When Thanksgiving rolls around next week, Agnes and Buddie Page will certainly be remembering, fondly, the many holiday meals they shared with their son, Dameron. Many of those dishes were made each year at the holidays and are still very special to them.
Agnes sat down recently and wrote all about the passion for cookbooks, recipes and trying foods that she shared with her son, and she let me read those pages. In her writing, she poured out her heart and her grief, which is still very fresh, since Dameron’s death in April 2011 at age 35.
Agnes said she learned to cook from her mother. “I was the daughter that was always in the kitchen watching my mother cook and helping whenever she would let me,” she wrote. And Dameron learned from her. “During Dameron’s childhood, the two of us spent lots of time in the kitchen making cupcakes, candies and all sorts of party goods for school, church, 4-H or whatever the occasion.”
As an adult, Dameron continued reading cookbooks, saving recipes, taking cooking classes and watching cooking shows, his mother said.
“He was always sharing new ideas he had learned with my sister and me,” Agnes wrote. “He loved to try complicated recipes, unlike me who is always looking for a simple and quick recipe to try.”
When the holidays rolled around, Dameron would visit from his home in Chapel Hill. At Thanksgiving, he and his mother would work ahead to make all of their favorite dishes.
“We had so much fun decorating the dining room for the holiday and choosing as many different tableware, dishes and accessories as possible,” she wrote. “We wanted every table setting to be different for every meal.”
The Page family shared a very traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and one of their favorite side dishes was Dameron’s cranberry salad. I gave the recipe a try last week, and my husband and I both loved it and kept going back to have another bowl over the weekend. The congealed salad is similar to one I’ve made for years, but Dameron’s addition of apple and crushed pineapple to strawberry Jell-O and whole berry cranberry sauce makes it even more delicious!
I hope you’ll try the congealed salad, if not for Thanksgiving, then for another occasion.
And, thank you Agnes Page for sharing your story and your recipes and for reminding me and my readers how thankful we should be for family and good memories.
Dameron's Cranberry Salad
- 1 16-oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1 large box strawberry Jell-O
- 2 cups hot water
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1 cup finely chopped apple (Dameron used Granny Smith)
- 1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans*
You can also add in oranges or fresh cranberries if desired.
* I used walnuts because I was out of pecans.
Submitted by Agnes Page in memory of her son, Dameron Page