Tuesday - Jan 15, 2019

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In Shark Contrast: Stuffing vs. Turkey


HARTVIGSON – TURKEY OVER STUFFING

Close your eyes. Now envision you’re sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner. Mom off to the right, that crazy uncle at the kids table pulling quarters out of their ears, grandpa saying grace and football in the background (Come on Dez, I need a big day). Next, take a look down at your plate. It’s covered with all the traditional fixings and piled high. Now remove the turkey from the picture. What are you left with? A whole mess of sides and some lonely cranberry sauce.

Now, Jim is probably going to try and win you over with some homemade recipe passed down from generation to generation. But any way you slice it, stuffing is nothing more than a wet crouton and cooked vegetables. Personally, I’m a meat eater myself.

I think we’re all familiar with the classic oven baked turkey that makes for one damn fine meal. If you want to go one step further, buy a deep fryer, a half rack of cold beer and stuff that bad boy in. Forty-five minutes later and out comes the juiciest bird you ever feasted on. However, if you want to go the full nine, do like my uncle and bust out the smoker. Fresh off the pit, filled with mesquite and cherry, smoked turkey is one of the finest meats you’ll ever enjoy; right up there with fresh caught Dungeness crab legs or Eastern Oregon Elk steaks.

Let me ask a stupid question: What is the universal symbol for Thanksgiving? It’s not mashed potatoes or green bean casserole. Not candied yams, fresh rolls, Jello salad and certainly not some boxed stove top stuffing. It’s the damn turkey. Hell, it’s called “turkey day” for a reason. Take the turkey out of the equation and all we have is just another “day.”

Even after the meal is done, the tryptophan has put us to bed and we set our sights on Christmas, we still have the leftovers. Turkey sandwiches, turkey soup or my personal favorite, mom’s turkey divan (do a Google search for the recipe; you’re welcome). The only thing we can do with stuffing is reheat in the microwave making a soggy mess.

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some stuffing, but the centerpiece of the show is the Turkey. Without the bird we might as well go back to bed.

BUKOWSKI – STUFFING OVER TURKEY

Now, I’m not anti-turkey, I’m just pro-stuffing. In fact, I love turkey. But when was the last time you had turkey? Was it last Thanksgiving? I doubt it. You’ve probably had a turkey sandwich, turkey club or turkey wrap in the last month. Now, what about stuffing? When was the last time you had stuffing? Hmm…probably last Thanksgiving.

According to Boston Market’s website, ‘We believe tender turkey shouldn’t be limited to the Holidays.’ And it’s not. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, no wonder I’m fonder of stuffing than turkey. Plus, when all that is offered on the menu at Boston Market for stuffing is a vegetable stuffing, I’ll take a pass.

Eric is from the Great Northwest and probably goes out and hunts his turkey himself, so he’s got a bit more emotional investment in his turkey than the rest of us do. I know that there are many fancy ways to make a tastier turkey, such as deep frying, and while I’ve heard many wonderful stories of deep frying, I’ve yet to be invited to a Thanksgiving dinner where the turkey was deep fried. So for me, deep frying is right there next to aliens and Big Foot. I’ve heard a lot about it, but have yet to see one in person.

Maybe my affinity for stuffing comes from the fact that it’s an old family recipe that takes me back to my youth. I can still remember my parents in the kitchen preparing the stuffing the night before Thanksgiving as we kids would wait with anticipation for a sample.

By now you’re probably asking what’s in this fabulous stuffing? And if you’re not asking, you should be. Do you think I’d be craving a vegetable stuffing? Not even close. My stuffing includes the usual dose of bread, celery and onions, but what makes it the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving is the ground beef, mushrooms, Romano cheese and beef broth. Once mixed together it’s ready to be eaten, and trust me, I will sample. But nothing is better than hot juicy stuffing with a touch of crispiness on the outside.

So you can have your turkey, but it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for me without Bukowski family homemade stuffing. It’s not all about the food, it’s also about the memories.

If there’s one thing Eric and I can agree on, it’s in wishing all of you a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving! May God bless you and your family!

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