And.Let(there be).Stuffing

There are two kinds of families: à la cavity stuffers, and à la carte ones. We are the latter — stuffing, or rather, “dressing”  is a side dish in our Thanksgiving tradition. Pepperidge Farms, with added sauted celery and onion, moistened with chicken broth, then baked till just crunchy on top. The turkey is simply a foil– an excuse to serve gussied up bread crumbs, elevated by the elegance of sage.

Dressing will be one thanksgiving staple that my mom, our traditional dressing maker, will be able to eat this year. She’ll take the tiniest of bites, and “chew” with the concentration of a determined athlete. This is work, sheer will-power. Her tongue and swallowing muscles are on strike, in total disregard that this is the season we gather around the table. That this is the meal, more so than others, during which we taste memory, feast on stories of holidays past, flash back to the familiar and beloved smells and tastes that tell us who we are and from what tables and dishes we came from. Remembrances that melt over us like butter on steam-fluffy crescent rolls. Gratitude that fills us like seconds of oyster casserole and perfectly browned dressing, not too moist, not too dry.

In her honor, I will savor slow food this holiday. Bites taken with care and intention, with risk, with love, and yes, with thanksgiving.

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~ by Stephanie on 11/24/2010.

6 Responses to “And.Let(there be).Stuffing”

  1. I will savor those bites too, in her honor. Happy Thanksgiving, Stephanie. Much love and peace your way —

  2. Dear Stephanie.

    Thank you for gently reminding us of the value of slow, deliberate, focused bites of life and that gratitude is grace personified. Blessings to you and yours

  3. Stephanie,
    I,too, will honor your mother by eating slowly and reverently.
    Best to all of you.
    Sonny/Frank

  4. thanks for this thanksgiving morsel,
    making my dressing even more tasty and appreciated.
    i do find myself happy for tiny things,
    like the fact your mother could still taste the memories,
    and chew on the goodness of your presence.

  5. Dear Stephanie, Would you mind if I forwarded your blog info to a friend of ours, Ellen Branham? Thanks so much for sharing this; my uncle died of ALS in 1990. Happy New Year, Dick

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