The Good Stuff
Today’s guest blogger is Ryan Rogers, Mary Kay Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives. Ryan has been with the Company since 2000, and has also served as Vice-President for the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, which funds research on cancers affecting women and supports programs that seek the elimination of domestic violence. Ryan is also Mary Kay Ash’s youngest grandson:
As the holidays approach and fall finally changes the temperature here in Texas, I start looking forward to my grandmother's favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. My best memories of time spent with her are centered around our family gatherings for the holiday meal at her house. By her house, I’m referring to the round three-bedroom house where she often hosted new Independent Sales Director education. For those in our Mary Kay family that had that experience, I'm sure it was crowded in there! And it was no different when our entire family crammed in there, either!
I didn't get to sit at the "grown-up's table," as I am the youngest of her 13 grandchildren. The kids usually sat in the atrium in the center of her house. Of course, like all families during this special day, most of the activity really took place in the kitchen, anyway. I remember Mary Kay was always in there when we arrived, usually wearing an apron and working away in a very well-organized manner. No surprise there! She always had things very well- planned. Despite the hectic schedule of preparing a meal for a rather large family gathering, she always took the time to spend a few minutes speaking individually with each of us. Of course she would always ask how we were, and the answer had to be "great." She would ask about school, about sports we played, and she loved to hear our success stories. She really did make all of us feel important, even if we did have to sit at the kids’ table! Now her little mean poodle GiGi, was another story, I think she only liked Grandmother!
All of the food was displayed beautifully in ornate serving pieces. But there were always two versions of her signature dish: jalapeno cornbread stuffing. I remember little handwritten signs next to each version in the serving line. One read: "The good stuff." The other: "Tenderfoot." Needless to say, she was fond of the spicier version!
One of the last times we gathered for Thanksgiving at her house, I remember being invited to sit at the grown-ups’ table, the only time I can remember doing so. I think I sat between Mary Kay and my Dad, but I know for certain that I sat next to her. I can close my eyes and still see her loving eyes and sweet little smile. I can still remember the ornate gold-plated silverware and glassware, as we quietly sat together and ate as a family on Thanksgiving. I'm sure I had two helpings of the good stuff...
P.S. Since the posting last week, I have had some requests for Mary Kay’s Jalapeno Dressing recipe. Here it is, and I hope you will enjoy “The Good Stuff” with your family and loved ones.
Mary Kay's Jalapeno Dressing Recipe for Turkey (a.k.a. "The Good Stuff")
• 2 cups yellow cornmeal
• 2 cups flour, sifted
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 8 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups milk
• ½ cup soft shortening
• ¼ - ½ cup cooking oil or bacon drippings (if available)
• 1 bunch green onions, chopped
• ½ whole stalk celery, including leaves, chopped
• 1 cup water
• 3 cups corn bread, from recipe above, crumbled
• 4 cups day-old bread, crumbled
• 2-3 cups turkey broth or more as needed for moist texture
• 1 cup jalapeño juice
• Salt and pepper to taste
• chopped jalapeños to taste
Sift together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add eggs, milk and shortening. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Bake in two 8-inch square baking pans in a preheated 425˚ oven for 20-25 minutes and set aside. Sauté onions and celery in cooking oil or bacon drippings. Add one cup water, cover, cook until barely tender, about 7 minutes. Combine with last 6 ingredients. Add water until right consistency, if necessary. Stuff turkey with dressing and place excess dressing in greased casserole and bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes.
Serving suggestions: If you prefer not to stuff the turkey, make an extra casserole dish and freeze one casserole for later.