One of the things that amazed me when I first moved to Oklahoma was the vast difference in the food from what I grew up eating in Oregon. This difference seems even more evident during the holidays.
I could go on and on about things like okra and black eyed peas, but since Thanksgiving is this week I thought I would be a perfect time to talk stuffing.
The first time I was served stuffing/dressing in Oklahoma, I looked at the bowl sitting on the table and thought to myself, what in the world is that pile of dry, crumbly, yellow stuff.
I soon discovered that it was cornbread dressing, and I was less than impressed.
You see growing up in Oregon we ate our stuffing with bread, there was no cornbread in sight, and it was certainly not a dry dressing. It was always nice and moist.
Not only that, we called it stuffing when the turkey was stuffed with it and we called it dressing when it was cooked as a side dish.
In Oklahoma most people eat cornbread dressing and they seem to call it dressing no matter what kind it is. They also think my version of dressing/stuffing is very odd.
After 16 years in Oklahoma I have decided that cornbread dressing is really not all that bad, especially if made right.
Although being Oregon raised, if I have my choice I prefer the kind I grew up eating. But don’t we usually prefer the foods we grew up eating, that is what makes them comfort foods after all.
Now I would love to hear your thoughts on northern versus southern stuffing/dressing.
What do you prefer? A cornbread type dressing or more of a northern style one?
And what do you call it? Is it dressing or stuffing in your house?
I grew up in Iowa, and it was always “stuffing,” although it never went inside the turkey. We made it with cubed bread, and it was neither too moist, nor too dry. I don’t care for wet bread in any fashion, so I prefered to be on the dry side anyway. However, my husband’s family is from Arkansas/Missouri and they have cornbread “dressing.” The first time I had Thanksgiving with them and saw it, instead of my usual stuffing, I was a little aghast. But once I tried it? Holy cow. Delicious! It doesn’t hurt that my mother-in-law uses a ton of butter in her recipe, so the final dish comes out almost fried/crispy on the edges. It’s plenty moist, but it never has that “soggy bread” consistency that I associate with bad stuffing. And if my husband and I have Thanksgiving dinner at our house, we usually have both kinds to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Best of both worlds, as far as I’m concerned!
Jeff M. Miller
I grew here in TX, so it was always cornbread dressing for me. The first time I ate a bread stuffing, I thought, “This isn’t stuffing! They’ve done it all wrong! This is just wet bread.”
I intend to do a twist on my Mom’s cornbread dressing this year—which is always very moist, by the way. I’m going to do Alton Brown’s creamed corn skillet cornbread as my base, which should boost the flavor and moistness levels.
It’ll have celery, onions, and copious amounts of sage.
I’m from Oklahoma as well and we’ve always had cornbread dressing but it is very moist and it has some bread in it too. However, I’ve tried Northern “stuffing” and it is delicious too!
I’m a Minnesota girl. I love my stuffing made with cubes of toasted bread! Yum. Just… keep the turkey organs out. I watched my husband’s grandmother making her stuffing in California once and she was frying the turkey innerds to go in the stuffing. Yuckkkk.
I grew up in South Jersey where my mother called it “filling”. And, it was bread with onions, celery and poultry seasoning. Always put in the bird – never baked in a casserole dish lest it be too dry. And, it was made with fresh bread, not crumbs or croutons. I still make it that way, but have had stuffing made with cornbread that was good. My aunt mixes cornbread stuffing with regular bread stuffing. I also add dried fruit to mine these days. I want it wet, like you. Not dry or crunchy.
Sharon at Unfinished Mom
I grew up in Maryland. Stuffing or dressing was, like for you, always made with bread, not cornbread. (I’m with you cornbread stuffing always looks too dry.) And the truth is I never liked it. I think the problem was it always had too much sage for my taste. Anyway, along in my 20s I discovered a recipe for “Stuffing Royale” which uses King’s Hawaiian bread and it has lots of fruit and nuts in it – raisins, pineapple, almonds, water chestnuts and more. That sounded good – lots of foods I like and not a lot of sage. So when I make stuffing, that’s the one I make – now if I could only convince my family that it’s as wonderful as I think it is! 😀
@Sharon at Unfinished Mom, My dad says to get the perfect amount of sage for dressing, you open the can of dried sage, walk through the kitchen, and then close the can. ;>
I agree 100%. I always have to make mine from scratch because everything else has sage in it and I hate it.
Honestly? I generally prefer neither. Growing up, I wouldn’t touch the stuff. I love my husbands dressing (made with my homemade bread) now though. We don’t stuff our bird because it dries it out if you cook it properly.
I’m from Alabama and my family serves traditional cornbread dressing. The recipe actually calls for 3 (I think) slices of white bread in addition to a pan of cornbread (which must be made in a cast-iron skillet), but I also know of people who put saltines in there’s. My aunt uses dried sage, which me and my mom are not a fan of, so my mom uses poultry seasoning which is much more balanced, seasoning-wise, to me.
The first time I ever went to New York to visit my dad’s family, I was totally perplexed by the stuffing. It had cubes of bread in it! I’m so glad I’ve never been served stuffing that was actually stuffed inside the bird. That seems so unsanitary to me.
I grew up in TX and now live in OK. I love cornbread dressing!
I”m from Oregon too—it’s ‘dressing’ when cooked out of the bird and always made with bread. However, after eating cornbread ‘stuffing’ from a Texas family recipe, I have TWO favorites! I’ll be making cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving and dressing for Christmas.
We call it stuffing here in Florida (though my family is from West Virginia), though I don’t have a clue whether it goes in the turkey or not.
I can’t stand the stuff. :/ Actually, I’ve never been a huge fan of most traditional Thanksgiving foods (cranberry anything, most pies, overcooked turkey, etc.).
