Stuffing Kills Family of Five. More at eleven.

It’s funny how the family dynamic can shift and change like sands in the wind. A delightful friend of mine, matron of her family, is experiencing just such a shift this year. We’re going to call this friend Maithair Mhor because…I said so. I asked her to write this post and she gave me the gift of the story, instead.

Mrs. Mohr has been cooking Thanksgiving turkey since she was 18-years-old. Her family is robust and though people have come and gone over the years, those seats around the Thanksgiving table are always filled and then some.

But this year is different. This year, she will have five, maybe six, people in her home for the upcoming holiday, herself included. She’s not sure how to cook a feast for just a handful of heads. Well, and their bodies, too, I assume.

I told her I never have to make the turkey because I was smart enough to ruin it three years running. She bemoaned the fact she  never thought of roasting that bird to a beautiful golden-brown only to leave it raw inside. She probably would not have had to cook 50+ turkeys over the years had she been a little more devious in her youth.
I told her such mischief pays off: I only make my grandmother’s cranberry relish and whatever other side dishes are needed, usually a veggie casserole of some sort. Mrs. Mohr mentioned that her kids and their kids and their kids love Love LOVE the canned cranberries, though she’s never been a fan. Because they’re gross. But this year…this year, she thinks maybe it is high time to make a real, uncanned cranberry dish. Because, after all, there are only 4 people to disappoint and that’s totally easy to live down.

This is where she started getting excited. If she can push the boundaries with cranberries, what about other forbidden foods? Like, say…stuffing?

I know, I know. You’re thinking what I thought, “What? Stuffing? How can that be forbidden? Gluten allergies? But there are alternatives. How can stuffing not be on the table?” Well, you see, years and years ago, there was a warning issued, one that said not to stuff the cavity of the turkeybird with dressing because it would not get thoroughly cooked thus enabling foodborne pathogens to invade the dinner table and next thing you know, everyone dies. Mrs. Mohr eliminated traditional stuffing from the menu and went with the Stove Top Stuffing instead.
I have never been a fan of Stove Top, myself. I think it’s horrifically salty and unstuffingy. But I also think it’s wonderful for anyone who has been told bird-stuffing is dangerous OR who doesn’t know how/doesn’t have time/doesn’t want to go through the effort to make the real thing because, let’s face it, that’s a lot of work. And if you’re like me, it’s also alot of sore and sliced fingers (from crunching up the dried bread manually. Yes, for those who don’t know, traditional bread stuffing has dried bread – no, not toast – as an ingredient)

Peligro! Achtung! Beware of stuffing!

Peligro! Achtung! Beware of stuffing!

This year, Mrs. Mohr is going to make stuffing the old-fashioned way.

Her logic: If she winds up killing everyone with turkey-borne illness, it’s just four people. Who is going to notice? Now is the time to try out new things because IT’S JUST FOUR PEOPLE! I’m beginning to wonder if Mrs. Mohr wasn’t a mad scientist in a past life. Then again, I can’t argue with her. This truly is the perfect time to try new dishes, to experiment, to bring back the traditions of Thanksgiving! Because, really, if you have to have a massacre, it should be small and easy to clean.
However, it’s still a win-win situation. If all goes well, Mrs. Mohr will bring her successes to the next Thanksgiving meal; they’ll become the new traditions. If it’s a disaster, we only have to attend one funeral and the survived-bys will get a family discount. There really is no downside, here.

You may think this sounds morbid, especially on the eve of one of our few actual Made-in-America, For America, By America holidays, but really, it’s joyful. It shows that there are many ways to be grateful and that if you can put a positive spin on everything you do, you’ll be much more open to trying new things. Like cranberry relish and traditional in-the-bird stuffing.

To the family of Mrs. Mohr: I wish you a happy and successful Thanksgiving. Should it go awry, I’ve been asked to sit down and explain the whole thing to the investigating officer. To everyone else who will be celebrating the day of food, the day of football, the first actual day of the Christmas season, the day of thankfulness tomorrow, may it be fruitful, enjoyable, delicious and relatively death-free.

Edit, December 2, 2013

This just in, straight from Mrs. Mohr, herself:

Everyone survived the ordeal. The homemade stuffing was ok but I added too much seasoning.  Stove Top would have been better.

