Dressing, aka stuffing, is both personal and emotional.
Because it embodies place, race, family tradition, memories and more.
The best I can find out, the term stuffing didn’t fit the decorum of the Victorian upper class, so they started calling it dressing. Today, it depends on where you live or from where you originally hailed whether you call it dressing, stuffing or filling. It will always be dressing to me. Is that okay?
If you are from the eastern/northern/southern coast regions of the United States, you most likely like oysters or other types of seafood in your dressing. Maybe rice or bread is the base you prefer to use.
From the South/Midwest, you might use cornbread or a mixture of stale bread – even leftover biscuits – and cornbread as your main ingredients, plus lots of sage.
Italians bring their love of sausage to the “dressing table.”
Germans stuff potatoes in just about everything, and that includes their holiday stuffing.
Norwegians may use apples, almonds, and cinnamon to spruce up their bread dressing.
Every culture that ever settled in the United States has a different version of dressing. Combinations seem to be endless.
Most people make dressing just like dear ‘ol mom or grandmother or Aunt So and So. No two people seem to agree on what makes the perfect dressing. Many interesting family feuds have started over these differences-of-stuffing opinions at holiday time.
I remember cooking a Thanksgiving meal solely with my former sister-in-law. Now, we were in our early twenties and very polite to one another. However, we had a bit of a stare-off when it came to making the dressing early that morning. She was from New Orleans, and no way, naw suh, was she going to have stuffing without oysters. And as sure as I was standing there with my stubborn Southern roots, we were not making dressing without cornbread and sage!
We compromised by dumping in everything we both had to have, and you know, it was quite delicious! Different . . . but tasty! Later, we sipped lime Kool-Aid laced with a touch of vodka and complimented ourselves.
Yeah. Kool-Aid. we were that young and naïve.
One thing most of us can agree on is that we love our dressing sitting proud beside *or inside* the turkey, chicken or Cornish hens at Thanksgiving and Christmastime. It’s comforting. It’s delicious. It’s traditional.
Vive la dressing!
My personal recipe for dressing is in the Chuckwagons and Campfires section of my blog. It has cornbread, sage sausage, black olives, celery . . .