Excerpt from today's e-mail exchange with Stacia Deshishku, CNN's White House Sr. Supervising Producer: "I am obsessed with the cornbread v. sausage v. oyster stuffing debates!"
You and me both, sister. As so many Americans did, I grew up on Stove Top Stuffing. Then, as probably the vast majority, uh, didn't, because I fancied the flavors so much, I took to making myself little after-school snacks of toasted bread stirred with margarine, a splash of instant bouillon and a sprinkle of Bell's Poultry Seasoning. I fixated on those flavors the 364 non-Thanksgiving days of the year. (There are reasons I've chosen the career path that I have.)
This all goes to say that until I started celebrating Thanksgiving with the families of college pals (Kentucky was a long, expensive schlep for a broke art student in Baltimore), I had no idea that stuffing - or "dressing" if you roll that way - had any sort of regional variations. Who knew you could branch beyond bread, sage, thyme and the usual seasoning suspects and add oysters, andouille sausage, chestnuts, rice, giblets, raisins, White Castle Slyders or even peanuts? For that matter, cornbread was suddenly a viable swap for stale white bread and one could dally with pumpernickel if the mood were right.
Hey – it's a free country, after all. (Unless you're sticking dried cherries in there. That's just nasty.)