The other day, I was talking to a coworker about Thanksgiving dinners.Â We got on the subject of stuffing.Â Â It turned out that both of us had scary stuffing stories — those times that you are dining at someone else’s house for Thanksgiving, and their stuffing contains some ingredient that just doesn’t belong there.Â You know what I mean, right? — that quirky ingredient, be it oysters or apples or chestnuts, that flies in the face of all that you have always believed that stuffing should be.
More than any other item on the Thanksgiving table, people are fiercely parochial about stuffing.Â Nearly everyone I’ve ever talked to about this subject (okay; that’s about five people, but anyhow) agrees that stuffing should always taste like Mom made it.Â The problem, of course, is that there are many moms out there, and each one has her own way of making it.Â Trying to get people to agree on the ideal stuffing recipe is a heroic effort of diplomacy and negotiation, one that makes arms talks look like kids’ play.
Naturally, of course, I will cry to all the nations that my mom’s recipe is the best.Â Â She uses rye bread in her stuffing, and it is mouth-wateringly delicious.Â I’ve tasted others that are pretty good, but none can come close to my mom’s for the sheer flavor.Â I’ve never made it myself; one consequence to having a ridiculously small house is that you never end up hosting Thanksgiving dinner.Â Â One of these years, though, I’ll get her to give me a tutorial so I can carry on the rye tradition with pride.
So yes, I’m looking forward to the stuffing. Â I’m also looking forward to the turkey and the cranberry sauce and the red wine and the pies.Â Even more, though, I’m looking forward to a day off to celebrate the many blessings in my life: the family with whom I’ll be sharing my meal, the memories of holidays past, and the faith that keeps uniting us.