Thanksgiving Showdown

November 14, 2012



Thanksgiving is approaching and it’s time for the biggest showdown of the year . . .

Alabama vs. Auburn?
Mississippi St. vs. Ole Miss?
Florida vs. Florida State?  
Georgia vs. Georgia Tech?
Dressing vs. Stuffing!

Those with northern roots often lean towards stuffing it in the bird, thus calling it “stuffing.”  Southerners lean towards making it in a pan and call it “dressing.” (shouldn’t it be called “panning?”) And now, a new one.  Someone from Pennsylvania has told me his family calls it “filling.” Not sure where that goes.

We’ve always been a dressing family, and the first time I saw stuffing come out of the bird at my lovely northern in-law’s home, I really wasn’t sure what it was. But there were several things that confused me that weekend, the least of which was the food.

My Grandmother always made two pans of dressing.  One with onions, one without, which I could never figure out why, because we all loved onions.  It was always crispy on the top and soft in the middle.  She taught me how to make it, and it was fairly basic.

On the other side of my family, my Aunt gave me her recipe and I laughed because it used the same measurement system of my Grandmother’s recipe . . . oh, a little of this, a pinch of that, make a “bunch” of cornbread the day before.  Nothing is measured or exact.  But it always comes out perfect.

I’ve combined both recipes to make my favorite dressing.
And it goes something like this . . .

Cornbread made the day before. 

Fairhope Supply Co. Traditional Southern Dressing

The day before Thanksgiving, make a bunch of cornbread from your favorite recipe.  Let it sit out overnight, covered lightly with a towel so it will dry out a bit.  This allows it soak up more of the good stuff.

On Thanksgiving morning, elbow your way into the kitchen.  Crumble the cornbread into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.

Drag out the iron skillet and sauté chopped onion and celery. Once it is tender, but not browned, add in 3-4 cups of chicken broth (that you made a few days before while fixin chicken and dumplin’s).  Now at this point, some people add in actual cooked chicken or turkey pieces, but I prefer none, since the turkey will be meat enough for the day.

*One year I went crazy and added Craisins, and it looked and tasted fabulous – but my cousin didn’t speak to me for a year.  Weigh this decision carefully.  I’m still thinking . . .

Slowly stir the chicken broth and vegetables into your large bowl of cornbread, just enough to moisten – then a little more.  Stir in salt and pepper, marjoram, dried rosemary, thyme, sage, all to your taste preferences, then add two beaten eggs.  Fold gently to mix thoroughly, and pour into a large, flat baking dish.

Bake in a hot 400° oven for 30-45 minutes or until you can smell it down the hallway.

Keep the dog out of the kitchen.



Except for helpful Beagles.


  • Carol H. Willis says:

    Just went to the bottom of your blog and saw this after i made the comments on the Magical one. This sounds like the real deal.? Thanks!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      It truly is, but then again, who has the real version? Another one includes oysters!

  • I grew up calling it stuffing and it was indeed stuffed in the turkey. Since I am a vegetarian of many years standing, I no longer eat turkey or stuffing – but I do make dressing!

    Thanks so much for joining in this week.


  • I’m from Mississippi so grew up with dressing and chicken & dumplings. My ex-MIL taught me how to make both and boy were they good. I always had requests for my chicken & dumplings here since most people had never heard of them or if they had, they didn’t know how to make them. I’m vegetarian now though so haven’t made any of those things in years. My kids are happy if they get stuffing from a box. 🙂 Have a great day! Tammy

  • My mom, and now I, always cooked the turkey “gizzards” and used that water to make the dressing– and cut up the gizzardy stuff to mix in too. I wouldn’t mind Snoopy helping out this Thursday!

  • I am from western PA and we say “stuffing” around here : )

    I always do mine separately and not in the bird, though…mostly to cut down on bird cooking time. My favorite is the simple cornbread, celery and onion kind of stuffing as well 🙂

  • Love this story, and it’s definitely dressing! My mama makes ours from cornbread, just like you do, nice and moist, and she makes a pan with giblets and one without. Do I dare tell this? My Yankee husband likes Stove Top! But then he never had real food till he met me, poor thing. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • My grandmother always made dressing with corn bread too. I love it! My northern husband always had stuffing growing up. Last year we compromised. He made stuffing for Thanksgiving using his grandmother’s recipe and I made dressing for Christmas which is when my family usually had it anyway. Can’t wait to make it!

  • I love everything about this post! Your dressing is just the way I LOVE it–dressing is the best!–and Snoopy is just the cutest thing ever! If he was my dog, I’d let him get away with everything. 😀

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