The Morning Dispatch: Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Plus: Your Morning Dispatchers reflect on the year’s blessings.

Happy Wednesday! In case you’re looking for new things to worry about, NASA and SpaceX launched a mission overnight seeking to test humanity’s ability to change the course of space objects “should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future.”

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • In what the administration described as an attempt to temporarily lower oil and gas prices, President Biden announced Tuesday the Department of Energy will make available releases of approximately 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the next few months. The move, the administration said, is being undertaken in coordination with several countries—China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom—that also plan to release some of their national stockpiles.

  • Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday amid Russia’s buildup of military forces along the country’s border with Ukraine. Ukrainian Brig. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov told The Military Times this week that Russia is preparing to attack as early as January of next year, and CNN reported Tuesday the Biden administration is considering sending additional military advisers and equipment to Ukraine.

  • The U.S. Navy announced that an American warship once again sailed through the geopolitically sensitive Taiwan Strait on Tuesday as part of the United States’ “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian condemned the move as “deliberate disruption and sabotage,” declaring that the United States should stop “making provocations,” and “playing with fire.”

  • A federal jury found on Tuesday that Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart pharmacies were liable for contributing to the opioid crisis in two Ohio counties. A federal judge has yet to decide how much the companies owe in damages and spokespeople for the pharmacies said they plan to appeal, but the verdict could set a precedent for thousands of similar such cases.

  • The January 6 select committee announced Tuesday it had issued subpoenas to several extremist group leaders—including Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys and Elmer Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers—in response to their groups’ involvement in “violence both leading up to and on January 6th.”

What Your Morning Dispatchers Are Grateful For

We’ll be back to the news on Monday, but we wanted to devote some space, given tomorrow’s holiday, to taking stock of our blessings and all that we have to be thankful for as we rapidly approach 2.5 years of TMD.

From Declan: Working on today’s TMD at home in Chicago with a pug on my lap and a retriever at my feet, it’s hard to be anything but grateful. Family and friends have made it through the past two years happy and healthy, a last-minute phone call from a medical school admissions officer this summer meant my brilliant girlfriend and I wouldn’t have to date long distance after all, and Justin Fields fell to the Bears at the 11th pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Not necessarily in that order.

But in the context of this newsletter, I’m particularly grateful to be here at The Dispatch, a growing institution full of wonderful people that—because of your support—has taken off beyond our wildest dreams. It’s been humbling to watch this community grow, and to get to know so many of you (virtually) over the past few years. Thank you for putting your trust in us, and for making TMD a part of your daily routine.

From Ryan: This year I’m thankful for science. In my family, we don’t do small holiday gatherings. My dad is one of six siblings and my mom is one of five, so when the holidays roll around both sides take the “more the merrier” approach to celebrations. So, last year—at the height of the pandemic—shrinking the usual traditions of twenty people or more down to just a few was hard. I remember wondering at the time how many years of the smaller gatherings we’d have to endure until we could get back to the big parties. 

The fact that it only took one holiday season to get back to normal is truly nothing short of a miracle. There are so many medical professionals and researchers who none of us will ever know that deserve credit for getting us here this Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for them, and the science behind their work, that let us all gather around the table, eat too much food, drink too much booze, and celebrate the simple act of being together this year. 

From Audrey: This Thanksgiving, I’m incredibly grateful for my family, my friends, the new albums we got this year from Lana del Rey, Billie Eillish, and Kanye, and my wonderful colleagues at The Dispatch. It’s not everyday that a 23-year-old journalist gets the opportunity to work with so many brilliant minds at the start of her career. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my kitten Darcy, who keeps Jane Austen’s memory alive and who makes every moment on Capitol Hill an adventure!

From Harvest: Even as the country is still shaking off the dregs of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year gave me a lot of gifts. Among them: visits to see loved ones, a cozy townhouse with the loveliest roommates, and a faithful church small group. I would be remiss not to mention the delights of Birdy’s Young Heart album, Orson Scott Card’s Ender Quintet, and somehow keeping my Monstera Deliciosa alive. And I’m beyond thankful that I got to join the talented, whip-smart folks at The Dispatch. Even if their sarcasm goes over my head 90 percent of the time.

