Thanksgiving: A Little History, a Little O'Hurley and TV Men Who Cook

Today's cuppa: hot spiced cider for Thanksgiving

Ohurleyanddog While waiting to go eat a fabulous Thanksgiving meal not cooked by me -- thanks, MaryAnn! -- I thought I'd offer up some cool linkage and a look at the culinary side of a couple of my favorite TV men.

First, click here to see my story on John O'Hurley and today's National Dog Show on NBC. He's posing in the picture with the latest breed added to the official AKC roster. The story explains the rest.

Here's a link to a site that offers a look at a larger image of George Washington's Thanksgiving Thanksgiving proclamation and the full text.

Lest you think I've never cooked my own Thanksgiving dinner, I have -- and I make a mean sweet-potato/apple casserole.

Like many, I've also had dinner at the family homestead and at the home of friends.

While the Norman Rockwell image of Thanksgiving has the matriarch Rockwell_thanksgiving_5 of the family offering the bird to the waiting clan, sometimes the man of the house is the one in the kitchen.

And sometimes that man is also a TV personality.

The other day, I checked in with Steve Watson, formerly of Discovery Channel's "Monster House" (we met on the set there) and currently the host of HGTV's "Don't Sweat it." Asked about his Thanksgiving plans, Watson wrote:

"Well, I mix it up every year. I have the same group of friends over every year, so I don't want them to get bored with the menu. Two years ago, I deep-fried a turkey. I use peanut oil.

Stevewatson_2 Last year, I baked Turducken! (Click here for Food Network star Paula Deen's recipe for this multi-poultry extravaganza) Big Hit. This year, I'm going traditional -- 25 lb. turkey and slow-roasted prime rib -- with my dad's old stuffing recipe.

Four loaves of cornbread crumbled into a large pot. I boil a whole chicken, slowly, the night before. I pour the chicken stock into the cornbread and mix in the meat from the chicken. Add lots of sage, salt and pepper. Chop onions and celery. Pour in 4 cans of chicken soup and 4 cans of cream of celery. Stuff the bird and bake the rest like a cake. MMMMMMM...good!

Hungry yet?"

What? Sorry. Had to get a snack in the middle of that. Anyway, on to our next amatueur chef, actor and musician Christian Kane, who has moved from The WB's "Angel" to CBS' "Close to Home" to the upcoming "Leverage" on TNT, premiering Dec. 7.

On Election Night, I did a set visit to "Leverage" in Pasadena (syndicated feature story to come). During the evening, Kane confessed to being a huge Food Network fan and claimed to be no slouch in the kitchen himself.

Asked about his holiday culinary plans, he said, "I love to cook. It's my new art form. I was an art-history major in college. I was featured in a magazine -- I went in and made a rattlesnake steak, which is a bleu cheese-, bacon- and jalapeno-stuffed filet mignon.Christiankane_3

"(For Christmas), probably a deep-fried turkey. George Clooney gave me good advice a few years ago. I was using just regular vegetable oil. He said to use olive oil. I use olive oil now, and it comes out unbelievable. I stuff it with garlic and lemons."

And as for that sweet potato/apple casserole recipe of mine, here's what I emailed back to Watson (and no, I don't measure anything, so do it to suit your own taste):

Get an equal number of sweet potatoes and apples -- peel (and core the apples) and slice. Get a couple of big sweet onions -- peel and slice. Starting and finishing with the onions, put alternating layers of all three in a coated casserole dish. Drizzle with a mixture of dark amber maple syrup, fresh-ground nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice. Dot with butter if desired. Bake in a 350-degree oven until done. You can also toss in raisins, walnuts or dried cranberries. Try it! ... I'll be making this on Friday, while watching the "Deadliest Catch" marathon.