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Dressing vs. Stuffing?

So you STUFF the turkey with it. But in New Orleans we always called it dressing as do most Southerners it seems. Stove Top Stuffing is mass-market.

Is this regional? What do you call it? Is that what your family did?
Where do you live?

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  1. You're going to hear a lot of answers and I believe the name will vary by geographic region - of both the poster and ancestors of the poster. I've lived on both coasts and in-between, currently in the southwest.

    My family is a combination of various ancestry and we have always differentiated between what goes IN the turkey, calling it "stuffing" and what is baked OUTSIDE the turkey calling it "dressing". Yes, it can be the exact same thing but the name changes depending on where it cooks. I've found stuffing to be softer and more moist while the dressing can be crisped so we usually do it both ways.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sherri

      I'm veg, so at Thanksgivings my mom makes sure some is baked as dressing, moistened with vegetable broth. As a kid, we called it all stuffing, regardless of method.

    2. Exactly, to me stuffing is cooked inside the bird, or whatever, and dressing is cooked seperately like in a casserole dish. But folks I know can call it either.

      1. See, it wasn't until I started reading widely, and especially seeing it come up on internet discussion boards, that I even heard of dressing. I grew up on the west coast, but my mother's a New Yorker and my father's from Wisconsin, and in my family, it was always called stuffing, whether it was cooked in or out of the bird (we usually had both).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Yeah, it's always been stuffing to me, but only in the bird over at one of my grandma's houses.

        2. Always dressing in my family whether it was stuffed in to the bird or not. It was a side to dress the bird.

          1. But where is everybody from? Where are your families from? Everyone in the US moves around so much now that we are losing regional distinctions in a lot of things.
            Is there a regional basis for this?
            Katie Nell? Candy?

            2 Replies
            1. re: MakingSense

              Midwest for me (Kansas, to be exact). Candy's from the south.

              1. re: Katie Nell

                My family is southern and southwestern. I was an Air Force brat and lived in a lot of places. On my mother's side which is the dominant side when it comes to food, they were all old south who migrated west after "The Great Unpleasantness". No matter where we lived the cooking traditions lived on.

            2. Merriam-Webster:

              "dressing" definition 2b: "a seasoned mixture usually used as a stuffing (as for poultry)."

              "stuffing" definition 1c: "to prepare (meat or vegetables) by filling or lining with a stuffing."

              I love turkey stuffing. I'll pass on the Hamburgerless Helper.

              1. Stuffing if inside, dressing if separate. But a few years ago, while in Lancaster county, PA, I heard it called "filling" even though it was baked in a casserole dish. Whatever you call it, it's my favorite part of the meal.

                1. We're a stuffing family, whether inside or out. I'm a Californian, as is my mother's family going back 3 generations, though they originally hailed from the midwest (Nebraska), and my dad's family is French Canadian, New England and midwestern.

                  1. Although I now bake it outside of the bird, I still call it "stuffing," as did my parents and grandparents. My mom's family hailed from Ireland, and I believe the usage over there is "stuffing."

                    1. I grew up in the NY area, and it was stuffing regardless. I went to college in Virginia and encountered the distinction, which makes eminent sense. Have encountered it as well in eastern New England during the past generation.

                      1. When I was a kid, my aunts called it stuffing, and it really was stuffing. There was just a little bit for everybody, and it was the highlight of the meal.

                        At some point they decided to respond to demand by baking a huge pan of dressing, which they called "stuffing." But they didn't fool me.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          We can always count on you, RL, to find the essentials. Dressing cooked inside the bird soaks up the juices and has the incredible flavor which the casserole lacks.
                          For large groups, Mama started to mix the inside-the-bird dressing with the separately cooked oyster dressing, which was wonderful anyway. I do that now and it really makes a difference. And we have enough to go around since the turkey never holds enough.
                          You are right, the highlight of the meal. Not a side dish.