Cornbread with a few slices of white bread, sage, a can of cream of chicken soup and a cast iron skillet. This is a mix of the bread dressing my mom grew up eating and the strictly cornbread my dad grew up on. I think it is the best of both worlds.
When I eat cornbread it definitely isn’t in stuffing–and it’s usually called Johnny Cake where I come from. (More sugar then the regular type.)
As for stuffing, I prefer the bread (northern) type, and I am used to calling it stuffing, even though I am a vegetarian and don’t stuff it in a turkey. LOL
We call it “stuffing,” though I have never in my life had any that had actually been stuffed into a bird! And ours is made with bread cubes.
We always called it stuffing. 🙂 Here, in Australia, they call it stuffing too but it’s made from bread crumbs and not one tiny little bit what I’m use to. Needless to say we make it from scratch here! 😉
Ps, Lynn, did you know you were up as a Nominee in some Homeschool Blogging Awards? I think they finished up a day or so ago, not sure..
@Kendra, Hi Kendra! It is interesting to hear what the call it in Australia. And made from bread crumbs that is a bit different. I did know that I was up for a homeschool blogging award. I decided not to promote it on the site. I was honored to be part of the list, and I promoted it last year and asked readers to vote for me, but I decided not to post about it this year. Thank you for mentioning it though. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving! (I guess that is if you are celebrating it in Australia)
I’m from Texas and we call it dressing. My dad’s great aunt taught my mother how to make it and she taught me. It’s a combination of 2 pans of cornbread (cooked in an iron skillet, is there any other way?) and some toasted bread. My mother and I couldn’t eat sage. It gave us both terrible indigestion and I came to hate sage for that reason. We also put green onions, celery and 1 dozen hard boiled eggs in it. Which I think is different from a lot of people. We also use a fat hen for the broth (I also make homemade egg noodles from the left over broth). It’s never dry if you put plenty of broth. I can’t wait for tomorrow!!
I think most people who dislike bread dressing don’t like it because it’s too wet and slick-like. I don’t like that either. The secret is to have it moist, but not wet! Hailing from Canada originally, our ‘stuffing’ was always made from bread crumbs, though the crumbs were torn by hand and not teeny tiny things exactly. Our English/Irish roots were the basis. When I married a guy who was used to Cornbread ‘dressing’, I adapted somewhat. Now our stuffing is made from Bread and Cornbread – about 1/2 and 1/2, bur the rest of the recipe is mostly my original – celery, onions, sage, poultry dressing, s&p, and melted butter to moisten. No or very very little HOT water. When I’ve mixed all the stuffing to where I think it’s about right, I take a handful and squeeze it in my hand. It should cling together enough that it SLOWLY loosens, but not so moist that it stays tightly together. I also sometimes add mushrooms chopped fine, or chestnuts (cooked and chopped fine). Then I stuff the turkey with it, and if there is more than will fit, I add a bit of hot water to the excess (just a bit!) and cover and bake about 1-1 1/2 hr in oven. Too long and it dries out.
My MIL always made cornbread dressing and added chopped hardboiled eggs, but I never really liked her dressing, so don’t do that.
@Clairee, Your stuffing sound very good. Like you I find the hard boiled eggs in stuffing very odd. I don’t think I will ever get used to that version of southern dressing.
I grew up in Colorado. I HATE cornbread dressing/stuffing (even though actual cornbread is one of my faves!)
We don’t stuff the turkey. My husband always makes his family’s recipe for Oyster Stuffing (which is misnamed because it’s baked in a dish, not in the bird). I really, really don’t like oysters though so I just stick with mashed potatoes.
My stuffing, dressing, filling, whatever, looks a little dry. Should I add white wine, applesauce, an egg, more chicken broth?
I didn’t even realize that cornbread dressing could be dry – it certainly never has been in my family! I love dressing, but usually make stuffing, since that’s what my California-born husband is used to.
I grew up in Texas and love cornbread dressing. We never stuffed the turkey with it but cooked it separately. My Mom would make the cornbread and save a little plain cornbread which my Dad would crumble up and put in sweet milk which is regular milk and not buttermilk! I never learned to like cornbread in my sweet milk though.
I grew up in Louisiana born and raised…now live here in Chicago. I cannot deal with this “stuffing” they eat here. It’s nothing, but what we call at home “light bread” with seasonings. Give me my cornbread dressing…with salary, sage, and if you want you can throw a little sausage in it.
I have lived in Minnesota my entire life until I married an Okie one year ago and moved to Oklahoma. In MN we call it stuffing & dressing, but most people do call it stuffing. The stuffing in MN is made out of white or wheat bread cubes with celery, onion, ect. I noticed that in OK they call it dressing and have the corn bread dressing for holidays. I prefer the Northern dressing but also enjoy cornbread dressing.
I have noticed that food is different in OK than in MN but I am starting to master OK cooking & made OK green beans the way my husband and his family like it wonderfully for Thanksgiving.
Well, My Mom was from Oklahoma and Dad from Texas. They both grew up on cornbread dressing (baked as a side dish-never stuffed in the turkey). Dad said his Mom always put left over biscuits in hers, Mom preferred not to do that. They liked a lot of sage – to the point where it was almost green, ha, ha! But we loved it! It was never dry, but more on the wet side and loaded with onions, but no celery. I have tried every year since my Mom passed away and can not duplicate the dressing that I helped her make year after year. It is just never the same somehow.
Now, my inlaws are from Tennessee and North Carolina. They use white cornmeal (we use yellow!) They use celery and bell pepper in theirs.
So , I think it is all about what you grew up with – what feels like home. We can all appreciate other’s cooking, but still prefer what we know. Happy Thanksgiving!
I make chicken and dressing that’s what I call
Mine. It’s very moist not dry. My family loves it.