Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Dressing . . . By Any Other Name

I couldn't resist this photo--I'd look worried, too, if someone attached a red felt turkey wattle to my chin. But this little guy reminded me of Jonah, the yodeling therapy dog in Disaster Status. And his predicament leads nicely into the gist of my holiday post: Turkey Dressing vs. Turkey Stuffing. A minor difference in wording. And probably more of a family custom when choosing which name you give to that traditional and buttery-sagey, delectable Thanksgiving side dish. Whether it be made of bread, cornbread, or . . . ?

Which let me to a little research on the whole Dressing vs. Stuffing issue. Here's some rather strange things that I discovered, thanks to Wikipedia:

Names for stuffing include 'farce' (~1390) 'stuffing' (1538), 'forcemeat'(1688), and (after 1880) the word was changed to 'dressing' in Victorian English. And . . .

It is not known when stuffings were first used. The earliest documentary evidence is a Roman cookbook which contains recipes for stuffed chicken, hare, pig, and dormouse (!) Most of these consisted of vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts, and spelt (an old cereal), and frequently contain chopped liver, brains, and other organ meat (eew, sorry about that). And . . .

It is sometimes claimed that medieval chefs sometimes stuffed animals with other animals--and we are not just talking "Turducken" here. More like a ram stuffed with small bird. And (deep breath): There was reportedly a recipe for a camel stuffed with sheep stuffed with birds stuffed with carp stuffed with eggs. I needed to sit down and hug a bottle of Tums just thinking about that! No. Thank. You.

So, back to the original two questions: 'Dressing' or 'Stuffing'--which do you call it?
And: Bread or Cornbread? Which do you prefer?

For my part, my family always called it 'Dressing,' and it was made from torn day old bread (I still remember  sitting with an old washpan and a loaf of Rainbow Bread the night before. Tearing, tearing . . .). Added to it would be butter-simmered onion and celery and some poultry seasoning. No oysters. Ever. No giblets either--the cats got those.

This year I'm making 'cornbread stuffing' (cornbread 'dressing' doesn't sound right), a recipe from Emeril Lagasse via Martha Stewart Living. It includes green onion, sweet red peppers, and crispy bacon.

I'm looking forward to the fun of preparing the meal, the scents wafting through the house . . . and especially to having family here--including our two tiny grand daughters. Blessings, for sure. And while I'm counting God's blessings and feeling grateful, I'll be thinking of YOU all, too. Your encouragement, support, and friendship have been a beautiful part of this year.

To celebrate that blessing, I'd like to do another book giveaway. Right here, right now:  Five signed and personalized copies of my current ECPA bestseller, CODE TRIAGE. If you win, keep it for yourself or gift it to someone who'd like an exciting, inspiring story of hope. One less gift to buy!

So, for your chance at one of five free books, leave a comment below telling me whether you call it 'stuffing' or 'dressing,'  and whether you prefer bread or cornbread as the main ingredient. Simple as that.
You MUST include your e-mail for contact. I'll do a random drawing on Tuesday November 29th and notify the lucky winners by e-mail.

Good luck and have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving, friends!