From Charlotte: After more than five years in the “DC-Maryland-Virginia” area, I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a tourist in my own city. Long walks between national monuments, meandering in Smithsonian museums, thrift shopping at Eastern Market, biking through Rock Creek Park, and picking out the perfect fish at the Wharf have all helped me rediscover why so many people visit and move to America’s capital. When I fly South this holiday season for a long-overdue visit, I’m grateful to have a camera roll full of a place I’ve come to call home (even if it is a little colder, meaner, and more political).

From Steve: I’m grateful for my wife, who has had the patience of Job dealing with a husband working at a start-up pace in his early fifties, and our kids, who make us both proud every day. I’m grateful for my parents, back in Wisconsin, whose wisdom and reassurance I still seek on a daily basis, and my siblings, split between Wisconsin and Maryland—God has provided me with the best balcony people. I’m grateful for The Dispatch team, also working at a start-up pace, and the investors, advisers and members who’ve made this whole thing possible. I suppose I have to say I’m especially grateful to have started this thing with Jonah, just in case he reads this (he needs that kind of focused affirmation). And cheese. Always grateful for cheese.

Some of Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Now that we’ve got all that corny mush out of the way, let’s move on to some of your favorite Morning Dispatchers’ favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Wait—apparently we’ve got just a bit more corny mush left to go.

Corn Pudding

Harvest’s housemate, a fellow native of the Bluegrass state, shared her Mamaw’s corn pudding recipe.

  • 1 can cream corn

  • 1 can sweet corn (drained)

  • 1 Box Jiffy corn muffin mix

  • 1 tsp. sugar

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 tbsp. minced onions 

  • 1 stick of butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

  2. Spray 7x11 inch glass cooking dish with cooking spray.

  3. Melt butter in a bowl then add other ingredients. Mix together. Pour into baking dish. 

  4. Bake for one hour until golden brown on top.

Oyster Dressing

There’s nothing like Thanksgiving in the Georgia low country! Charlotte’s grandmother “Mimi” (a proud Morning Dispatch reader) makes dressing—don’t call it “stuffing”—with fresh oysters nestled in the breadcrumbs. Seafood skeptics beware.

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion

  • 2 cups chopped celery

  • 1 stick butter, 1/2 stick melted butter

  • 4 cups buttermilk cornbread

  • 1 cup Pepperidge Farms stuffing mix (optional)

  • 4 cups toasted bread crumbs

  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley (optional)

  • 1 tsp. sage

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 cups chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Pan sauté onion and celery in butter. 

  2. Add to a large bowl with crumbled cornbread, stuffing mix, and bread crumbs. Mix in parsley, sage, eggs, salt, and pepper.

  3. Distribute mixture evenly in a nine-by-thirteen inch pan and add broth.

  4. Dig holes in dressing and add raw oysters. Be sure to recover afterward.

  5. Cover the pan and bake in a 350° F oven for 45 minutes.

  6. Remove and drizzle with melted butter.

  7. Bake for 3 more minutes or until golden brown on top.

Bernie Bars

Calling all peanut butter lovers who are sick of pie! These delicious dessert bars were invented by Audrey’s late Grandmother Bernie, who loved to make giant batches every time she came to visit from Lincoln, Nebraska. And the best part? Just five ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup corn syrup

  • 2 cups peanut butter 

  • 10-11 cups cornflakes, finely crushed

  • 5 or so giant Hershey’s bars

 Directions:

  1. Pour 10-12 cups of corn flakes in a ziploc bag and finely crush.

  2. Mix the sugar and corn syrup in a bowl and bring the mixture just to a boil on the stove, stirring constantly. Once the mixture starts bubbling, immediately take it off the stove and begin stirring in the peanut butter. (If you leave the sugar/corn syrup mixture on the stove for too long the bars won’t be soft!)

  3. Stir in corn flakes, then spread the mixture evenly into a cookie sheet.

  4. Melt chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds so it doesn’t burn, and spread on top of the peanut butter base.

  5. Cool the bars in the fridge then cut them into squares. (Or eat them while they’re hot!)

Pumpkin Cookies

For those who are fans of pumpkin-flavored desserts but not of pie, Ryan’s mom has the solution for you: Pumpkin cookies.

