Thanksgiving 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, is going to be different. – If you live in a state where the governor has maxed out your dinner table at ten, just be smart about your choices and quantities or you could have a neighbor drop a dime on you, “I tell you I just saw them unload five boxes of Stovetop Stuffing, that’s not normal!”

This year won’t be a "normal" Thanksgiving and for a variety of reasons, it’ll just be my wife Kathy and me.

The Doocy family around the table at Thanksgiving.

The Doocy family around the table at Thanksgiving.

I’ve been thinking a lot back to earlier years when we were all together and the only masks our kids wore were of the Power Rangers.

Going through some family photographs I found a great one of Kathy about thirty years ago making an early Thanksgiving dinner when we lived in Virginia just outside Washington, D.C.


She has such a big smile as she bakes a batch of Pillsbury crescent rolls, behind her the empty turkey pan, the bird already parked on a platter.

Kathy Doocy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving with crescent rolls coming out of the oven.

Kathy Doocy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving with crescent rolls coming out of the oven.

Behind that, the imported fruit and herb tile that I installed myself to save money.

Of course, I didn’t know how to do it when I started, but I got a book from Home Depot, and I’ve been doing kitchen backsplash ever since. My grout lines are great.

We loved that kitchen and made a lot of great memories there.

The Doocy family at Thanksgiving in Virginia.

The Doocy family at Thanksgiving in Virginia.

A few years later, when we were moving to New Jersey, we needed help cleaning the house—fast—so we hired a cleaning lady who we were told was expensive but fast, and when she left the house it was gleaming.

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Next day, the home inspector called and said that he couldn’t approve the sale because the inside of the oven was ruined. Apparently our expensive cleaning lady had used scouring pads and abrasive oven cleaner that wrecked the self-cleaning function.

Who knew?

When the new owners moved in they had a brand-new oven that we could never afford. You’re welcome!

Looking at those early Thanksgiving photos, we had the same menu as today, with a few exceptions.

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In the beginning, Kathy would just microwave a box of corn, dump it in a bowl, add a pat of butter and dinner was served.


Then, after a visit to the legendary chicken joint the Brookville Hotel in Kansas, she asked the waitress for the secret to their creamed-style corn.

“Hold on,” the waitress said, and returned to the table with the secret recipe professionally printed on a postcard. Their secret ingredient was whipping cream.

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After making this new favorite for twenty-five consecutive Thanksgivings, Kathy was on the hunt for a new corn dish, and we found it during one of our summer vacations to the Low Country of South Carolina, when we tried spoonbread.

Which didn’t make any sense, because it wasn’t served with a spoon and it certainly wasn’t bread. It’s more of a soufflé of corn. You could call it "corn soufflé," but spoonbread just sounds like somebody’s grandma made it with love, and it’s one of our favorite recipes from the holiday chapter of our #1 New York Times Bestseller, "The Happy in a Hurry Cookbook." (See below for the actual recipe.).

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2020 has been a challenging year, we know you’ve run out of things to cook, so we hope you’ll consider making this really easy recipe for your Thanksgiving table.


It's a perfect complement to your turkey and green bean casserole, it takes only five minutes to prep, and cleanup is easy. — And it’s not going to destroy your oven . . . use the cleaning lady for that.


Excerpted from the "Happy in a Hurry Cookbook

Makes 9 servings

Cooking spray

2 large eggs

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half or milk

One 8.5-ounce box corn muffin mix (Jiffy brand works great)

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

One 14.75-ounce can cream-style sweet corn

One 15.25-ounce can whole corn, drained

1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

2 jalapeño peppers, halved, seeded, and minced (optional)

1. Adjust an oven rack to its highest position and preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat an 8 × 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the ricotta and half-and-half and mix until smooth-ish. Add the corn muffin mix, sugar, salt, and pepper and stir until just combined. Fold in the creamed and regular corn and stir in the Cheddar and jalapeños (if using) for a little color.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the spoonbread is golden on top and the center is no longer jiggly, 35 to 45 minutes.

4. Let it rest a few minutes, cut it into 9 squares, and serve.

Adapted from Steve & Kathy Doocy’s "The Happy In A Hurry Cookbook." Click here to order.

Used with permission of William Murrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

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