This is my first in a series of what I like to call "versus" blogs. What I intend to do, periodically, is to take two sides of things and attempt to convince you why I am right. ;) Hey, I'm from Jersey originally...and I'm a woman and I'm very competitive...so that's my plan. I welcome you to challenge me...in a nice way...not just "you are wrong, you moron"...to see your perspective. Some planned to come are Krispy Kreme vs Dunkin' Donuts and Hoagies vs Everything Else They Claim Is.
My topic this time around I think is quite appropriate: Stuffing vs Dressing
Now, as you might have just read...I am originally from New Jersey and have been living here in the Montgomery area for the last 17 years. Up in Jersey, we always referred to it as "stuffing"...hence shoving it in the dead animal's orifice and cooking away...to be retrieved later as is usually the order of business.
Now they tell you "don't stuff things in the bird's cavity...if you do...you are going to risk harmful bacteria...and if you must...shove it in there loosely so it gets a chance to cook". Well, this is probably a wise idea...but for all those years my parents didn't so much as have a meat thermometer and we survived. I run around now changing forks each time I turn a piece of meat - clean the counters dozens of times and make sure everything is cooked to bacteria-ridding degrees as per the USDA's guidelines. Ah the days of being able to eat raw hamburger and over-easy eggs. Nowadays...well, you can't even chomp down on raw spinach or lettuce without worrying about it. But I digress...back to the matter at hand...stuffing.
Stuffing is stuff you basically shove into another thing...the thing usually being a nice dead piece of animal. You can stuff poultry, seafood, pork, beef, lamb, and whatever animal I might have missed...you know, like goat and wildebeest. Oh...wildebeest is terrific by the way...seriously...it is.
I think "dressing" came about as it sounded too cretinous...no stodgy inherited-thru-the-ages rich folk would kowtow to the nouveaux riche or heaven forbid, sub-classes and call their stuffing "stuffing"...or even worse, "stuffin'". They needed something to differentiate themselves...think of watching Daniel Day-Lewis in "The Age of Innocence" reluctantly accepting the snobbism of late-19th century Victorian era well-to-doers "dressing" up...all because Winona Ryder slyly weaseled her way into his good graces...altho we all knew he really wanted to stuff things with Michelle Pfeiffer instead.
"Dressing" also sounds like anything you could put "off to the side to compliment some other food". Kinda like a glorified condiment..."Oooh...would you like some dressing with your smelts?" "Uhhhh...isn't that JUST ketchup?" "Why, yes it's just ketchup...but it IS off to the side in one of those tiny little paper tub-like devices only seen in fast food places and seafood restaurants of lesser stature at the beach...I mean...uh...um...it's a 'condimentier'...it's like one of those fancy individual salt servers with the equally miniature spoons...because heaven forbid 'shaking' our own salt is soooooo beneath us." Also, "dressing" seems like it's supposed to mask the otherwise unpleasantness of the other food...it has to "dress it up" - as it really can't "stand alone". Face it...when was the last time you actually served smelts...and did you serve them alone? I nearly rest my case.
So, I decided I'd do the only logical thing I could think of because I didn't have time to quiz a cross-section of people this late in the day...I Googled. And this is what I just found...whether or not it's one-hundred percent accurate is anyone's guess...but it does rather foot the bill and serve my purpose and theory on stuffing/dressing.
So, tomorrow as I am stuffing my stuffing into a separate oven-safe casserole-type container...which will also be temperature-tested with a thermometer before it comes out of the oven and ever sees the artificial light of day in my kitchen...I will reminisce about how you once could cram as much stuffing as you made into the turkey without fear of death. And even IF you went to a relative's house for Thanksgiving...you never had to "dress" for dinner...just the opposite in fact, as that weird "uncle" of yours inevitably and unfortunately...always ended up loosening more than just his belt.
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".