Stuffing Is The Showpiece, Not The Turkey

Stuffing is the reason we do Thanksgiving at home every year!

Thanksgiving is my holiday. I love the friends and family around, the prep and planning, and the food.

Staples of our celebration are turkey and stuffing. We’ve been celebrating together since 1990. The only constant in all our Thanksgiving dinners is the turkey and stuffing. Sides vary. The stars of the meal never do. This stuffing recipe has 47 ingredients in it, and it’s worth all the time and energy to prep, cut, and measure. I have memories of Mom on Thanksgiving morning, up to her elbows in a huge mixing pot full of stuffing. That was usually the first thing I saw when I went to the kitchen every year.

Mom’s Stuffing – A Myth

Over the years the family’s thought of this as Mom’s Stuffing. A funny thing happened a few years ago, though. My sister was going through some of my Mom’s old things. She came across an article from The American Weekly (November 22, 1959). It was an article titled “The Only Way to Cook a Turkey.” But that wasn’t the biggest surprise. The author cited a book titled “Joe the Wounded Tennis Player,” by Morton Thompson, copyright 1945.

The article and a chapter in the book were MOM’S RECIPE! All these years we’ve been making Morton Thompson’s stuffing!

But, you know, it didn’t matter. It was still Mom in my memories, up to her elbows every year, who made it her recipe, the one the family makes each Thanksgiving.


It’s become a real ritual for us here in Las Vegas:

The weekend before Thanksgiving we measure out all the spices. We have to make sure we have them all and don’t need to add yet one more thing to the shopping list.

Two days before I toast the bread. Over the years I’ve found the stuffing is less soggy if I don’t skip this step.

The night before we do all the chopping of fruits and veggies for the stuffing. Philip started getting involved in this a few years ago and it, too, has become part of the ritual.

The morning of Thanksgiving is where the real fun happens. I don’t have a pot big enough to mix everything, so we’ve learned that using a great big trash bag is a far better option. Everything gets dumped in, we tie it off, then we play a little catch and practice our boxing to mix all the ingredients. It’s quite a sight. If I remember this year, I’ll grab a couple of pictures to share.

Another time I’ll share some of the mishaps we’ve had over the years, but for now, it’s enough to share the recipe with you. I have a reprint copy of the article that appeared in The American Weekly. Here’s the link:

The Only Way to Cook a Turkey
by Richard Gehman

If you’re interested in the book written by Morton Thompson, you can get it here:

Joe the Wounded Tennis Player

It’s a fun book and a light read.

Whether you make the stuffing yourself or not, enjoy the read and imagine the flavors melding together in this once-a-year kitchen creation. (I know we all have our traditions and I’d love to hear some of yours!)

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