Friday, November 26, 2010

I got "learned up" this Thanksgiving

Before November 25, 2010 I was a different person. I had a complete transformation from an uneducated know it all, to learned up adult. Yes it is true, I learned all about stuffing and dressing. You see I was of the misguided opinion that only stuffing would do. I looked forward every year to that most delicious of treats, turkey stuffing. I would buy the biggest bird possible, because the bigger the bird, the bigger the cavity for stuffing. I would be worried about what to do with the leftover stuffing mixture that would not fit in the bird, because it clearly would be second rate, not having had the opportunity to bake in the protected environment of the turkey. Turkey real estate is to be respected. Or so I thought.

Separately I always made a pan of oyster dressing for those in the family that enjoy that sort of thing. I could only do what was possible by the "a little of this and a little of that" method, since I don't eat or enjoy oysters. And since it was contaminated, oh sorry, flavored with oysters, I never ever gave it another thought about not being baked in the protected territory of the bird.  Each year the oyster lovers in the family always enjoyed the dressing, and of course I was glad they did. My only real change was less sage, as I was fairly sure they actually wanted to taste the oysters!

This year we made another change to our family holiday traditions. Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner will be rotated between the daughters in the family. They each have homes they are proud of and this will give each an opportunity to put their own spin on holidays and share in hostessing.

This year started with Thanksgiving at the home of the Lovely Jess. 

 Christmas dinner will be at the home of the Family Educator, my lovely daughter in law.

Then next year it will be reversed. With these new traditions came some drama and tragedy, excuse me, change regarding my beloved stuffing. You see there was no turkey real estate in my kitchen, I did not cook the turkey.............

I had no choice but to continue and to make the best dressing possible, because clearly there would be no stuffing. I made sure to use homemade bread cubes, that had been carefully cut into cubes and oven toasted.

And homemade corn bread, also cubed and toasted. I had homemade turkey stock to use as the liquid, and even used a mortar and pestle to crush leaf sage into rubbed sage. I saute'd the onion and garlic in butter and carefully diced the celery. I made sure it was not too dry, and then I carefully beat a couple of eggs into some broth and stirred that in right before placing the pan in the oven to bake.

And you know what?

That was the best dressing I have ever eaten! And I think I like dressing better than stuffing. Also there was no worrying about what to do with anything that did not fit in the bird, because it all fits in the pan. Another plus is that the the bird can be roasted at a higher temperature, to get wonderful deep golden brown drippings for the second most delicious treat of Thanksgiving, gravy.

Whew, this was a hard lesson. But I feel so accomplished and I just have one question.......

Can I get a diploma for this?

PS, we also had pie

As always thanks for stopping by,
I appreciate your visits.


ya ya's mom said...

ummm....when did we decided on this new tradition? christmas dinner is at my place? oh i'm already freaking out....ok. not freaking out about christmas but freaking out about thanksgiving next year.......breathe in, breathe out janelle.

Katie @ This Chick Cooks said...

I always love dressing. I'm glad you discovered your favorite ever. My grandma always made the best dressing ever and now she's gone and nobody has the recipe. It always makes me think of her each thanksgiving. Anyway, hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.

Pam said...

I never realized the difference between "dressing" and "stuffing"! I mean, now it is quite obvious, but before I used the terms interchangable. I need a degree too.

Couscous & Consciousness said...

Ok, you Americans are really confusing me now with this stuffing v dressing business. Down here we only do one thing with a bird and that is stuff it. Dressing is a thin liquid that gets poured over a salad. Now I'd heard this dressing mentioned on a few blogs I've read recently, so I naturally thought it was a word you used for the gravy - just like you call scones, biscuits! Now I find out that dressing is something altogether different - so does that come out almost like a bread pudding?

redmenace said...

You should get a diploma! Wonderful job. Looks like a great day. Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Laraine said...

Love the notes in the sidebar and love your insights on dressing/stuffing. I've always been partial to dressing but thanks to your example I'm going to open my mind to stuffing.