Dressed and Stuffed
I can make dressing - or stuffing. Y'all call it stuffing up here, we call it dressing down there. It's really good dressing. That family recipe was passed on, and I love to make that. - Edie Brickell
As a child, I was blithely unaware of what it took to get the small mountain of Thanksgiving food to the table. A whirlwind of activity centered on what seemed like about fifty Aunts, my Mom, and my beautiful Grandma as they happily chatted and dashed about in an intricately orchestrated Turkey Day Cookery Dance. I knew that dressing and stuffing were different dishes because on the table at my Grandparent’s Central Illinois farm was a bowl of each. Both had cubed bread, but were otherwise very different in flavor, aroma, and textures. Aunt Tate made the stuffing and WeeDee made the dressing. I remember being puzzled, about why one was called dressing. Dressing was what you put on top of a salad; but I did not waste much thought on it as I had more fun outside talking to the cows.
Years later I learned (I thought) why the dishes had different names. Through the magic of preparation choices either of my Aunts' recipes could have become stuffing or dressing! I don't think anyone actually told me that, it was one of those smack the forehead moments. Stuffing is stuffed into the meat (smack in the forehead) and dressing is, well, not…I'm still not sure why anyone ever named it “dressing” though.
Then, I moved to south of the Mason Dixon Line and discovered that here it's called dressing whether it is cooked in meat or not. Maybe dressing just sounds more refined as befits a dish usually served at fancy meals. Stuffing is a pretty old culinary word. My aged dictionary says the word dates to early 16th century and quite specifically is meant to be stuffed into a joint of meat. Dressing’s definition was a little more ambiguous and did not clarify the reason for the name of the dish. To confuse things even further, the terms are bandied about by a many good cooks and chefs as if they are completely interchangeable. It's fascinating how so many chefs differ on the semantics of a food that many consider essential for celebratory meals.
But, what's a calorie counter to do? Well, that depends on how you handle your own way of eating and whether you are eating to lose or gain weight. Some eat as usual and just measure quantities, others change the construction of the meal entirely, many will deny themselves even a taste because they are on a diet, and still more will simply say "it's a holiday" and eat what they want. Does stuffing have to be bread? Nope. Does it have to be nutrition free? Nope. Can a stuffing be vegetarian or low carb? Absolutely! Try making stuffing with quinoa, wild rice or mushrooms. Load it up with veggies, nuts, dried fruits or just about anything that appeals to you. As a calorie counting cook you just need to know your nutrition facts and portions. Check out the Heavy on the Veggie Stuffing below for an idea for a healthy stuffing that earned an A- on the Calorie Count nutrition analysis!
Heavy on the Veggie Stuffing/Dressing is an excellent way to begin to change how you look at stuffing - just stuff it with veggies!
For those that prefer traditional stuffing served with smaller portions to meet your calorie goal, try this down home at the farm plain ole Cornbread and Sage Sausage Stuffing!
Thrill the Vegetarians in your family when you prepare Vegetarian Times beautifully festive Seitan Timbales with Chestnut-Champignon Stuffing, a dish that is stunning enough to serve as a main course.
This Basic Wild Rice Stuffing is wonderful stuffed inside a variety of things, including a tri-color assortment of bell peppers creating a fantastic Vegetarian feast!
For a gourmet treat, give terrific Epicurious' Leek and Wild Mushroom Stuffing a try!
The outstandingly talented BrokeAss Gourmet really made my mouth water with her Bacon Persimmon Stuffing! I’ve run the nutrition facts for you on Calorie Count and I think you will be surprised. Gabi, as usual, has the low cost of the ingredients all figured out for you too!
How much stuffing should you make to stuff a turkey? A good guideline is 1/2 to 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. Calorie counters should for the more traditional high calorie recipes serve themselves about 1/2 cup. Remember, all stuffing recipes - well all recipes for that matter - are simply starting places for you to tweak and create a beautiful memories of family gatherings...unless you are thinking outside the bird and making dressing.
Do you call it stuffing or dressing, or do use the term interchangeably? Do you still make the same stuffing recipe that has been in your family for generations? If you eat low carb, can you give me a few suggestions for a fantastic low carb stuffing? Do you eat stuffing only on holidays or have you found a way to make it a part of your regular meals? Have you tried using homemade bread croutons for your stuffing? If you have a recipe you would like me to share at The CC Palate, send it to me here!