I have very strong feelings about stuffing, which, for once, I can express succinctly: GIMME. Well, that and a little bit of righteous indignation. Why do we limit our consumption of it to Thanksgiving? Why do we feign interest in all sorts of uninteresting things (dry turkey, thin gravy, occasionally awkward conversations with tipsy distant relatives) just to eat stuffing? Separated into components — croutons, broth, sautéed vegetables — we’d never reject them during all of the months that are not November, but together, for whatever reason, together in a casserole dish, it’s the third Thursday of the month or bust. I demand answers.
There are a lot of really excellent stuffing recipes out there, and I would enjoy — possibly with someone else’s metabolism — chomping my way through all of them. But when it actually comes down to picking The One, I get daunted because the best ones have so much going on: homemade cornbread and five herbs, crumbled sausage, plumped dried fruit, toasted nuts — 14 ingredients is totally the norm — plus braising and blanching and frying and simmering, and given that it’s tradition to prepare this along with three other vegetables, dinner rolls, three types of pie and a turkey that’s half the size of a refrigerator, gravy, salad and cocktails, it’s really no wonder that most of us find the prospect of making Thanksgiving dinner overwhelming-slash-excruciating.