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The dishes the IPR staff look forward to every Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: some keep it traditional, some enjoy friendsgiving, and for others the holiday is a day of remembrance.

For those who are gathering together next Thursday, food is likely a focal point of the day. Members of the Iowa Public Radio staff shared some of their favorite holiday comfort foods that they're looking forward to cooking (and eating) this year.

Jason Burns | Broadcast Operations Manager

What I'm making: Dill Dip
"It’s not the holidays without good old fashioned Dill Dip. Normally used as a dip for a veggie try, I’ve also found it’s great on pretzels, chips, and crackers.

"VERY old school, but very good. This transcribed notecard recipe was copied out of my grandma’s Norway Lutheran Church cookbook many, many years ago."

Kelly Edmister| Director of Finance

What I'm looking forward to eating: Dressing
"It has lots of sage in it after all the cooks in the family weigh in on it. And it comes out of a roasting pan, and not the turkey."

Andrea Hansen | Development Director

What I'm making: Roasted Carrots
"This side dish adds some color and wee bit of heat to the meal my family serves."

Madeleine King | Membership Communications Coordinator

What I'm looking forward to eating: "Any sort of cheesy potato variety"
"They're cheesy potatoes, what's not to love?"

What I'm making: Maple & Butter Carrots
"Cut enough carrots to feed the family into medallions and cook on stove with a Paula-Dean-recipe-amounts of butter and maple syrup. You can also bake/broil them in the oven for a crispier top. Pro tip: sprinkle on some smoked flaky salt.

"This was a staple at the King house growing up and always reminds me of family dinners on cold nights. It also has no nutritional value, making it Buddy the Elf approved!"

Charity Nebbe | Host of Talk of Iowa

What I'm making: Chocolate Pecan Pie
"Chocolate pecan pie is my favorite Thanksgiving dessert. I know that I could have it any time of the year, but I choose to make it only for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It feels like a special and delicious part of the holidays.

"More than any food this year, I'm hoping that we'll get to have a large family gathering. My in-laws normally host everyone with a table that stretches all the way through their dining room and living room. It's been two years since we've seen many of these relatives face-to-face, and I hope thatbooster shots and child vaccinations make it possible for all of us to get together this year."
Recipe here

Christina Nimry | Senior Account Executive

What I'm making: Duchessa Style Potatoes
"It’s delicious and a little more exciting then regular mashed potatoes (which I also still love)."
Recipe here

Amy O'Shaughnessy | Membership Manager

What I'm looking forward to eating: "Honestly, mashed potatoes — with butter and gravy at Thanksgiving Dinner (2 p.m.) and then made into potato cakes for Thanksgiving remix later in the day!... In our house we have to make many pounds of mashed potatoes in hopes of having some left over to make potato cakes."

What I'm making: "This is my grandmother's recipe, which in her memory I'll keep in true grandmother form: sparse and conversational.

"Take the leftover mashed potatoes from the fridge and form them into patty-type portions. Preheat your skillet with butter, not oil. Flour both sides of the potato cake with flour, salt, and pepper and cook in the hot pan. Try not to turn over until it's golden brown.

Kate Payne | Eastern Iowa Reporter

What I'm looking forward to eating: "So hard to choose! But I guess I have to go with stuffing!"

What I'm making: Sweet potato pie
"For all y'all pumpkin pie people out there, I'm going to ask you to give sweet potato pie its due this year. Already have sweet potato casserole on the menu? Not a problem. This pie is quite possibly the best thing I have ever made. When I brought this to a friendsgiving, I felt compelled to apologize to the other guests who brought pie because this was so good it was rude. This is a recipe by Edna Lewis (a grand dame of Southern cooking). My advice: roast the sweet potatoes, don't boil them. Make an all-butter crust from scratch. Critical: finely mince some crystallized ginger and mix that in with your fresh whipped cream to dollop on top. Eat warm."

Jon Petersen | Account Executive

What I'm making: Squash Pie
"Pumpkin pie is one of the best Thanksgiving traditions. It is delicious, and I love it. However, it doesn't hold a hand-dipped-candle to butternut squash pie. My wife has been making this pie since our first Thanksgiving together, and it is my favorite thing…maybe ever! It is flavorful without being quite as spice-heavy as a pumpkin pie. Creamy and rich, but still light enough to be able eat two or three pieces. Fortunately, the recipe usually gets doubled, so for a couple of days after we also get to have this as my all-time favorite breakfast food."

Matt Sieren | Digital/IT Manager

What I'm making: Scalloped Oysters
"This is an old Taste of Home cookbook recipe that has always been served on my Mom's side for Thanksgiving. As a kid, I (and my siblings and cousins) avoided it, — the texture, the smell and the taste can be too much for most kids. As a young teenager I decided to try it, and a year later tried it again. Ultimately, I've come to love the texture and saltiness of it. It pairs great with a rich dressing and turkey with gravy.

"Now, the smell takes me back to the farm in Lockridge and the excitement of the holiday, and serves as the kick-off of a month of celebration and time with family."

Katarina Sostaric | State Government Reporter

What I'm looking forward to eating: Mlinci
"It's the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving turkey because it soaks up all the roast turkey flavor!

"This is one way my parents have added traditional foods from their home country of Croatia to my family's Thanksgiving dinner. It can be difficult to find the thin flatbread that you need to make this dish in the U.S. Sometimes my parents buy the flatbread in Croatia and save it for the holidays!"

Caitlin Troutman | Digital News Producer

What I'm making: Cherry Pie
"I know it's not a classic like pumpkin or sweet potato pie, but it's a family favorite.

"My grandmother made this pie for every holiday, church carry-in, family reunion, and sometimes just a lucky, regular lunch (she also made homemade pie crusts — with lard — but I'm not that industrious). It's not just a family favorite, it's a community favorite in the town where my dad grew up.

"At the end of her life she had dementia, and as a consequence probably taught me to make this pie a dozen times. I loved it every time."

Catherine Wheeler | "All Things Considered" Host

What I'm looking forward to eating: Mashed potatoes and gravy

"They are the perfect pair on any Thanksgiving table, salty, creamy, the perfect texture companion. My tip is to add gravy as you eat to keep your food warm."

What I'm making: Swiss melody
"This is a family tradition. It's not anyone's favorite dish in particular, but we have to have it around. Something about a cheesy, well-coated broccoli floret hits the spot. My dad usually makes this and we sprinkle on extra French fried onions on top."


The famous (at least among public radio fans) recipe for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish

As the newsletter product manager, Madeleine (she/her) coordinates and writes for Iowa Public Radio’s newsletter portfolio, including The Daily Digest and Political Sense.
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio