"Dinner was at my grandparents' house with aunts, uncles and cousins," Trisha tells USA Weekend. "We ate early after church; then the grownups would sit around the table talking. The point of eating early is you can eat twice! It wasn't until I was 20 and moved to Nashville that I started to cook, though. I was homesick and missed Mama's cooking, so I learned to make her cornbread dressing. That's what made me love cooking: easy recipes that tasted like home."
Now Trisha fixes many of those recipes each Thanksgiving for her husband Garth Brooks and their family, and says that though they've added a dish or two to the menu over the years, there was "one constant" -- her mom's cornbread dressing. Trisha's mom, Gwen, passed away last October, and was Trisha's main inspiration in the kitchen, helping her co-write two of her cookbooks: "Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes From My Family to Yours," released in 2008, and "Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood: Stories and Recipes to Share With Family and Friends," which was published in 2010.
"Grandma Lizzie taught it to our mother Gwen," says Trisha, "and Beth and I had her write it down for our first cookbook. It's important to preserve those family recipes. It's our second Thanksgiving without Mom, but when I make that dressing, I feel connected to her. Food and memories are how we keep the people we have loved at the table with us."
For those who may be skittish about cooking up their bird, Trisha also offers a foolproof, no-baste, no-bother turkey recipe that has been certified by Garth.
"The first year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner in Oklahoma," she recalls, "Garth had me cook a stunt turkey before the big day so he could taste-test it!"
For that recipe and more goodies, click here. "Trisha's Southern Kitchen" airs Saturdays at 11:00 AM ET on the Food Network.