So I never heard of stuffing being called dressing until I met my mom-in law. Granted I never cooked till then either. Mom-in-law differentiates the two by explaining that stuffing is cooked in the bird and dressing on the side. Further research (read google) shows that Joy of Cooking confirms her definition but The Food Lover's Companion, one of America's best-selling culinary reference books, uses the terms interchangeably. So being the peacemaker that I am, I like to satisfy both opinions by cooking my stuffing/dressing in the bird and extra dressing/stuffing in a casserole dish, on the side. Truth be told I do this more so I can load it up with tons of mushrooms, which Hubby and the kiddies don't like. Well, at least we can all agree that we love the Thanksgiving meal, mushrooms notwithstanding.
You know it so happens that I am both genetically predisposed to my affinity for Turkey day and married into it. On the DNA side, my immigrant mother loves Thanksgiving so much that when she was due with my sister within days of the big Thursday she insisted my grandparents make her the entire meal, earlier in the month, just in case. Well, who were they to argue with a lady in her 3rd trimester? So they dutifully prepared the full-on Thanksgiving spread for her. My dear sister didn’t show up until the end of December (someone, somewhere calculated wrong... momma vehemently denies planning this) so in 1980 my mom had the special zchus of enjoying 2 Thanksgiving meals. My immigrant grandparents really made the best Thanksgiving food I have ever had in my life. And you know I have eaten my way around this world. They completely embraced American culture and customs and had the added benefit of being born intuitively knowing how to cook. I so desperately miss their food, their table, their gravy!!!! And they ALWAYS had mushrooms in their stuffing.
Now for the married-into-it part: Hubby would annually request Thanksgiving dinner for his Oct 5 b-day cause it is also his favorite meal. (Hubby and Mommy don’t have much in common except for this I guess, and they happen to look alike – go figure. Well, now I can remind them of their mutual love for turkey and me and give them something to bond over. Cause they desperately need it.) My oh, so fabulous mother-in-law (and I am not saying that in jest – she and I really do get on very well!) would dotingly make him the whole lavish meal. So until he married me (poor thing) he got two full Thanksgiving meals EVERY year!
This here is one of my favorite stuffing/dressing recipes.
Whole Wheat Stuffing with Dried Cranberries and Sage, but my repertoire for stuffing has expanded and I have tons more to share with you. It's time to find your favorite stuffing combo and let me know which one you choose!
Check out these stuffing recipes for some unique and tasty takes on this holiday must-have.