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            I just be sure to put gravy on the dressing and that satisfies me. No over cooked bird to get the stuffing cooked and the flavor is wonderful. My DH makes the worlds finest gravy.

                            1. re: Candy

                              My family (in southeastern Illinois) always called it dressing wherever it got cooked, which was usually in the bird. Grandma Owen always cooked two turkeys, one with plain bread dressing and one with oyster.

                              I personally prefer the taste of stuffed-inside stuffing (which is what I call it, even when...oh, never mind), but as the bits of it you'll never get out of the carcass make the broth all cloudy, I will do it in a casserole this year. Any dressing left in the carcass will also make it much more perishable, and as I'm always pretty tuckered out (and have had my share of the Beaujolais as well) by cleanup time I'd like the job to be as uncomplicated as possible.

                            2. re: MakingSense

                              Another way to do it it with less risk of overcooking the turkey is to cut the bird in half and place the halves over the dressing in a large roasting pan.

                              1. re: Karl S

                                Glad to see that someone else does that! Only thing is that the dressing needs to be really dry to start with or you're gonna wind up with a goopy mess. I did a whole pan of split Cornish hens on cornbread/sausage stuffing* the first time I had the notion to try this, and it was the most painless way to feed a bunch of people I've ever tried.

                                * You'll notice I managed to use BOTH words in this post! I'm easy...

                          2. Born and raised Baltimore to parents of Italian and Irish ancestry. It was stuffing regardless of where it cooked. (And my mom usually did both, stuffing the bird and cooking some of the same mixture in a casserole dish, to make sure we had enough. We are a stuffing loving family!) Don't remember when I first encountered the term "dressing" but distinguishing the two based on where it's cooked makes, as someone said above, eminent sense to me, so I've started using both terms based on that distinction.

                            1. In the bird = stuffing
                              Out of the bird = dressing

                              1. Stuffing. Regardless of how ... .

                                Toronto
                                ON
                                Canada

                                1. It's always been dressing in my family. And we've always had it in the casserole dish, with gravy.

                                  (North Cackalackie)

                                  1. I've always known it as dressing. My parents are from upstate NY, I was raised in MD, I now live on the coast of NC. All three locations....it's called dressing. Maybe it's not a regional thing?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Phoebe

                                      Not everyone in MD calls it dressing! See above. I never heard that term until I got older. We called it stuffing regardless of where it cooked.

                                      1. re: Phoebe

                                        Sure it is, sounds like Northeasterners call it stuffing, though most people I know from upstate NY grew up in a rural farming tradition not unlike Southerners, so maybe that accounts for your "dressing." :-)

                                      2. In Boston: stuffing, regardless of where it's cooked. Dressing is the goop you put on salads. Period.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: BobB

                                          Boston area also. I agree, stuffing regardless and dressing is for salad. I understand though other parts of the country call it different from where I was born and raised. Just like when you call ask for a tonic down south, they think you mean hair tonic, not soda or pop.

                                          1. re: BobB

                                            I agree, here in KS, or at least in the North East, we call it Stuffing not dressing and we also think dressing is a topping for your salad. But that's what I grew up with. I'm an Army Brat and I don't ever remember anyone calling stuffing, dressing. I just found out today what the difference was.

                                            1. re: BobB

                                              Yes, born and raised in massachusettes. Any bread product served with Turkey is STUFFING- in the bird, next to the bird, or on the floor after a slip on on some spilled canned cranberry sauce. It's always stuffing.

                                            2. In Texas, it's dressing, plain and simple.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: rtmonty

                                                I don't really agree with that. When I lived up north (Indiana, Illinois, Ohio) they called it dressing. When we moved back to Texas (Houston) it was called stuffing. But I really don't think it matters!

                                                1. re: danhole

                                                  Houston is so full of Yankees now, folks just don't even speak Texan anymore. It's dressing, and it's made with cornbread. :)

                                              2. In Rhode Island, where I grew up, and in NYC, where I live now, we call it stuffing...my wild rice stuffing recipe is done outside the bird, but with turkey stock, and it works for me.

