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’Twas the night before Thanksgiving,

And not a wink of sleep,

Facing another fractious debate,

It almost makes me weep.

It’s not about the turkey,

Or all the work that’s pressing,

It’s about what’s inside the bird,

Do we call it stuffing or dressing?


Of the many things I have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, one of the most rewarding is the peace that comes with knowing – and I say this in all modesty – that I’ve won the debate.

And what dispute, you might ask, could possibly get in the way of sitting down at a bountiful table where thankful adults and children gather in fellowship and familial love?

Admittedly, this whole squabble is total silliness and shouldn’t even be a problem. I mean, you take some butter, onions, celery stalks, dried bread cubes, garlic and then add some pork sausage and voila: dressing.

Or is it stuffing?

Yes, it’s a wicket stickier than cranberry sauce on a grandchild’s chin. It’s sort of like that other age-old question: Is it casserole or hot dish? But far more important.

So which is correct, “stuffing” or “dressing”?

Drumstick roll, please.

The correct word is “dressing.”

I know this is going to come as a shock to some, in particular cousin Eddie, who, though he rightly sees himself as a chef-in-the-making, leans toward the “stuffing” argument.

How do I know that the succulent, mouth watering, let’s-eat-now aroma of the dressing is in fact, “dressing”?

Well, that’s what Grandma called it.

Need more proof?

I now bring in the heavy artillery, the arbiter of all things turkey,

The folks at Butterball conducted a survey, and here’s the proof in the pudding:

“If you call it dressing, odds are you cook it separately from the turkey, and you live in the southern region of the United States.”

Now, some discerning reader may have noticed that the Butterball author referenced the southern states, but we in fact do live in the south, as in “South” Dakota, which qualifies.

And, moreover, since our family serves it as a separate dish, right alongside the candied sweet potatoes and scalloped corn, the right answer has to be “dressing.”
“Stuffing” is inside the turkey, “dressing” is outside.

Case closed.

However, in the spirit of the holiday, getting along, and magnanimity, I’m going to send this column to cousin Eddie in hopes that all disagreeableness, hard feelings and downright rancor can be put aside on this Thanksgiving.

Now, if I can just get him to agree that in our family, at least, we call those delicious, hamburger-based sandwiches “barbecues,” not “taverns.”

Nov. 22, 2017