When I got married in January of 1996, I was not only blessed with a terrific husband but also with an incredible new family. He comes from some really great people. One of those people is Aunt Peggy. I fell in love with Aunt Peggy when I first met her when she flew in from Oklahoma (I just had to pause and sing the song in my head for the correct spelling … where the wind comes da da da da da) for our wedding.
I felt at ease and connected with her from the start. She has “a way about her” and is just one of those people who makes you feel loved and special. She is beautiful inside and out. She is a true lady, classy and always fabulously pulled together and she is warm and welcoming. I so enjoyed the time I got to spend with her then even amongst the wedding craziness and busy festivities, I got to know her a little bit and was (am) very happy to have her in my life.
Shortly after our wedding, my husband learned that the Air Force was transferring us to Altus, Oklahoma. That fall, I would be leaving everything that was familiar and everyone (almost everyone) that I loved. I remember being excited about the new adventure but apprehensive about moving away from my family.
I had a hard time at first as we settled into our new home (our first fixer upper – I’ll tell you all about it sometime). I loved being married, I loved working on our home and I was making some really great new friends. But I missed my mom and my sisters and my old friends. Thankfully, Aunt Peggy and her husband Uncle Milt were only about 45 minutes away and they became my “home away from home”. But, I haven’t told you about Uncle Milt yet.
Uncle Milt is the best and I took a shine to him right away. He always called me “that girl”. I would walk in the front door and he would say “oh, here comes that girl” but he said it in a way that was endearing and let me know he was happy to see me. He caught on that I love banana pudding – the kind with the vanilla wafers, chunks of bananas and mounds of whipped cream … heaven! – and would always run over to the all you can eat buffet in town and pick some up so there would be a styrofoam container of affection waiting for me in the fridge.
Some of the best memories I have of our time in Oklahoma are of the cribbage matches between Aunt Peggy and I and Gary (or Doug as his family calls him) and Uncle Milt; girls against boys. Gary and I always had fun going out to the Officer’s Club or two-stepping at “Boot Scooters” with friends. But I had just as much fun (if not more) spending a Saturday night around the dining room table whipping the pants off of those boys – well that’s how I remember it anyway.
I also remember that first Thanksgiving in Oklahoma, my first Thanksgiving as a married lady and my first Thanksgiving away from my family and traditions. It could have been hard. But instead, it was a Thanksgiving with the new family I was coming to love so much and the beginning of new traditions and it was wonderful. It was also the first time I had Aunt Peggy’s corn casserole.
She called it “Mickey’s Corn Casserole” at least that is how I have it written down but I don’t know “Mickey” or why it might be called that. I think of it as Aunt Peggy’s. She made it for me, well she made it for everyone but it felt like she made it just for me, and it made me feel happy and loved. So I am calling it “Aunt Peggy’s Corn Casserole”.
I can’t share my Aunt Peggy with you, I wish I could and I hope that you have an “Aunt Peggy” of your own, but I can share this simple but wonderful recipe with you.
Aunt Peggy’s Corn Casserole
- 2 – 15 oz. Cans Creamed Corn
- 4 Eggs
- 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 Box Jiffy Cornbread Mix
- 1 Tbsp (or 1 small) Grated Onion
- 1 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
Mix all of the ingredients together, pour into a buttered casserole dish (9×13) and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The casserole will be slightly soft to the touch. Let it rest and “set-up” for at least 15 minutes before serving. Scrumptious! The consistency is somewhere between cornbread and polenta and grits – although I am a Northwestern girl and am somewhat confused by grits so I might be a little off here. Regardless, it is soft and creamy but just firm enough to hold its own.
Just a few days ago, I made ribs and served them with the corn casserole and my favorite green beans (I’ll tell you about those some other time).
Oh, that was a happy day! Delicious!
Come January, Aunt Peggy and Uncle Milt will celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary. Their love story is an inspiration, as is the family they have built. They have four kids (three sons and a daughter) who, along with their spouses, kids and grandkids, are a testament to the bonds of family. This casserole is a family recipe and is part of a legacy (Jiffy Cornbread Mix and all). I hope you will try it and that you will feel happy and loved too! Let me know what you think and please, someone explain grits to me.