                                                1. In central Missouri my family called it dressing wherever it was placed. We did usually fix all of it in casseroles and made way more of it than could ever fit in a turkey. It's still my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal (with gravy of course).

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                                    When I lived in St. Louis, I called it "dressing". If I went back to the upper East Coast for Thanksgiving, I reverted to calling it "stuffing".

                                                  2. I think the Stuffing/Dressing dilemma is similar to the Sprinkles/Jimmies dilemma.

                                                    10 Replies
                                                      1. re: czaplin

                                                        Ditto this! First time I heard "Jimmies" I was like, wha-what?!?

                                                        1. re: charmedgirl

                                                          Hmm.... I thought Jimmies were male blue crabs. I love crabs, but I don't think I want any sprinkled on my cookie or doughnut.

                                                        2. re: czaplin

                                                          Not a dilemma at all, just the delightful remnants of regional variations crumbling under the influence of broadband communications and the homogenizing effects of fast food chains.

                                                          Consider also: milkshake/frappe, sub/hero/hoagie, soda/pop/tonic.

                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                            No, not a dilemma, but I also don't think the regional variations are crumbling so much. People all over the country understand what is meant by "milkshake" and "soda," and fast food chains may all call them chocolate sprinkles, but the regionalisms remain - it's still pop in the Midwest, tonic in Boston, Coke in parts of the south, and sub/hero/hoagie depending on where you are.

                                                            And in fact, the influence of broadband communication is amazingly instructive in the fascinating and, as you say, delightful, regional variations in food terminology. I've spent my whole life in California and NYC, where most of the terms are the same, and it has been from reading converstaions online, mostly on Chowhound, that I've learned about the generic uses of frappe, tonic, and Coke in other parts of the country, as well as other regionalisms I'd had no idea about.

                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                              Honestly, lived in Boston 10 years, never heard "tonic" except in re tonic water. Where does that come from? A particular area? Eg "Lake District lingo," which I never quite understood?

                                                              I see this post is 2 years old, but still....

                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                As a native Bostonian in his 50s I can vouch for the fact that when I was growing up tonic was the universally used term for all carbonated soft drinks. But as I said in my post above (from two years ago), the rise of fast food chains has convinced the younger generation that it's all soda, and now you're unlikely to hear the word tonic outside of an order for a G & T.

                                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                  We moved to Boston when I was young, in the early-mid 80s. By that point of time the whole "tonic"/"frappe"/etc lingo seemed to be mostly contained to the older townies.

                                                                  1. re: jgg13

                                                                    I remember hearing the term "phosphate" for soda in Chicago in the early 70s.

                                                                    (But then, they also had Red Hots, White Hots, Smoked Thuringer, and my fave...direct from Racine...Kringles. A different language back there)

                                                              2. re: BobB

                                                                Not to mention the regional differences between flip-flops/zorries/go-aheads/slippahs, etc.

                                                            2. As a kid in Ohio it was always stuffing, but then as I recall, it was always stuffed.

                                                              This thread may have been inspired by Mark Bittner's article on the same topic in the NY Times this week. The stuffing/dressing distinction seems to make sense.

                                                              http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/15/din...

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: DonShirer

                                                                Loved this article! Mark Bittman is an idol of mine, and I read his column religiously.

                                                                I heartily recommend the recipes from his recent stuffing/dressing piece.

                                                                A few years ago, I started making his James Beard-inspired fresh bread stuffing (technically a "dressing") every Thanksgiving and Christmas and received copious accolades from family and friends. Now, we rarely go back to stuffing.

                                                              2. I'm pretty sure we called it dressing when I was a kid (southeastern Ontario small town, parents' parents from the UK). But now we call it stuffing.

                                                                I'd always figured it was a Briticism my family dropped over time - like, when I was little, we used to say chesterfield for sofa and cupboard for closet. But maybe not...........?

                                                                ................

