the stuffing
Jami For the Record, Snarky Mischief

THE STUFFING: Truth, Tradition, Carbs

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THE STUFFING: Truth, Tradition, Carbs

Its increase is legend.

It can be too dry… worse still, too moist.

It can go in the bird, however, if no caution is taken this method can quickly ruin every Thanksgiving from now until forever.  You only have to get Salmonella at one Thanksgiving Day feast to #neverforget.

This is my 46th Thanksgiving.

I thought that the first time I broke the wishbone with the Amerines I had seen it all.  The year was 1991, it was the first time that I witnessed the consumption of over 15 dozen hard boiled eggs at the November extravaganza.  One would have thought it was Easter.  I was confused but quiet.  I’d seen a few oddities in my lifetime.  A friend from high school’s family would partake in turkey, dressing, and chicken and dumplings.  That same family would then sleep for 36 hours straight like brown bears in October in Montana.  Every year I noticed that friend took the Monday after Thanksgiving off too.  I am certain it was because she was terribly constipated and possibly in a diabetic coma.

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But the Amerines… my husband’s defense is that this was how they supplemented their meals during the Depression.  And yes, my family has some legendary Great Depression Meals we cling to – just in case.  It’s important that our children’s children know how to feed a family of 13 with a sleeve of saltines and 5 hotdogs.  And one must #neverforget  that in a pinch you can make 4 eggs, 3 slices of stale bread and ½ a cup of milk feed 9 grown men; just call it egg gravy.

But, back to the stuffing.

I digress, my mother-in-law, may she Rest In Peace, stood firm in the belief that her cornbread stuffing was the tastiest of Thanksgiving delicacies.  It was, in fact, simple, albeit mystifying.  In a bathtub or 40×40 casserole dish greased with bacon fat, place 4 chopped onions, 12 stalks minced celery, 3 dozen hard boiled eggs – coarsely chopped, in the bottom of your vat.  Next, take 4 packages of STALE HOTDOG BUNS, crushed and spread atop the veggies and eggs.  Then, mix 3 packages of cornbread mix, according to the package directions and pour the mix over the other ingredients.  Finally, bake at 350 degrees until it is drier than sand.  Serve with giblet gravy, which also… has hard boiled eggs in it.

Yes… eggs in the stuffing and the gravy.

It is imperative that your giblet gravy is a beautiful gray color.  That’s how you know it is perfect.  Also, one time and one time only, someone tried to use hamburger buns instead of hotdog buns because none of the hot dog buns were stale… second, only to the time, Great Uncle Oswald choked to death on a giblet… that is one Thanksgiving we will #neverforget.

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These days all of my husband’s immediate family has passed on to the great feast in the sky, remarried for the 40th time or is busy making polyester curtains for their newest used-single-wide dream home on wheels, which they won at a horse traders auction for $19.62. #highlife

He has cousins we adore, but we refrain from celebrating the most gluttonous of holidays with them if for only one reason:

The stuffing.


I had forgotten the dressing drama.  In all honesty, I felt perhaps it had subsided.  My brother has been married for about 14 years now.  The stuffing angst is celebrated only every other year, as they rotate one year with her family and one year with us. But his dear wife Kelly brings “their” stuffing which is actually “her” stuffing because, while Michael is fully committed to Kelly, he prefers “our” stuffing because it is just better.

The Stuffing.

And really it is hard to argue with my Grandpa George’s recipe… it has a pound of butter in it.  It is just a better batch of filler.  Justin made the switch a long time ago.  It wasn’t hard. He didn’t understand why we weren’t boiling 24 dozen eggs the day before Thanksgiving, but we made up for it when we celebrate our Lord raised from the dead.  And we all respectfully taste Kelly’s dressing, which I think has oysters and green chilies in it, but it’s still “her’s” not “ours.”

Aside from the fact that she continually brings her stuffing to our feast, every other year, Kelly is all McKelvie. We rarely mention the time we were talking about “The Trilogy,” and she said, “which trilogy?” My husband gently escorted her outside to explain how there is also no discussion of Star Trek. We are a forgiving clan, you can make one Star Wars mistake per lifetime, just don’t let it happen again.

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But I am afraid the stuffing debacles are on the rise.

Pinterest is piquing curiosities.  There is talk of pecans and something about sage.  My oldest daughter just got married.  She will be joining his people for their celebration this year.  I have warned her: there is no telling what she might encounter, who would have ever thought there would be eggs and hotdog buns involved?  I can’t help her.  There is no way to know what one man fancies as “his” stuffing.  She asked me, “should I offer to bring ‘our’ stuffing to their dinner?”

So young, so innocent.

No little lamb, for now, let us save you a bowl of our stuffing for when you return.  Don’t make eye contact with them, don’t ask questions.  If it has rainbow sprinkles and marshmallows in it, it somehow defines them.  You don’t question how it came into existence lest you have to listen to a great-great aunt whose dentures don’t fit tell how it was the first dressing recipe recovered from the Mayflower. This particular recipe was supposed to have grapes in it, but they shriveled up on the voyage and his family somehow invented raisins by accident.

