Curse of the Thanksgiving Stuffing
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I am busy cleaning the house, clearing my calendar, and planning my elaborate all-spiced menu of goodies. While deciding on what type of stuffing to make this year, I remembered this sad and true episode from my archive of family holidays… ahh, the memories!
Dear Stuffed Ones:
Since Tuesday morning, I had slaved over an intricate stuffing recipe with about 17 ingredients in it, ranging from browned sausage, granny smith apples, sweet onion, toasted walnuts to homemade cornbread and more secret spices than KFC. It filled three enormous pans when I was done, and I surveyed the results with great pride.
I drove this wonder-stuffing from Boston to New York, to my sister’s, on Wednesday afternoon, a gingerly packed and teetering Tower of Stuffing on the back seat. I had to convince my Dad that, no, he couldn’t “just have a little taste” and he’d have to wait until Thursday.
Once arrived in New York, my sister then brought it to my cousin’s, where the Big Meal would be held the next day. By now, this stuffing had traveled more than most of you did for Thanksgiving.
All twenty-five of us assembled at my cousin’s home on Thursday afternoon. It was time for everyone to sit down, and the table was stocked with enticing foods of all kind…. all the wonderful smells of Thanksgiving. We were all seated, even the kiddie table, and the plates were being passed around excitedly. Then my cousin blurted out, “Hey, Laura, weren’t you making some stuffing?“.
You’ve got to be kidding.
My sister had placed my stuffing out on the patio to keep it cool when she first arrived. With all the frenzy of helping my cousin get ready for twenty-five people, she simply forgot it was there. We’re tough, we recovered quickly and threw two of the three pans into the oven at a kiln-like 475 degrees. Twenty minutes later, I paraded the fragrant stuffing out to the dining room.
But of course everyone was already full from the head start, so the stuffing was politely picked at. I was crushed. My aunt offered to take home the barely-touched pan to use in shepherd’s pie. “Sure, that’s OK, Aunt Pat, take it, go ahead, take it… there’s plenty more…“, I muttered, trying to sound gracious.
It was OK because there were three pans, in fact three enormous pans to be exact, right? I should have learned to watch over this stuffing like a hawk, but I was still steamed about it being left on the patio and I wasn’t thinking straight.
Sure enough, you know where this is going… while cleaning the kitchen after the loooong dinner, my cousin opened the oven, and found a scorched, lava-like lump in the still-hot oven. Think Pompeii with stuffing.
OK, well, not a total disaster, there is still that third pan…right? RIGHT?
That evening, I drove my Dad back to our hotel, while my sister went home with that precious, third, pan of uncooked stuffing. The next day, Dad and I wasted no time in driving over to my sister’s, smacking our lips at the thought of an overflowing turkey and stuffing sandwich for breakfast. I pre-heated the oven then rummaged through the refrigerator for the prized ingredient. I rummaged some more. Then rummaged frantically.
With a quaver in my voice, I asked my sister where the last pan was; her response: “Oh, Laura, you are going to kill me!“. Well, that’s never good, is it?
She explained, rather lamely I thought, that she had brought it home, set it on the counter, and forgotten about it… again. She had left it out all night, and had to throw it away in the morning for fear of botulism. She really should have been more afraid of me.
So, which of the following statements is true?
1. My stuffing sucks and no one wants to tell me
2. It’s a right wing conspiracy
3. My vegetarian sister engineered the whole situation
4. There truly is a Curse of the Thanksgiving Stuffing
Oh, don’t bother sending me your vote. It will only make it worse.
” Hi Laura:
Glad to hear you had so much fun at Thanksgiving. I seriously think it is a right wing conspiracy. I think Bush had something to do with it. He probably wants everybody to have Texas beef for Thanksgiving, and so the CIA got into the game and hid the stuffing from your dinner guests. God only knows how many other people have a similar story to tell, but are too embarrassed to admit it, because they are afraid people will call them crazy.
But you went public with it, so now, take a word of advice, and don’t tell anybody else, or pretend it was all a joke, we don’t want the FBI and CIA and maybe even Alan Greenspan (just for good measure) to come after you and disrupt the American economy.
Ciao, M. “