                                                                Okay I've googled now....

                                                                From http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodh...

                                                                "The term stuffing first appears in English print in 1538. After 1880, it seems the term stuffing did not appeal to the propriety of the Victorian upper crust, who began referring to it as dressing. Nowadays, the terms stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably, with stuffing being the term of preference in the South and East portions of the United States."

                                                                But KnightRidder in Georgia says this:

                                                                "Southerners think cornbread dressing is the food - or at least the side dish - of the gods, while Yankees think stuffing is the only way to go."

                                                                And Mark Bittman in the NY Times says:

                                                                "STUFFING, as I’ve been informed by friends from the South, is properly called dressing when you cook it outside the bird."

                                                                And finally, from the BBC:

                                                                "The third [Thanksgiving] essential is stuffing, often called 'dressing' in the US."

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: spigot

                                                                  In other words, no agreement at all on where/how the two versions came from or are used :-) I guess we'll just have to keep using what we grew up with...

                                                                  1. re: spigot

                                                                    I'm in Southwestern Ontario, also with UK ancestry, and we always called it dressing. Now stuffing seems to be used a bit more often. We also used to say chesterfield, but nobody I know would say "sofa"; it's a "couch". Also "serviette" instead of "napkin", but that's also going by the wayside.

                                                                  2. Northern NJ - stuffing, both inside and outside.

                                                                    1. Stuffing, no matter if it's in or out. Bird was always "stuffed" growing up, but we now serve it along-side.

                                                                      I don't think I heard the word "dressing" until I was well into adulthood.

                                                                      Brooklyn, born and bred.
                                                                      NJ currently.

                                                                      1. I was born in the south, raised in Upper New York and returned to the south and have lived here for the past 25 years. It's funny because my wife & In-laws are from NYC and this very discussion came up over Thanksgiving dinner. I agree with many of the ideas offered concerning this yet I have another thought to consider. Living both in the south & north I have found that stuffing is made with bread whereas dressing (traditional) is made with cornbread. Don't forget to pass the "Giblet" gravy! ';-)

                                                                        1. Until a couple of days ago i'd never heard of 'dressing' and until i moved to the US i never knew of stuffing outside of the bird. I'm from Australia and my mother's family is English/Scottish decent (Dad is Malaysian) and we always stuffed our chicken or turkey with a stuffing that has a different texture than I've been eating here; more moist and dense, basically we take the bread and oven dry it and then hand crumble it and mix it with herbs, fruit, broth etc... as opposed to the stuffing I've eaten here which seems to be made from chunks of bread and sausage meat with herbs and broth.

                                                                          1. Stuffing, even though it never goes in the bird. My parents live in VA. My fiance's from NH and he also grew up calling it stuffing.

                                                                            1. From Los Angeles, but my family is from Texas! Mom always stuffed the inside of the turkey AND she placed dressing all around the turkey - boy that was some great tastin' dressing!

                                                                              I just thought about the above. I'm too chicken to try stuffing the turkey -- I don't know, the older folks knew how to cook just right!

                                                                              1. I'm not sure if it is regional or not but in the different generations called it different things. My grandmother calls it dressing and my mother calls it stuffing.
                                                                                I think stove top stuffing is gross. (But that is MY PERSONAL opinion.) I was raised making your own dressing to go into a bird is best. I PERSONALLY think it is a waist of time a tastes slimey in the end. I make for the traditional sense. So my kids see that I do the same as my mother and grandmother before me. Doesn't mean that I eat it either..

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: BiZeMommy

                                                                                  If it is cooked inside the bird its stuffing; If its baked in a casserole, its "dressing", and hardly worth eating (IMHO). Stove Top Stuffing? Don't even GO there..... ugh!!!

                                                                                  And if that "bread casserole" is "dressing" .... what is that stuff you put on your salad???