It is merely a side dish, but it is the side dish.  This is the stuff that defines the rest of the stuff.  It is the definition of the family – the lineage – the history.  It is theirs, his, ours and none other.  Taste and see, knowing ours is better.

Take this wisdom to their table sweet Maggie: there is always room for one more stick of butter and may the force be with you. #neverforget

May your floors be sticky and yourThanksgiving grand!  Love, Jami

 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  2 Corinthians 4:15

You might also like: The Grocery Store Manifesto 

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22 Comments

  1. My husband and I enjoyed this! My mom taught me to make fantastic stuffing and by some miracle is aligns with my husbands idea of good stuffing as well. It is also his favorite part of Thanksgiving, bar none. Every year I have to make 18 cups of moms stuffing. I read your post alound and he is still shuddering over the idea of boiled eggs. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Happy thanksgiving!

  2. I was JUST yesterday telling my daughter that everyone thinks their mom’s Thanksgiving is the best, even my husband, although clearly MY mother’s is the best. 🙂

    Also, and I hate to be the spelling freak, it’s pique, not peak. I’m sorry, I can’t help myself.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      I love spelling freaks! Fixing it now! Happy thanksgiving!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Do I dare mention the unforgivable? No stuffing? I like stuffing, but I’m picky. Not too dry, not too moist. Nothing strange in it. I’ll try anyone’s stuffing, but mostly likely won’t like it. I have had 2 I’ve liked in all my 50+ years – I’m THAT picky about stuffing. But….I…..just….can’t….go….there. I don’t even want the pressure of a bad stuffing and can’t make up mind what is a good stuffing. So I don’t make stuffing. Hot German Potato Salad (this year) instead. My saving grace is we are a family that knows The Trilogy.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      #neverforget

  4. I come from a corn bread, baked in a pan, dressing family and married into a white bread/sausage, baked in the bird, family. While I never turned to the white bread side, I did, for many years, make two pans of my dressing, one with sausage one without, because I was a good wife and all that. I did draw the line, however, at serving mashed turnips instead of mashed potatoes. Once husband passed on to spending holidays in Heaven, I got rid of the sausage and have never looked back.

    Thanks for the good chuckle this morning, Jami, and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Omgosh… #noturnips happy thanksgiving!

  5. A couple of years after we were married, my husband’s parents joined us for Thanksgiving. I always make my grandmother’s stuffing. He made the mistake of going on about how good my stuffing was compared to his mother’s……death stare. To this day, every Thanksgiving or Christmas when she joins us, he nervously makes bad jokes about how good her stuffing was to try and cover for that comment made 16 years ago! I just laugh inside because my stuffing won!

    I must admit that I’m not even remotely interested in trying to create your stuffing, even though we do have a couple of stale hot dog buns on the kitchen counter right now!!!

  6. Nancy Clanton says:

    I am from south west Missouri, so it is dressing. I married into a stuffing family. I never liked my mother’s dressing. it was some sort of cocoxtion of cornbread and stale canned buiscuits giblets and lots of sage (shudder) We had a bet that by the time I turned 35 my tastes would change, and I would like her dressing. never happened. I thought I just did not like dressing at all. Then I ate my mother in laws oyster stuffing….I know I know…oysters?…but I have tweaked it a bit in the last 20 years and my husband raves and raves. he does not even miss the oysters. ;). Happy Thanksgiving. to your lovly family.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Happy thanksgiving!

  7. Jennifer says:

    When the in laws bring Noro to your house for Thanksgiving in 2012…..no more!! I’m done and NEVER forget!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      #nevereverforget

  8. This is awesome, Jami. Your posts never fail to make me smile. Thanks so much for including my cookbook! {hugs}

  9. Glenna McKelvie says:

    Oh, my goodness! I will #neverforget how sad and disappointed
    You were on your first married Thanksgiving!

  10. OMG the stuffing! Almost as bad as politics!!

  11. Sheila Davis says:

    Well Cuz!!! The dressing is definitely important!! I’m Soo glad my Mother trained me well. And Yes I do the eggs also!! Plus eggs in the giblet gravey!!! I remember I was Soo glad whenThanksgiving got moved to my house and I could be in charge of the dressing!! No Sage in my dressing!!!My kids are spoiled as they say mine is the best. I don’t put onion or celery but use the stovetop as a base and add the boiled eggs and broth instead of water. I can’t do spicy and I like it moist. I have really enjoyed reading about your family!!! Much Love to you all and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Happy thanksgiving!!!!

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  14. Nancy Kirk says:

    Ummmmmmm….I have NEVER made either!! We were a dressing family and my mom’s was so good!! Great to remember because she ALWAYS burned the bottom of the brown and serve rolls!! It is still a family joke! Loved reading this!! Please tell Sophie Mrs. Kirk said hello!! I’ve not met you, but from your posts, I believe she has a lot of you in her!!!!! I LOVE that kid!!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      ❤️

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