Thanksgiving stuffing (aka “dressing”) does not seem to be a popular dish these days. I volunteered to make a stuffing recipe in Mrs. Brooks’ third grade class and only two children signed to assist, one of them mine. Then last night I took a double recipe of Pepperidge Farm stuffing to a neighborhood potluck and it was barely touched; another guest’s generous tray of from-scratch stuffing was equally unappreciated.
I would no more omit the Thanksgiving stuffing from the meal than the bread from a sandwich. I use it as I expect our forebears did, as a protein extender. When colonial turkeys were lean and scrawny, stuffing in the abdominal cavity could capture cooking juices and turn a few slices of poultry into a filling meal. If additional stuffing is cooked outside the bird it can join the party with a ladle or two of gravy.
But today, I expect that people pass on the stuffing because they don’t want to feel too stuffed. Less stuffing on the plate leaves more room for generous slabs of light and dark meat. That’s just wrong.
If you would like to join me in reversing this trend, here is Mrs. Brooks’ recipe. It is both easy and good, with an excellent balance of spices and flavors. For a non-vegetarian version, use butter and chicken stock in place of margarine and water.
This recipe post was originally published on November 23, 2011.