                                                                                  1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                    I grew up in Atlanta and we always had pan "dressing." I prefer it because you get lots of crunchies from the baking. But my mother used stock made from the giblets, her homemade cornbread. Basically the same thing that would have been stuffing but just not put in the bird.

                                                                                2. My mother is from Monroe, LA and she always called it dressing. (Must be cornbread and no sage!) But she also never stuffed the turkey. We like the crispy edges the dressing gets in the pan.

                                                                                  1. We call it stuffing in Chicago/the Midwest but I have definitely seen it referred to as dressing many times over.

                                                                                    I find the term dressing confusing because I think of salad dressing which is VERY different.

                                                                                    1. Raised in MD of a Long Island mother and a OK father. Stuffing. Always stuffing regardless of where it came from. I first heard "dressing" in college in upstate NY in the dining hall on turkey dinner night. I was confused. I put dressing on salad and wondered if it was different than stuffing. It isn't.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Super Salad

                                                                                        I am born and raised in upstate NY and the only person that I have ever heard call it dressing was my Great Grandma whom I lived with until college. She called the whole process "dressing the bird" and anything that she put in there was considered dressing.

                                                                                        1. re: phimoez

                                                                                          I live in the beautiful hills of Southern Indiana. I say that because you may call Indiana the north, south, east, west, or midwest. I make dressing the same way my mother and grandmother did.

                                                                                          I've always eaten dressing with turkey. I only make it once a year @ Thanksgiving, my favorite time of year.

                                                                                          It's not tthe same thing as stuffing, although I do put some of it in the turkey, as well as in the pan the turkey sits in. c_oliver called it pan dressing, and that fits. It's dressing - dresses the bird. I use white bread with crusts that is torn into pieces, mixed with broth and meat from the giblets, raw egg, sauteed celery and onions, sometimes oysters, and lots of seasonings. It does make the best crusty bread around the edges of the pan, and I scrape the sides down to stir in the crust at least once, so there will be lots of yummy crusties. Gosh, I can't wait.

                                                                                          Oh, and I'm VERY Southern. My ancestors came from Virginia and the Carolinas in very early 1800s, and they brought as much of the spirit as the could with them.

                                                                                      2. Always dressing and never stuffed in the bird.

                                                                                        1. Growing up in NW Pennsylvania, it was always stuffing and it was always cooked in the bird. It was never never ever cornbread.

                                                                                          Now that I live in California it is always dressing, still always cooked in the bird and still never never never never ever cornbread.

                                                                                          English/Scottich descent.

                                                                                          Salad dressing is for salads.
                                                                                          Soda is for carbonated beverages.
                                                                                          I grocery shop at the market aka grocery store
                                                                                          I use a cart.
                                                                                          Put groceries in a bag.

                                                                                          For those afraid to cook their stuffing/dressing in the bird, did you ever know ANY one who got sick or died from eating cooked in the bird dressing/stuffing?

                                                                                          Use a product called stuffing sack. Works perfectly and there is not one morsel of dressing/stuffing remaining in turkey carcass. And the stuffing/dressing is so superior, why wouldn't you?

                                                                                          1. From NJ, and it's always called stuffing but I have never had it stuffed in the turkey.

                                                                                            I like my stuffing very meaty and busy and kind of crisp. Husband likes it moist but not wet-wet-wet. There will be gravy involved either way. It was never referred to as dressing in our family. Mom used to shove cut apples, stalks of celery, onions, herbs, citrus, wads of newspaper (kidding-my list was getting long) inside the bird and if she had pulled stuffing out of there I think we may have freaked out a little.

                                                                                            1. In NY and NJ, stuffing you have with a turkey. Dressing you put on a salad. (Who ever heard of Salad Stuffing?)

                                                                                              1. Always stuffing, everyone I've known and rarely actually cooked inside the bird. Born and raised in NE Ohio.

                                                                                                1. I LOVE our turkey "dressing", here in San Diego, with Andouille sausage...

                                                                                                  1. Growing up in NJ jfood always had stuffing.

                                                                                                    When it was served, his mother asked him if he wanted stuffing from the bird or from the Pyrex. He was probably 20 years old when he learned the difference of in bird = stuffing; in pyrex = dressing.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                      That's my understanding of the difference too - family from SW PA.

