✯ Day 348 of Vintage 365 ✯
When done well, there are few elements of a holiday meal that I love more than a great stuffing. My mother made an extremely lovely, traditional white bread version complete with raisins, celery, lashings of poultry seasoning and bacon when I was growing up that I still model my (albeit adapted to use gluten-free bread instead, so that I can eat it these days) annual Christmas stuffing on.
Whether you prefer the term stuffing or dressing (some people see them as one in the same, others feel that "stuffing" applies to something that is placed inside of the bird, whereas "dressing" is cooked alongside it or in a separate baking dish all together), there's much to be said for this marvelous holiday side dish.
The act of filling one food with another has been in place since at least the Romans (stuffed meat recipes appear in Apicius, a classic Roman cookbook that dates back to around the end of the 4th century AD), though I'd venture to guess even earlier. It's convenient (saves space, cooks two dishes at once) to stuff foods as we do with Christmas turkeys and (more so in days gone by) geese, an act which usually helps impart taste to both the meat and stuffing as the two infuse one another with their delectable flavours.
Though I do give my mom's stuffing pride-of-place in my Christmas cookery book, that it isn't to say I haven't experimented and enjoyed other turkey dressings over the years, too (both during the holidays and when I've roasted birds at other times).
In fact, some of the loveliest stuffing recipes I've ever tried were those that I found in vintage cookbooks and December editions of ladies magazines, such as as Woman's Day, which is precisely where today's pair of vintage Christmas stuffing recipes first appeared in 1960.
Given that cornmeal/cornbread appears in both of these delectable recipes, it's fair to say that they telegraph a certain wonderfully Southern feel, especially the "Time Saver Corn Meal Dressing".
The second recipe is for "Oyster Corn Bread Dressing", which to me marries the Southern charm of cornmeal with a slightly more New England vibe care of the inclusion of oysters (though oysters do certainly appear in many recipes hailing from south of the Mason-Dixon line, too, such as the classic seafood filled po' boy sandwich).
Each recipe says that it will stuff a 10 to 12 pound bird, but you could always half the quantity for a very small turkey (or extra large chicken). By the same token though, you could double it for a hefty sized turkey or if you'd like to cook some extra dressing on the side (if like in my family, you find that a tasty stuffing always gets snapped up quickly by Christmas dressing fans who eagerly wait all year for it).
On a non-holiday meal related note, I'd like to sincerely send out my deepest thanks to all those who left wonderfully kind comments and/or sent email message by way in regards to my post yesterday about my injured foot. Your sweet, caring words mean a great deal and are definitely helping me feel better. ♥