Chicken and Dressing or Stuffing

Just so you will not fear that I have gotten too far away from recipes containing mushroom soup, I thought I would throw one in for good measure.

I am sure that you have set down at Thanksgiving dinner and argued with friends and family over politics, work, metaphysics and various other topics. Though these topics change from year to year, there is one perennial discussion that returns with every traditional Thanksgiving meal. It revolves around the question: What is the difference between stuffing and dressing?

Truth is there is no difference in the ingredients; the difference is in the preparation. Stuffing to be stuffing must, in effect, be stuffed, crammed, rammed, shoved, squeezed or even coaxed into the cavity of a bird or at least between two halves of the same hunk of meat. The reason for calling it stuffing is as obvious as the reason cramming a basketball through the hoop at close range is called stuffing. Technically, if there is not a certain amount of grunting and arm flexing during this procedure, it is not stuffing.

Dressing, on the other hand, is like a three point jumper. It's a graceful arc straight from the pan and onto the plate. It is all net, no need to even touch the rim or the backboard. Grunting, however, is permissible.

Dressing is one of those dishes that is generally saved for the holidays. This is, perhaps, too limited a use. Dressing can add a bit of class to any meal. I tend to make it at least once a month, just because I get a craving for it. My wife and I, however have a difference of opinion about what is the best kind of dressing. I like corn bread stuffing and she likes the standard flavor.

This difference in taste also reflects differences in our personalities. She is quite reserved and I tend to be corny whenever the opportunity presents itself.

I generally make stuffing or dressing or whatever you want to call it, from the box. Petrified bread crumbs and a little packet of spices comes in the box. Even the economy brands of stuffing are quite good, however, they lack something in that they have no fresh vegetables. You can add any number of items to dressing (boxed or otherwise)- my suggestions include: onions, celery, carrots, almond slices, escargot (if you live in the Pacific Northwest) and a moderate number of potatoes. I frequently throw in whatever I happen to have standing by in the refrigerator.

If you want to be a purist and make your dressing from scratch, more power to ya'. However you make it, here is a way to put it to good use.

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