                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                        My family also in Atlanta. I like dressing cause it's got more texture.

                                                                                                      2. Well, I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country and it was referred to as "stuffing" or (adding a regional variant here) "filling". Yes, the PA Dutch make a dish called potato filling, which is essentially a tasty potato casserole cooked outside a bird, but the stuff inside the turkey was also often referred to as "filling". I think it probably comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch language, a variant of German originating with immigrants from the Rhineland-Palatinate region of what is now Germany. Fuellung is German for filling and both are pronounced somewhat similarly. So, to me it's always been "filling". My parents aren't PA Dutch (they are actually German immigrants), but plenty of our Dutchified neighbors called it "filling".

                                                                                                        1. We have a new son-in-law who likes the bird stuffed and I like pan dressing. This sounds SO basic but do I need to add or delete anything if I both stuff the bird and bake some separately. Would one need to be drier than the other? He also wants rolls but our daughter is in charge of that. I don't DO rolls :)

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            My mother usually pours part of a can of chicken stock over the stuffing she bakes (we're a very stuffing oriented family, and there's not enough room in our turkey for the amount of stuffing we'd like to eat) -- it gives it more of that poultry umami that it would otherwise have gotten from the turkey, and keeps it from drying out.

                                                                                                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                              I do the same thing, only these days I use the organic stock that comes in those cardboard cartons.

                                                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                I think this is a good idea. I remember my mother's dressing was on the wet side and, upon baking, firmed up. Thanks for your help

                                                                                                          2. My family calls it stuffing, regardless of whether its stuffed in the bird or baked in a casserole dish (i prefer what others might call dressing, it gets all crunchy on top, YUM). My mum is from Virginia and my father is from Queens, but both call it stuffing.

                                                                                                            1. Stuffing (inside or out, doesn't matter). Perhaps it's my Midwestern upbringing.

                                                                                                              1. I heard in passing on a FN TDay help show that 'dressing' was a Victorian era polite substitute for vulgar sounding 'stuffing'.

                                                                                                                I wonder if replies on this thread confirm that. For example, did hounds inherit the use of 'dressing' from their educated great aunt, and 'stuffing' from their Pennsylvania Dutch great grand father?

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                  1st generation american in new york:

                                                                                                                  always stuffing, wherever it's cooked

                                                                                                                2. I live in the south and at our table, stuffing is not served (though I wish it were) Stuffing is made from cubed bread of whatever kind. Dressing is this disgusting concoction my grandparents make with cornmeal, boiled eggs, celery and sage. Its green grey, vomit inducing and cooked in a separate dish from the turkey. It makes me sad.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: JessieJay

                                                                                                                    Oh no, what a sad family tradition. My condolences

                                                                                                                  2. I am from England and it's always called stuffing although prepping the turkey is known as dressing the bird. Stuffing in the cavity but some people bake it separately. Never had cornbread stuffing till I got to the US and never heard it called dressing before.

                                                                                                                    1. I like how this four-year-old thread gets revived almost every year around this time. I wonder why? ;-)

                                                                                                                      1. We always grill the turkey, and a 22 lb turkey cooks in just about 2 hrs flat on our grill. I prefer my dressing well-doused with turkey broth and cooked in the oven. I don't remember what my family did, we developed a rockin' system and stick to it!

                                                                                                                        1. Stuffing,
                                                                                                                          Vancouver, B.C, Canada

                                                                                                                          1. I'm of mostly English and Irish descent, grew up in a fairly isolated community (where most everyone is some combination of English, Irish, and African descent) with few outside influences from the end of the Civil War until the end of WWII. We call is dressing, and it is never cooked inside the bird. Even before it was considered dangerous to stuff the bird, we made dressing in a pan and filled the turkey cavity with celery and onion.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                              "Even before it was considered dangerous to stuff the bird"

                                                                                                                              What danger? There is no danger as long as you handle the ingredients carefully and cook everything to the proper temperature.