  • 1 cup butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • ½ tsp. ground cloves

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 cup pumpkin

  • ½ cup of dates (optional)

  • ½ cup of nuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix the first three ingredients.

  2. Sift together dry ingredients.

  3. Add dry ingredients to the mixture.

  4. Add vanilla and pumpkin. 

  5. Drop on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350° F.

Pumpkin Cookie Frosting

  • 3 tbsp. butter

  • 4 tbsp. milk

  • ½ cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Boil together for two minutes while stirring constantly.

  2. Cool and add 1 cup of powdered sugar and 3 tsp. Vanilla.

  3. After cookies are cool, put a dab of frosting on each cookie

S’mores Casserole

If you’re getting to the end of Thanksgiving dinner and feeling like you haven’t put on enough weight, go ahead and whip up one of Declan’s all-time favorite desserts. The recipe calls for two full sticks of butter, and those are arguably its healthiest components.

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 ⅔ cups flour

  • 1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 4 large chocolate bars

  • 3 cups marshmallow fluff

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and lightly grease a 9” x 13” glass baking dish, lining it with parchment paper.

  2. In one bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla until mixture thickens.

  3. In another bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly sift dry ingredients into the butter/sugar bowl, beating just until the ingredients come together.

  4. Compress the combined dough into a ball, and cut it in half with a knife. Completely cover the bottom of the baking dish with one half of the dough, smooshing it down to ensure it is spread evenly.

  5. Unwrap the chocolate bars and place them on top of the dough to create an even layer, breaking them into pieces as needed. Then, cover the chocolate with the 3 cups of marshmallow fluff.

  6. Roll the second half of the dough out into a rectangle, and place it atop the chocolate/fluff layer in the dish. Bake at 350° F for 30-35 minutes.

Worth Your Time

  • The Thanksgiving tradition in the Americas dates back nearly 500 years, of course, but it wasn’t observed nationally every year until 1863, when—prompted by a letter from writer and editor Sarah Josepha Hale—President Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving proclamation reportedly written by his Secretary of State, William Seward. “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies,” it reads. “In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.”

Something Festive

There was a lot of debate in the comments last week about when it’s appropriate to start listening to Christmas music, with one side (the correct one) arguing right after Halloween is allowable because there are no Thanksgiving songs. Turns out, however, that there is at least one—and it’s delightful.

Presented Without Comment

Also Presented Without Comment

Also Also Presented Without Comment

Toeing the Company Line

  • For another politics-free Dispatch newsletter, check out the Thanksgiving edition of The Sweep. “Cynicism is too often mistaken for intellect these days, and it is tempting to believe that only a fool would give thanks in a serious, sincere way,” Chris writes. “We live in a sneering age that would make humble thanks seem naïve. … But wise people know that difficult times are the most important ones in which to give thanks. As Calvin Coolidge put it in his first Thanksgiving proclamation, ‘to render thanks for the good that has come to us, and show by our actions that we have become stronger, wiser, and truer by the chastenings which have been imposed upon us.’ We reveal ourselves to worthy stewards of abundance when we give thanks for what we already have.”

  • Bahnsen Group managing partner David Bahnsen is Jonah’s guest on The Remnant this week. The two discuss the moral case for capitalism, the differences between cost-push and demand-pull inflation, and why the Japanification of the American economy won’t bode well for anyone.

  • In his Tuesday French Press (🔒), David tries to explain why he considers himself a libertarian-leaning pro-life classical liberal. “Here’s my invitation to my progressive and nationalist friends—when you see the consequences of government gone wrong, consider giving more liberty a try,” he writes. ”It’s unfashionable in a statist moment, but at its best it has the possibility of unlocking the great energies and virtues of a people all too often stifled by best-intentioned plans of highly imperfect women and men.”

Let Us Know

Let’s recycle a closing question from last year: What are some of the best things that’ve happened in your life the past 365 days? What will you spend tomorrow being thankful for?

Reporting by Declan Garvey (@declanpgarvey), Andrew Egger (@EggerDC), Charlotte Lawson (@lawsonreports), Audrey Fahlberg (@AudreyFahlberg), Ryan Brown (@RyanP_Brown), Harvest Prude (@HarvestPrude), and Steve Hayes (@stephenfhayes).