You think you will always remember
It’s Thanksgiving morning. We’re preparing the stuffing. A dining room full of guests are scheduled to arrive in a matter of hours, and we suddenly blank on the ingredients.
“We definitely do not add bread crumbs.”
“Of course we add breadcrumbs. It helps bind the stuffing.”
“We don’t. I’m sure…”
This argument gets increasingly heated and goes back and forth for some time before my mom concedes that she really doesn’t remember. She’s been doing this for years and never ONCE thought to write any of it down. You think you will always remember, but one distraction, one interruption from the usual routine and suddenly your left doubting yourself. Of course, that interruption is me! Ever since I began my quest to document our family recipes, I’ve been interrupting my mom during the cooking process, putting her on the spot for specific quantities and cooking times. Basically, I’m disrupting the natural flow of her kitchen. Of course she can’t remember. She blames her age. What’s my excuse, I wonder? Perhaps it’s technology, data overload, excessive stimulus at every click or just the overwhelming task of trying to preserve and document everything.
I have a few confessions to make
Of course I forget how to d this! Regardless of age or generation, we’re going to forget. We have got to start writing things down or these family recipes will be lost forever. We’ve already shared several of these family treasures on the blog. Hopefully they’ll help you fill your own table and delight your guests. I’ll link to them throughout the rest of this post. For now, pull up a chair and take a look at what happens in the kitchen at my mom’s Thanksgiving dinner back home in Philadelphia.
I have a few confessions to make so I’ll get those out of the way first. For starters, my mom has always served canned corn cooked in butter (no recipe but you can read about it here). My mom is convinced that the pilgrims served corn, so we should eat it too. But mom! A can? Yup, that’s how she’s done it for fifty plus years. In her defense, they’re is no chance of finding fresh corn in November. Things only go downhill from there. We never ever served cranberry sauce until my sister-in-law Denise started bringing it herself. Actually, one year in an effort to embrace American culture, mom bought a can of cranberry sauce, which not faring as well as the corn, was literally boo’s off the table. Adding insult to Thanksgiving Day injury, we had absolutely no idea how to make sweet potatoes so we would just wing it. To make matters worse, we only make one. One sweet potato. This is precisely why I’ve been recipe testing for since August. Keep reading and you’ll find an interesting blend of Italian-American cultures that will deliver just the right flavor to your Thanksgiving dinner table. After all isn’t the blending of cultures in this country exactly what we’re celebrating?
It’s classic mom. My mom
Stuffing is my favorite part of the entire meal. I know what you’re thinking. Bread cubes, right? Well we’ll get to that too, but first I must introduce you to what I grew up calling “Italian stuffing.” As it turns out, all of Italy does not claim this recipe. Just my mom. I asked Italian friends and relatives for their recipes and they weren’t even close to my mom’s recipe, which is neither classic Italian or classic Italian-American. Instead, it’s classic mom. My mom. Which is why I fell into a panic when I thought we had lost it forever, giving me even more reason to write it down. We’ve done that for you here. In fact, we’ve also included the recipe for traditional bread stuffing so you can take a look at both. Technically, they’re both dressing since we do not stuff them into the turkey. Instead we bake both versions in a dish outside the bird, but I’ll never be able to rid ‘stuffing’ from my vocabulary.