                                                                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                It's not clear that mpjmph agrees that it is dangerous to sell a bird, but he (or she) is certainly right that it is considered dangerous. By many folks at least. The warnings seem to be everywhere this time of year. I half expect to hear the emergency sirens in town delivering a voice message instead, "Woe to he who stuffs the bird."

                                                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                  Oh tell me about it. One year my mom nearly threw the stuffed turkey out after my cousin's wife insisted that it was going to kill all of us. I had to play sentry to protect that poor bird and all that lovely stuffing (btw, my parents call it dressing) that was, incidentally, cooked before being stuffed into the bird. Everyone was fine—why shouldn't they be, my parents have been doing it this way for over 30 years.

                                                                                                                            2. Have always called it stuffing, even as a kid. We usually cook the stuffing in the turkey with an extra dish on the side as you can never have enough stuffing.
                                                                                                                              Toronto, Ontario, Canada

                                                                                                                              1. We call it dressing in West Texas and never stuff it into the bird. The base is always cornbread, and the primary flavoring note is sage. The dressing is well-moistened by chicken broth before baking and retains most of the moisture. The "stuff" is a bloody gustatory revelation.

                                                                                                                                1. To "Stuff" the bird's cavity
                                                                                                                                  is "Good Housekeeping" depravity.
                                                                                                                                  It slows down the cooking time
                                                                                                                                  and fosters bacteria.
                                                                                                                                  The Bird is much better with a well-heated center.

                                                                                                                                  Cornbread, when crumbled, suffices quite well.
                                                                                                                                  As does day-old cubed white bread: dried, soaked, and swelled.

                                                                                                                                  Accents of sausage, and even some oysters
                                                                                                                                  gives a good dance to the tongue of us joysters.

                                                                                                                                  But two central things are essential of Wisdom
                                                                                                                                  when constructing the build of a stuffing or dressing:
                                                                                                                                  Gotta have celery.
                                                                                                                                  Gotta have Sage.

                                                                                                                                  20 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                    Agreed on all counts. Instead of sausage or oysters, however, I incorporate some bacon fat into the mix. This is not a bad thing.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                      Bacon grease is never a bad thing . . .

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                        Too right.

                                                                                                                                        It's been known to cure the common cold, alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, and mechanics recommend putting a glob in your gas tank to dissolve carbon buildup around your piston rings.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                          There is segue and concord of crisp pistons and rings
                                                                                                                                          and their pulsating function, and coarse gritted cornbread.

                                                                                                                                          Be-fatted pistons give a good gentle glide
                                                                                                                                          and power to whatever things they are tied.
                                                                                                                                          Just as soft crumbled cornbread gives calorie release
                                                                                                                                          and the Sage and the Pepper give sensory increase.

                                                                                                                                          A good day's encounter with a fully spiced dressing
                                                                                                                                          is a lesson in kicking back and giving the belt lessening.

                                                                                                                                          And those soft gentle burps
                                                                                                                                          we ascribe to the gravy.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                              There is balance in being just shade-tree mechanics.
                                                                                                                                              The sound of clcked rachet as we twist down the socket
                                                                                                                                              has similar rings and joys of harmonics
                                                                                                                                              that sweeping hot wok in a good stir-fry brings
                                                                                                                                              in its aromas and metallic rings.

                                                                                                                                              Soft, supple cornbread, crumbled through gentle but coarse callused fingers
                                                                                                                                              added to sage, pepper, celery, onions
                                                                                                                                              soaked in broth, stirred, and placed in the oven
                                                                                                                                              is a way that we we gently give show of our lovin.'

