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My grandfather, affectionately dubbed “GaGa” by his first grandchild, was a veterinarian and had a profound appreciation for the animals that supply us food and nourishment. He was also a Texan, so he made a mean Thanksgiving dinner! In his memory, here is his famous recipe for Turkey and Dressing that I now make using Tillamook Butter.

INGREDIENTS (for a 10# turkey):

1 package herb seasoned bread crumbs (not cubes!)
1 package cornbread crumbs
2 chopped onions
4 cups diced celery
¾ cup Tillamook Butter
4-8 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 cup white raisins
1 can sliced water chestnuts
½ tablespoon salt
4 cups water
Approx. 1 cup flour



Simmer celery, onion, and butter in 4 cups water until tender (about 20 minutes). Mix seasonings, crumbs, raisins, and water chestnuts. Add onions, celery and broth (as needed). Add at least 3 tablespoons fat from cooking giblets. Should be moist but not goopy. Taste for seasoning.


Take out giblets and neck to simmer in about 5 cups water in a separate pot. Wash and dry turkey thoroughly. Rub inside and out with softened butter. Sift flour over all of it – top and bottom. Stuff with bread crumb mixture, cover with a tent made of foil, and bake according to directions.


Melt 8 tablespoons fat from turkey pan in a pan. Add 8 tablespoons flour gradually. Whisk together while it browns. Slowly add 4 cups broth (made from cooking giblets and neck together). Season. Might need to supplement with chicken broth. Whisk, whisk, whisk until there are no lumps.

My mother says: “GaGa made the best turkey and dressing. He spent lots of time “coddling” the turkey – poking at it while it thawed out, rubbing it with butter, trussing it up. (Oh! And he only got the turkeys that had the least pre-done to it – no self-basting, no injected with this or that.)  Then he watched it carefully while cooking.  It was always very moist, and the dressing was delicious. Happy Thanksgiving!”

Turkey image: Flickr/Gerry (Creative Commons)


J R Nicholl

Hi, niece Gillian!
What a great Thanksgiving day recipe collection and writeup with pics of my dad and his recipes!
Can only sit here and salivate, thinking of turkey and dressing and gravy, Ga Ga Style. And just that much better if he could have used Tillamook butter!
J R Nicholl, Cullowhee, NC

November 24th, 2011 at 7:56 am

Tillamook Team

Thanks Uncle JR! Thinking of you and the family this holiday season. Here's to lots of great food and great people! Much love!

- Gillian, of the Tillamook Team

November 29th, 2011 at 5:24 pm
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