Don’t Forget the Stuffing

We all know Americans usually serve Turkey at Thanksgiving. Americans at Hancock International College agree that if there’s turkey then there has to be stuffing. Some of our ESL students prefer if the stuffing is cooked outside the turkey but the true American way is to actually stuff the stuffing into the turkey and cook it together. says, “When it comes to Thanksgiving, some dishes are required eating. Anything other than turkey is anathema, gravy is a must and cranberries get their one chance to shine. And don’t forget the stuffing! But that’s where things get interesting, because it seems no two families can agree on the proper way to prepare stuffing. Even the name differs from place to place: Northerners call it ‘stuffing,’ Southerners eat ‘dressing’ and a few Pennsylvanians enjoy ‘filling’ on their Turkey Day tables…

There’s no way of knowing whether the Pilgrims actually served stuffing at their original harvest feat. But given the abundance of both wild game and rice, it’s likely that the first Thanksgiving dinner featured some kind of bird with a wild rice dish alongside it. New Englanders continued to take cues from their environment when it came to stuffing, and chestnuts became a popular addition. Boston cookbooks gave recipes for oyster-based stuffings, with and without breadcrumbs. Thrifty Mennonite mothers, meanwhile, used up mountains of leftover mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, creating filling. Perhaps the least known of all stuffing varieties, filling contains both mashed potatoes and stale bread, along with plenty of butter, to create a dish often served as a casserole alongside the bird.

This talk of ‘stuffing’ and ‘filling’ would be sacrilegious to Southern cooks, who insist that ‘dressing’ be served—and that this dressing be cornbread-based. The name of the dish first appeared when Victorian sensibilities took offense at the blunter term ‘stuffing’ in the 1850s. (It was around the same time that ‘dark meat’ became a synonym for indelicate chicken legs and thighs.)…

In the American West, cooks developed their own stuffing recipes, blending traditions from the South and North to create new delicious dishes. San Franciscans took advantage of all their leftover sourdough, creating a bread base that added a tang to the turkey. Cooks in the Pacific Northwest used seafood in stuffing, adding not just oysters but clams and mussels too. The recipe below is an updated look at a traditional San Franciscan one, complete with sourdough and a double apple punch in the form of chicken apple sausage and diced Granny Smiths. Happy Thanksgiving!”

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