                                                                                                                                              The click of the rachet when tweaking the manifold
                                                                                                                                              has chords we encounter when knife dances on cutting board.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                True, but I'm a helluva lot better at making dressing than boring the cylinders of a 396.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, it's leaning toward season where were we prefer softened bread crumbs
                                                                                                                                                  to those rascally wispy metal shavings.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                            OMG, wasting it on your CAR? Talk about conspicuous consumerism!

                                                                                                                                            That's like setting fire to money! Just because you CAN doesn't mean you should!

                                                                                                                                            Biscuits, my man, BISCUITS! And cornbread. And pan fried potatoes. And . . . and . . . words fail me!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                              I've also found that smearing bacon grease on one's satellite dish improves reception.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                You put bacon drippings in biscuits? Never heard of that one!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                  You DON'T use bacon grease in biscuits? Never heard of THAT!

                                                                                                                                                  LOL!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                    You really do that? I've only ever used shortening, i.e., Crisco, (I'm from the South; maybe that's the reason) but here I've read about butter but never tried it. Bacon. Hmm.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                      I learned from my grandmother to use bacon drippings in biscuits as a form of shortening. I thought that nearly everyone did. However, she also used Crisco when there was no fat from bacon or salt pork around. Anyway, if you have never used bacon drippings, try it instead of Crisco for a great taste treat.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                        Bacon grease is critical for great scrambled eggs, IMO. Gives the eggs a slightly dirty look (which I actually like), and really improves the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                          Very definitely! The best way to fry them as well.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, bacon grease if you've got it (with a family of 7 that was pretty much a given) and Crisco if there's no bacon grease.

                                                                                                                                                            It's been a long time but that's how I did it when I was a kid.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                              So do you use it in its solid state (like Crisco) or melted? Hmmm :)

                                                                                                                                            2. Technically "stuffing" goes inside the bird and "dressing" is cooked outside the bird, but we called it all stuffing.

                                                                                                                                              1. My parents are both from Wisconsin, my family is mostly of Scandinavian/northern European heritage. It was always "dressing" when I was growing up. Indeed, the "family" recipe, the one that my mother makes and that my wife tries to duplicate (though she doesn't really like it) was actually my paternal grandfather's recipe. Long after he was gone, whenever the family was together for a holiday, mom was asked to make the dressing, because she could make it like "Dad" (Grandpa) did.
                                                                                                                                                That aside, I am pretty sure I recall reading that "stuffing" really started to be called "dressing" during Victorian times, because the term "stuffing" seemed vulgar or something. Seems to me that those Victorians could have used a good stuffing, and I don't mean dressing.

                                                                                                                                                1. In Pennsylvania, they call it "filling".

                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nosey

                                                                                                                                                    Which it is, very, at least if there's enough of it!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nosey

                                                                                                                                                      And don't they mix corn kernels into it?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                          I don't know about the corn kernel's inthe filling, but Cope's dried corn is an accepted side dish.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nosey

                                                                                                                                                            I ordered that through the mail last year and that was some outrageously sweet, nutty stuff. I made a corn pudding with it and it was celestial.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Well, in the Midwest and likewise regions, whether it was stuffed into something or not, it was always "stuffing." I never heard the term "dressing" until I saw it on a restaurant menu one bastard Thanksgiving when we went out to dinner instead of "going to all that trouble." Then, in my "later" years, I met up with a lot of Eastcoasters who called it dressing. The winner, though, was "bread sauce", which I can get behind intellectually, but not gustatorily. To my taste, very soggy and not nice at all, but if it's what you grew up on, I can see it.

                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                          'bread sauce' normally refers to an English gravy thickened with breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                            Huh, that's not quite what this was. It was more of a bechamel/breadcrumb slurry and it was served with some game bird, I don't remember what. Less of a thickened gravy texture. What I was served was maybe atypical; I don't have a frame for context. Harters?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                That's the one. Thanks!! (not only the descr. but the photo.)

                                                                                                                                                        2. stuffing up here in canada has no meat. Dressing often has a ground meat in it as well as the bread stuffing combined...