'I Hate Stuffing'

A foreign-born writer is repulsed by "mushy bread crumbs in an empty carcass"

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WHO: Terence Samuel

WHERE: The Root

THE SHOCKING ADMISSION: Samuel hates stuffing. "All stuffing."

EVEN OYSTER STUFFING? Yes, even oyster stuffing. "I'm not saying that I hate a particular kind of stuffing—like stuffing that's too bread-crumby, or oyster stuffing, or stuffing that contains the organs of the turkey, or stuffing that's full of raisins or cranberries, though I am particularly repulsed by those."

A FEW PROVOCATIVE PORTRAITS OF STUFFING: "Dried bread mushed together with gizzards and pan drippings," "an indistinguishable glop of mush," a "farce"

UPSETTING CONSEQUENCE OF STUFFING-HATRED: "I was raised in Trinidad. I didn't start doing Turkey Days until I moved to the U.S. at age 17, and more than once, people have described my antipathy toward stuffing, only half jokingly, as un-American."

SOMETHING TO CHEW ON BEFORE YOU EAT YOUR STUFFING: "Just think about it. No one can even really answer the question: 'What is stuffing?'"


A Wikipedia entry gets straight to the heart of the problem for me. "It is not known when stuffings were first used," the entry reads. "The earliest documentary evidence is the Roman cookbook Apicius, which contains recipes for stuffed chicken, hare, pig, and dormouse." Yum. Wikipedia then goes on to note that in the Middle Ages, stuffing was "known as farce (from the French, 14 ); the root of the word 'forcemeat.'" Maybe that explains it. Stuffing is not real food. It's farce. Somebody, please pass the gravy!
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