MyStoryYourStory: How to kick the old stuffing habit

Paula Damon

Paula Damon

By Paula Damon

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” Harriet Van Horne, American newspaper columnist

When it comes to turkey stuffing, I get really tired of the same ole, same ole:  celery, onion, stale bread, sage, butter, blah, blah, blah. Yawner!

In my mind, I am thinking the family will love my new approach to turkey stuffing. I can picture all of them on their best behavior, their smiling eyes, their salivating grins and their poised forks, eager to indulge.

Stuffing the bird with fruit or squash would be a step in the right direction. But, I said to myself, go ahead, live on the wild side, for once.

Why not cook up something inventive, like pepperoni and mozzarella dressing, replacing breadcrumbs and sage with pizza crust and Italian seasonings?

Or, try an Asian stuffing with Chinese sticky rice, mushrooms and water chestnuts, seasoned with soy sauce and then wrapped in lotus leaves.

I must admit – the more I searched for new ways to dress my gobble, gobble the harder my heart pounded with excitement, the louder my stomach growled with hunger pangs, the more my mouth watered over new combinations and the weirder the recipes became.

Try turkey dressing made with corn chips? Sounds easy enough. All I need to do is follow my traditional recipe – only replace bread cubes with tortilla chips. Uh, not too sure about how soggy corn chips would go over. Cancel that one.

Now for a completely unexpected texture with a “sage-y” taste, there’s popcorn/cornbread stuffing. Combining two parts popcorn and one part cornbread, onion, melted butter, eggs, chicken broth and rosemary would be delish and a total surprise to everyone gathered around the table on Thanksgiving Day.

Straight from the “The Twinkie Cookbook,” I found a recipe for a Twinkie-based turkey dressing; although I would dread the tedious job of scooping out the creamy middles, crumbling what’s left of the Twinkie cakes and then mixing in corn muffins, chopped apples and honey. And, here’s the weird part, you don’t even use the filling. It’s not even a Twinkie anymore. It’s something else, I don’t know – a Twinkie that’s lost its soul. And then what do you do with the filling, since, heaven knows, that can’t go to waste. Does it still have a seven-year shelf life even without the cake wrapped around it?

Sounds like way too much work to me for a meal that takes on average five hours to prepare and only 12 minutes to eat. Plus, it’s far too sweet for my taste, so I crossed it off my bucket list of new ones to try.

When I came across a turkey dressing recipe called “Evil Turkey Stuffing” with only a jar of roasted red peppers, whiskey, minced garlic and chipotle chilies simmered to the consistency of tomato sauce, I knew I had to rein it in and go with something a little more traditional, but with a new twist or two from my old stuffing habits.

So, I had a “Come to Jesus” meeting with myself and asked WWMD [What would Mom do?]

And then it came to me! My mother, God rest her soul, always added sausage or some sort of cooked, seasoned ground meat to her turkey dressing. Come to find out, Mom wasn’t too far off, since there is such a thing as White Castle Turkey Stuffing. Yes, it is exactly as it sounds. Starting with a 10-pound turkey, the recipe calls for 10 fast food hamburgers [hold the lettuce] cubed and mixed with the standard onion, celery and sage.

Better yet [sorry, Mom] how about smoked bacon and cornbread dressing? It calls for unsalted butter, softened; a bunch fresh sage, chopped; salt, kosher; black pepper, freshly ground; two large onions, finely chopped; a loaf cornbread, lightly crumbled; one egg, whisked; heavy cream, whipped; chicken stock, heated; pure maple syrup, dark; water, hot; bacon, smoked; flour, all-purpose and half of a lemon, ripe.

In my mind, I am thinking the family will love my new approach to turkey stuffing. I can picture all of them on their best behavior, their smiling eyes, their salivating grins and their poised forks, eager to indulge.

Then again?

Maybe not.

Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>