Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I love turkey stuffing!
To be specific, I love my husband Ken’s recipe for stuffing. But it was not always that way. When we were first married, I was so excited about planning the best Thanksgiving meal ever. I really wanted to impress my new mother and father-in-law. And so, I announced to Ken that I would be using a traditional East Coast stuffing recipe with oysters. “Oyster stuffing,” I told him with a big smile. “It’s the best. The Earecksons have been enjoying it at Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.” Ken gave me this look like, “Oysters? You gotta to be kidding. No way would I eat oysters. They’re slimy; they’re gross. No, we’re not doing that. I want my mother’s stuffing.” “Okay,” I replied. “So what makes that stuffing so special?” And with a deadpan expression, he replied, “Oscar Mayer bologna.”
Well, that was time for me to give him a look like, “Bologna? Your mother doesn’t use sausage in her stuffing? Or giblets? You guys use bologna?” “Yeah,” Ken said. “The cheap kind, too. Oscar Mayer – it’s got lots of salt and grease.”
Okay, what am I to do here? I’m a newlywed. This is my first Thanksgiving, and I really, really want to impress the Tada family with my menu. But bologna rather than oyster stuffing? Well, this was not a hill to die on. I kept thinking of Proverbs 17, “Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting and conflict.” And so, that week when I got groceries, I was comparing packages of bologna for their salt and butter content. Ken gave me his mother’s recipe, and I was startled to see a small sheet of paper with handwritten notes – some mushrooms, a handful of onions; she wrote “a little bit of celery here to taste.” Then diced bologna – as much as you want. This was not a recipe. But, I gave it the college try. Ken said to me, “Make sure you add lots of bologna.” Well, the recipe did not call for that, but Ken is “he who must be obeyed.” And a few hours later when the Tada bologna stuffing was dished out next to the turkey and potatoes – you know what? It was delicious! There’s nothing like salt and grease to make things taste great.
And so, this week at our Thanksgiving table, guess what? Ken and I will serve it up again, as we have done so for the past 38 years. And man is it good with leftovers; turkey sandwiches with a chunk of stuffing between slices of white bread with mayo. And, you know, we have improved on this stuffing recipe since my mother-in-law’s handwritten instructions, and so, if you have a family member – probably a guy – who loves a lot of salt, a lot of grease, Oscar Mayer, then visit my radio page today at joniradio.org and download Ken’s recipe. I’ve got a great photo of him there cooking up his turkey. Again, that’s joniradio.org. Oh, and one more thing. Those oysters?! I snuck them in that first Thanksgiving! I made oyster stew. But only my father-in-law enjoyed it. Everyone else looked at those plump little guys floating in cream and said, “Oysters?!”
Well, hey, from all of us at Joni and Friends, have a great Thanksgiving week celebrating your family traditions around the table. And while you’re at joniradio.org, pick up your free gift, my pamphlet “A Thankful Heart in a World of Hurt.” It’s the perfect read to inspire a heart of gratitude around your table. And finally, this is such a heartwarming week, it is, so may your home be a house of feasting with no conflict. Only peace, grace and joy. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Joni and Friends!
In this 14-page pamphlet, Joni helps you cultivate a grateful heart by looking at the wisdom of Scripture. This pamphlet addresses questions like: How can I really give thanks for all things? How can I cultivate a grateful spirit? How is it possible to “Rejoice in the Lord always”?