November 28, 2013

National Stuffing Day

"If you really love stuffing, wait until the turkey comes out of the oven, add some of the pan drippings to the stuffing, and bake it in a dish. That's called dressing, and that's not evil - stuffing is, though." - Alton Brown

It's National Stuffing Day!
(Please note: this is a floating food holiday. It occurs on the fourth Thursday of November each year.)

Some folks call stuffing "dressing." But, if we're being technical, they really aren't the same thing. Stuffing goes IN the turkey; dressing is made independently OF the turkey. But - I believe in inclusivity, not exclusivity - so regardless of what you call it, or how you make it let's all celebrate today with whatever stuffing means to us, yeah?

My family has never been Stove Top Stuffing people. We always made ours from scratch, and it's very much inspired by our French-Canadian heritage. It includes ground pork, chicken stock, poultry seasoning, and seasoned cubed bread crumbs. Half was stuffed in the turkey cavity, half was cooked on the stove top with juice from the turkey pan. Towards the end, the two were mixed together.

It was the one food my sister and I looked forward to the most at Thanksgiving.

The past several Thanksgivings, because of our family's now varied and specific diets, my mom's begun making a second stuffing made with an abundance of nuts and mushrooms. I honestly never thought it could get better than the pork-based version, but the woman has a gift when it comes to making a mouthwatering stuffing. I now look forward to Thanksgiving for whatever hearty, dense, flavorful vegan option she comes up with.

It seems every family has their own special recipe for stuffing (or dressing) that becomes a staple culinary tradition throughout the holidays... so what does yours do?

Happy National Stuffing Day!