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The phenomenon of “Orphans’ Thanksgiving” used to be the province of university towns like Austin, where lots of people are away from their families during holidays. But as our society becomes more nomadic, the idea is becoming more widespread, and the new traditions more familiar: Those who can’t be “home for the holidays”—whether for work, school or other reasons—gather at a friend’s house for a potluck. Some are huge, come-one-come-all affairs, and others are small, intimate gatherings. For a small gathering of friends, a turkey might be too much meat and too much trouble, so consider roast duck instead. I chose a recipe for duck and a great accompanying stuffing from our new cookbook, 60 Years of Home Cooking, to share with you.

To use the Gala Glaze for Roast Duck, first preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Next, prepare a 5- to 6-pound duck by washing it, cutting off the excess fat, and pricking the skin all over with the tip of a knife. Season duck liberally, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Place in a shallow roasting pan with a rack and cook for 30 minutes. Take it out of the oven and drain the fat, if necessary. Turn oven down to 300 degrees and continue to cook for 1 hour (add 20 minutes if duck is closer to 6 pounds or is stuffed). Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Gala Glaze for Roast Duck

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bottle (7 ounces) 7-Up
1 cup halved, seedless white grapes

Thoroughly mix brown sugar, caraway seeds, salt and 7-Up in a saucepan. Stir in grapes. About half an hour before meat has finished baking, spoon on the glaze. Baste meat once or twice with sauce as it finishes baking. Serves 4 to 6.

Serving size: 2 small slices. Per serving: 174 calories, 17 g protein, 6 g fat, 10 g carbohydrates, 87 mg sodium, 58 mg cholesterol

Pecan Stuffing for Wild Duck

1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup pecan meats, chopped
1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon
Fresh ground pepper
4 cups soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk, scalded
2 eggs, beaten

Mix together all but milk and eggs. Add hot milk to the beaten eggs and then to the dry mixture. Toss lightly. Bake with fowl or in separate greased baking dish at 325 degrees for about 1 hour. Serves 6 to 8.

Serving size: 1 large serving spoonful. Per serving: 290 calories, 8 g protein, 16 g fat, 31 g carbohydrates, 270 mg sodium, 55 mg cholesterol

Cook’s Quip: Barbara Baronas, member of Central Texas Electric Cooperative, sent us a funny story about dressing: “While I won’t include a recipe for the stuff you put in the turkey, I thought you might like to hear what my grandfather, Owen Yoder, always said about it: ‘If you have one helping, it’s called dressing. Your second helping is called filling, and your third helping is called stuffing!’”