The HIT of the entire day was [your] Grandma’s cranberry sauce.  Everyone loved it!!!!!!! However my children were not in attendance so who know what will happen when they do come for dinner. Will they be rummaging through the pantry looking for a  CAN of cranberry sauce, will they crawl into a corner and cry or will a food fight break out in the dining room????????????????????? 

Stay tuned for another installment of Thanksgiving Drama. See you same time, same place, next year!

You can totally see why I adore this woman, right? She’s awesome.

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14 Comments

Filed under Adventures, Guest stories, In someone else's backyard

14 responses to “Stuffing Kills Family of Five. More at eleven.

  1. Tyler J. Yoder

    We always had two things of stuffing, one certifiably safe, brought by my aunt who was terrified of delicious bread products, and one made by my Nanny that was glorious and potentially deadly. Also, that way it’s clearly labeled and if someone wants to risk their life in pursuit of flavor, it’s their own choice and not a compulsory, culty, death food.

    • Stuffing is good, no matter how you look at it. Two kinds are better than one. We always have the bird cavity stuffing and then the leftover what-didn’t-fit-in-the-bird as baked dressing. Why is it called “dressing” anyway? I’ll bet you know off the top of your head and can tell me instead of making me look it up on the internets!

      • Tyler J. Yoder

        Actually, I really have no idea, so I’m going to make something up – namely that turkey isn’t nearly classy enough on its own, so it needs dressing up. With dressing.

        That was a little weak, sorry. I’m quitting smoking, so maybe I’m not quite up to par.

        • OMG! I am SO excited that you’re on the Quitting Smoking path! Well, I mean, I’m thrilled that you are prolonging your life (thus, my enjoyment in this world) and saving money to go to Europe (where everyone smokes, btw. Just…be ready) Not so exciting is the PMS you’ll be suffering for however long it takes to work the addiction out of your system.
          I can’t offer any tips or tricks or anything of substance, but just please know that I am completely rooting for you! Go, Tyler, Go, Tyler! Quit yer smoking! It’s your birthday!
          You can see why I never tried out for cheer.

          And Dressing. I can’t find an answer I like anywhere else so I’m just going to go with yours. Turkey is ugly so it needed dressing. Ha ha ha!

          • Tyler J. Yoder

            This vapor device is seriously the best. Day three without a cigarette, and I’m happy as a clam. Actually, that’s not *quite* true – Maman gave me a Camel last night and it actually tasted gross – no, beyond that. Disgusting. Vile. Blech, even. I’m pretty pleased.

          • Miriam

            I thought it was stuffing if it was in the turkey, and otherwise was called dressing regardless of the particular recipe.

            I always stuff it in the turkey, because otherwise it is just seasoned breadcrumbs with no delicious moist meaty juices. I figure that if the turkey isn’t cooked enough you’ll get sick from that anyway (not that I’ve ever known this to happen) so what does it matter about the stuffing.

            Always err on the side of deliciousness, I say.

  2. We never ate stuffing at holidays. Ours is a southern- cornbread dressing kinda family. It melds the best of both worlds: home-made bread and seasonings with processes Campbell’s cream of celery soup. I’ve gotten to where I don’t much care for the stuff anymore.

    • Wait.
      How did that dressing work? Was it more like a bread pudding? My family puts cornbread in the stuffing, as well as normal bread, but we don’t use soup. So…what is the consistency of this dressing? Actually, do you have the recipe? I’d like to read it. It sounds interesting. And very kid-friendly.

      • it is kinda like a pudding. This recipe is close to my mom’s, though she never added the bread to her dressing. http://divascancook.com/2011/11/homemade-southern-cornbread-dressing-recipe-soul-food-style.html

        • Woah!
          Ok, you know, sometimes I think to myself, “Oh, there’s not really THAT much different between all the US regions. I mean, we make it seem like each area is so totally unique, but we’re all one, big, happy family, really, and fairly interchangeable.”
          And then I read that recipe.
          I didn’t even know there was a self-rising cornmeal! I thought it was all just…ground corn? I don’t think any of my cornmeals are self-rising. I will check when I get home.
          And I don’t know what Southern Dressing is!
          Suddenly, I feet so…Northern. And Rocky Mountainous.

          But, man, oh, man, I want to try that stuff. Not as stuffing, just as a normal side dish on a normal day. It looks horrible for one’s health but also insanely delicious!

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