If you’re from the South, we can agree right off the bat that stuffing is out, dressing is in – not the location, the rightness component. I realize that technically, the reverse is true – dressing is cooked outside the bird and stuffing is cooked inside. We can also agree that cornbread forms the base of the concoction. After that, it’s pretty much every cook to his/her own devices.
How moist it should be and what gets added to the mix can vary from cook to cook. My mother believed in cornbread replete with the Holy Trinity (onion, green peppers, and celery), though she used that term only in another context, not in cooking. When I married, I discovered sage since my mother-in-law used a tad of onion and a generous supply of sage. Somehow with the same cornbread base, it also had a finer texture than my mother’s. I happily stuffed myself on either or both for a number of Thanksgivings.
When it came my turn to cook the dressing, I combined the best of each and added some poultry seasoning. Since we are fond of dressing, I have not limited my production to the holidays. Many a winter meal has been comfort food with chicken and dressing which may be even tastier than the turkey. Since winter is a very short season in South Mississippi, that still leaves a good-sized break between the times for making dressing. With no exact recipe, every Thanksgiving as I make the first round for the season, I fret over the proportions and whether I will remember just how much of the sage and poultry seasoning becomes too much of a good thing.
I knew all was well this year when a daughter-in-law held up a fork loaded equally with cranberry sauce and dressing and pronounced it the epitome of what Thanksgiving dinner was all about.
I hope this Thanksgiving found you with a long list for thankfulness and enough dressing (or stuffing if you prefer) to relish yourself into a nap-inducing coma on Thanksgiving Day with plenty of leftovers for later.