Recipe Traditions


If you’re a follower of Col. Littleton, you know we’re all about Americana, history and traditions.  When it comes to food, Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions vary from family to family and from north to south and east to west.  These family traditions are deeply imbedded in our psyche and likely go back generations.  If you want to start a real argument, you don’t have to talk politics or theology . . . just ask these simple questions:

  • Is it stuffing or dressing?  (To me, stuffing is what you’re doing when the “dressing” is on the table.)
  • Do you use cornbread or regular bread?  (How about tossing in some biscuits with the cornbread . . . assuming that all of you know what biscuits are?)
  • Do you make it plain and simple with celery and onions or do you throw in oysters, sausage, raisins, apricots, cranberries, apples, mushrooms, rice and other “foreign” objects? (I’m a simple man, so a mushroom or a raisin in my dressing is a definite UFO.)


It’s my opinion that all Southerners are born with the “pecan pie” gene.  And, in our neck of the woods the correct pronunciation is pi kan’ (pi con’) not pe’ kan (pe’ can).  The pecan pie gene is most dominant during the holiday season.  To me, the perfect pecan pie topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream is getting pretty close to Heaven.

There are many variations in pecan pie making. We all kid about our Mother-in-Laws, but I had a wonderful one and man-oh-man could she make a pecan pie.  Luckily for me, she passed the recipe down to my wife.  Pecan pie always makes its way to our holiday table – not only is it delicious, but it keeps her memory alive.


3 eggs (extra large)

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup Karo light corn syrup

1/3 cup melted butter

1 ½ cups pecan pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash of salt

Deep dish unbaked pie shell

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat eggs with a fork.  Stir in sugar.  Stir in corn syrup.  Add melted butter, vanilla and salt and stir until completely incorporated into the mixture.  Stir in pecan pieces.  Pour into pie shell and bake about 50 minutes.  See tips below.

TIPS:  This is a simple recipe, but there are a couple of important points.

  • Do not over bake.  Start checking at 45 minutes.  Gently shake the pie.  If the middle still “jiggles,” bake another 3-5 minutes.  When the middle is just “set” and no longer jiggles, remove from the oven and cool.
  • Best served the same day it’s baked – I don’t like to refrigerate it unless I just have to.
  • Stir by hand.  If you use an electric mixer, it will rise too much.
  • The pie shell is up to you.  You could make your own, but for this recipe the frozen ones work just fine.  Just make sure the shell isn’t cracked, or the crust will rise to the top which you don’t want.

Happy Baking & Happy Thanksgiving,

Susie Littleton

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