boulders and on the clay banks. Catfish are good, drifting large cut shad chunks along deep flats off the river channels in 50-60 feet of water. Bigger fish will start to move shallower with colder water temperatures. Crappie are slow on jigs and minnows fishing brush in 10-15 feet of water and around docks. Report by Jacob Orr, Lake Texoma Guaranteed Guide Service. Striped bass are good with daily limits under the birds. Fish midlake schools with slabs, swimbaits and live bait. There is some deadstick action. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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