Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lessons in Stuffing....

As a newlywed 17 years ago, I was excited to cook our first Thanksgiving meal. Like most young brides, I was not the most experienced cook. I loved to bake, but my childhood didn’t really prepare me for much dinner fare beyond Hamburger Helper, Mac-n-cheese, and homemade pizza (Sorry, Mom, but that’s what I picked up!)

Even though we were miles from home, I set out to make our meal perfect. I knew my husband loved his mother’s stuffing, so I asked him to call her for the recipe, which he promptly did. I eagerly shopped for the Thanksgiving bounty, my mouth watering in anticipation. A week later, when the big day loomed, I took Hubby’s notes (neatly jotted on a piece of scratch paper) and got to work.

Let me digress a little to tell you that I while I love my mother in law dearly, I do not care for her stuffing; it has meat in it. Too gamey for my taste, but in the name of love, I got going. Soon, I was ready to stuff the bird. The dressing was a little soggy, but I figured that the bird would soak up the juices. My spirits soared as the kitchen filled with the aroma of our delicious bird. Table set, we sat down and dug in. Giddy with anticipation, hubby scooped out the first spoonful of heaven. Did I say heaven? I meant heavy. Instead of light, fluffy stuffing, he got a gloopy mess of meat! Hesitantly, we tasted it. Meat. Lots of celery, onions, and other stuff in a clump of soggy meat.

Disheartened, I called my mother in law to find out what I had done wrong. She suggested that maybe I hadn’t followed the recipe correctly? Nonsense! I decried, and I proceeded to give her the replay of how I had prepared the stuffing. I read the recipe to her directly from Hubby’s notes. “Maybe you didn’t put enough croutons in?” she suggested.


Croutons?! There were no croutons on the recipe! I confronted my husband on the fact that he not written croutons on the recipe. “Yes, I did,” he insisted. “It wasn’t on the recipe,” I insisted. “It’s no big deal,” Hubby assured me. “The stuffing is fine. Don’t worry about it.” Wiping away tears, I gave up, resigned to never make stuffing again.

Days later, upon cleaning the coffee table by the phone, a small piece of scratch paper fell to the floor. Three words screamed at me from the top of the page: “One Bag Croutons.” Thankfully, I was able to pick up the phone and call my mother in law, who got a real kick out it. We both laughed til our sides hurt.

Needless to say, this story will be told for years to come. These days, I do make a kick-butt pumpkin cheesecake. My Berry Mallow Bake is to die for (let me know if you want the recipe!) But Mom still holds the Wonderful Stuffing Maker title; as far as I’m concerned, she can have it.

(I’ll save the lemon meringue pie story for another post….)


  1. I love my mom's stuffing. There's no croutons but instead bread that has been soaked.

  2. Ha! That is too funny! What exactly was in the stuffing for substance if no croutons?

  3. I just looked up the recipe. It had a pound of ground pork, a ton of seasoning, two chopped onions, 2chopped celery stalks, an apple, and some raisins. Yikes!


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