Edith Brush's Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

 Edith was an impeccable cook. She is photographed above, holding grandson Tony on his first birthday with his sister Clare. Edith and Tony shared the same birthday and auburn hair color. This photo was taken at Edith’s Mount Vernon, New York apartment in 1958.

Tony Brush is the husband of our Schoolhouse Lifestyle Director, Diane Brush.  After an initial career as a graphic and packaging designer, Tony went to culinary school & was head chef at Chez Panisse for years.  He continues his family’s rich culinary legacy at their frequent dinner parties and as a food stylist. Tony and Diane celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this month and were gracious enough to share their family recipes for a traditional American Thanksgiving. Enjoy.


Almonds and cashew nuts, celery hearts stuffed with blue cheese spread, olives stuffed with pimento, & caramelized rosemary pecans.

Pickled Celeriac (Edith's Recipe) 

Use pear-sized roots. Cook about 20 min. Test until just done (poke with a paring knife). Save a pint of the water the celeriac cooked in. Let cool. Peel and cut into 1/4” slices. Layer in a nonreactive ceramic/glass bowl with thinly sliced white onions. Salt and pepper. Use a ratio of 1 cup cider vinegar to 1 cup celeriac water. Pour over to cover. Prepare a day ahead - otherwise allow 9 hours to marinate.


Pain de Mie or Pepperidge Farm white bread, 4 cups of diced bread - dried out completely, minced giblets without liver (optional), 1/4 to 1 cup of diced celery, 1 cup of diced onion, sage, thyme & parsley, a little nutmeg, herb de Provence and oregano or basil. Salt and pepper for seasoning. 

Carefully remove crust if thick. Dice into small cubes. Let dry out completely. Optional to start by sauteing minced giblets without liver. Sweat diced onion and celery. Add sage, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. In a large vessel moisten bread with chicken stock and melted butter. Add sweated onion.  In the past, we have added chopped chestnuts, walnuts...etc. Should be a bit more moistened if cooking in a casserole. Lightly grease the inside of the vessel. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 40 min. or until warmed through.


Peel and waffle cut. Cover with a damp towel. Steam. Mix with salt, pepper and a little butter.

Parsnip Fritters (Edith's Recipe)

Peel parsnips and cut into uniform pieces to steam. Cook until tender. Food mill through a medium blade. Mix with: 1 egg beaten, 1 cup of parsnips, 1/4 tsp. of salt, 1 1/2 tbsp. melted butter, 1 1/2 tbsp. flour, 1 1/2 tbsp. milk, Worcestershire - 3 drops (optional) & a pinch of nutmeg.

Pan fry small, flat, oval patties in a small amount of butter until medium golden brown. Add more butter to pan as necessary. Lightly battering makes lighter textured fritters.

Sweet Potatoes (M. Stewart 2004)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel 8 medium sweet potatoes - 5 lbs. Halve lengthwise and slice crosswise 1/2” thick. Toss potatoes with 2 tbsp. olive oil and salt. Cook on two half or one whole sheet pan until tender, tossing occasionally, 25 to 30 min. 

Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. butter cut into small pieces, 2 tbsp. light brown sugar, 1/3 cup pecan pieces, and 1/8 tsp. cayenne. Bake until sugar is caramelized and hard, about 10 to 15 min. Gently toss and serve immediately.

Pickled Beets

Trim stems and wash beets. Drizzle with a little olive oil and water. Roast in gratin dish covered tightly with foil at 350 degrees until cooked through but not mushy. 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Make pickling liquid. Boil 1 cup of cider vinegar, a pinch of pickling spice, 1/4 tsp. of mustard seeds, 1/2 cup of water, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 cup of sugar, & a few black peppercorns.

Let liquid sit 30 min. and strain over cooked beets which have been peeled while warm and cut into bite-size pieces. Separate golden from red beets when pickling to keep distinct colors. Let sit 24 hours. Drain to serve.

Mashed Potatoes

Peel whole russet potatoes and hold in water. Bring to a boil, add salt, and cook until tender and cooked through. Do not pierce too much. Potatoes will tend to explode and get mushy. Add milk, cream, creme fraiche, and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Creamed Pearl Onions

Drop into boiling water and boil for a few minutes. Cool by running under cold water. Cut the root end off and slip the outer layer off. Steam until fairly tender to hold. Make a small amount of Béchamel with stock, cream, and roux. Add onions to reheat. 

Clover rolls (i.e. Parker house rolls) 

See Joy Of Cooking pg. 611. Edith used Bridgeford refrigerated dough.

Cranberry Sauce

3 cups of cranberries, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, paper-thin slices of Meyer lemon. Poach lemon slices in the sugar water and remove before adding cranberries. Cook the cranberries in sugar water for 5 to 10 min. Add poached lemon slices back in once cranberries are cooked.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

2 cups of pumpkin puree, 2 eggs beaten, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1 can of evaporated milk 12 oz., 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. of powdered ginger, 1/2 tsp. of ground allspice, 1/4 tsp. of ground cloves, a small grating of nutmeg.