Southern Fraud Series

Thanksgiving’s Most Important Question

What is this stuff anyway?

Forget pondering the things for which you are thankful.

Don’t bother researching the questions surrounding the first Thanksgiving.

The most important question to ponder on this day is this: stuffing or dressing? Let’s discuss the difference. According to the AJC, it comes down mostly to location: where the dish is cooked AND what region of the country the cook lives in.

  • Stuffing: cooked inside the turkey
  • Dressing: cooked outside the turkey

That’s the way I also understand it. However, much like using the term Coke to refer to all soft drinks, Southerners apparently call it dressing no matter where it’s cooked, and Yankees call it stuffing despite location.

The debate also hinges partly on ingredients. In the North, stuffing is made of white bread, and in the South, dressing is made of cornbread. But again, this varies by region. Any bread-based dish cooked to serve alongside poultry is called by both words.

So really, stuffing and dressing are interchangeable, it seems, in most parts of the US. But why? Well, according the aforementioned article, Southerners objected to the harshness of the word “stuffing” and decided to call it by the more polite moniker “dressing.”

My parents hail from the Northeast, so I grew up eating stuffing, not dressing, and it is always cooked inside the bird and made of white bread. Mine is in the oven right now, and I cannot wait to chow down on my impolitely named side dish.

So what do you eat: stuffing or dressing?

Happy Thanksgiving!

6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving’s Most Important Question

  1. Today we are going to my cousin’s house, where there will be anywhere from 40 to 60 people there. So, there will be both stuffing and dressing! Tomorrow I will cook a turkey at home (so we will have leftovers!) and I will be stuffing it with whole wheat bread! 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    1. I like to use Whitewheat bread. It makes me feel healthier while still having the same flavor and texture I grew up with. I’ll bet whole wheat would be good too though!

    1. I’ve lived in the South almost my whole life, and I still prefer the “not cornbread” variety over the cornbread.

  2. I’m a dressing girl, but I call it stuffing. If I need to clarify, I just call it, “stuffing cooked outside the bird.” White or wheat bread please, no cornbread.

    Next week I’ll be making fabulous apple-sausage-cranberry stuffing for our staff meeting. Since I’m birdless, it’s really dressing but again, I just like the way stuffing sounds. Dressing goes on a salad.

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