Yesterday, I began the discussion about this next Thanksgiving, (Yes, I know it’s only April, but when your family has lost many members over the past few years, you look for new avenues to create new traditions. My family is spread out and older. We must start thinking about the holidays a lot earlier than we have in the past.)
As we were discussing what the menu would be for Turkey Day, the topic of dressing came up. You know what dressing is if you are from the South. Southerners only tolerate stuffing. Stuffing is mostly cooked inside the bird. Dressing is always cooked outside of the bird. And in a much more plentiful way. And it is just better. Period.
Recipes are tradition. They are a way to pass down family stories from generation to generation. I make dressing like my mother, who made it like her mother, who learned to make it from her African American maid, Lou. Lou taught my grandmother how to cook. I grew up on some of the best soul food in the South. Those recipes are a large part of my culinary efforts today.
I began to find a love for cooking at a very young age. Cooking dressing was always in my arsenal, but years ago my mother taught me the secret to her dressing. You have to have enough moisture and let it cook for a long, long time. The crusty bits around the edges are the best part.
The seasonings, the aroma and the flavor of my family’s dressing are as much a part of my heritage as the wonderful stories that I learned of my relatives as a youth.
It is never too early to think about dressing!