Tonawanda News

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November 19, 2012

Stuffing smackdown

On one side of my family, there’s always been a certain amount of contention about that oh-so-important side that accompanies the Thanksgiving turkey: stuffing.

You see, my mother’s mother’s family hails from Pennsylvania. My great-grandparents packed their three kids up back when my grandmother was 10 years old and moved to Texas. With them, they brought along some traditions, recipes and pronunciations more typical of their Northern roots.

My grandmother — Mamaw — is something of a hybrid of Northern and Southern tendencies. She says crick instead of creek. But she also knows that in the South, you have to call it “pa-cahn” pie, not “pee-can” pie.

So when Mamaw offered me up to cook Christmas dinner last year for my great-great-aunt Grace and her family (all originally from Pennsylvania), I was emphatically told I had to make both Southern cornbread stuffing and (in Aunt Grace’s own words) “Yankee stuffing” to go along with the turkey.

“I don’t want none of that cornpone stuffing!” Aunt Grace ordered as her plate was served up.

OK, got it. I made both.

My “Curious Culinarian” co-writer, Jill Keppeler, is taking care of the “Yankee stuffing” below, so I’ll offer up my take on my great-great-grandmother Momsie’s (of the Southern side of the family) cornbread stuffing recipe.

In my experience, cornbread stuffing is wetter and more dense. You’re less likely to see bits of bread floating around in this mixture.

Momsie’s recipe was a bit difficult, vaguely calling for two parts cornbread to one part white bread, but listing no real quantities as a starting point. It seems like the most important thing is getting the correct consistency; it should be only slightly thicker than cornbread batter once everything is mixed together.

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