Stuffing vs Dressing, The Age-Old Debate

Every Thanksgiving, my dad and I enter into a heated debate over what to call everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish. I’m firmly in the “Stuffing” camp, while he’s deeply rooted in the “Dressing” party. But which is correct?

Stuffing. The correct answer is stuffing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that what you call that delicious mixture of bread, vegetables, and spices tends to vary based on a number of factors including, but not limited to:

  • Region
  • What your family called it growing up
  • Whether or not you actually eat/serve it
  • You use the two interchangeably
  • You couldn’t possibly care less about the difference (in which case you’d get along well with my mother)

Take a teddy bear, for example. They’re called “stuffed animals” for a reason. If you went around giving “dressed animals” to children you’d probably get a bunch of funny looks from people and at least three to five angry emails.

And a surprise visit from Chris Hansen.

To me, it’s simple. How do you feel after you eat that giant Thanksgiving meal? Stuffed. You feel stuffed. If you feel dressed, you really haven’t eaten enough. Also you’re kind of strange. For those of you out there, like me, who are passionate about the differences between “stuffing” and “dressing” and are in need of some sort of graphical breakdown of the difference, YOU’RE IN LUCK because I made a flowchart for you.

My southern friends would most likely argue that cooking style doesn’t actually matter, it’s dressing, gosh darnit. And to them I’d say NO, IT’S STUFFING to which they’d invariably reply with a hastily prepared document demanding secession from our friendship. Such is life.

If Paula calls it stuffing, it’s stuffing. Everyone knows what Paula says is LAW.

Anyway, I hope you had a great Turkey day and that you enjoy the food coma you’re likely to be in later this evening. I know I will!

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