GAZELLE STL NOVEMBER 2017 - Page 72

CUISINE The Right Stuff By Suzanne Corbett T hanksgiving is all about traditions - table traditions where the menu’s success relies on including "the right stuff." Forget fretting about the side dishes and the pumpkin pie, for if the turkey doesn’t have the right stuffing your family deems as the right stuff, Thanksgiving can be ruined. Case in point: the year I added golden raisins to Grandma Falk’s dressing (aka her stuffing recipe). I have yet to be forgiven for the culinary faux pas. Not unlike my grandma’s recipe, your family’s recipe for stuffing will often define who you are, where you’re from, and/or who taught you to cook. It’s an interesting look into one’s own heritage, which begins with the name stuffing or dressing (and it depends where you're from). Northerners call it stuffing, while Southerners stuff their turkeys with dressing or bake it in a pan outside the turkey. Of course, there are always those free spirits who don't use either term, instead calling it filling. For the record, I make dressing. 70 GAZELLE STL Turkeys roasted in New England or the Midwest are often stuffed with a mixture of celery, onion and sage, using a variety of wheat bread. Wild rice is an addition found in the Upper Midwest. And oysters, which seem to transcend its regional costal boundaries are a must in New England bread stuffing and Southern cornbread dressing. Avant- garde cooks and the Amish have been known to use rye bread as the foundation for stuffing recipes that include sauerkraut. All this said, it’s no wonder cooks fret and worry about the right stuffing to make. For those seeking a different perspective and inspiration beyond Grandma’s tried-and-true recipe, I asked a few culinary friends to share their memories, recommendations and recipes for what they deem to be the right stuff for Thanksgiving. "In Italy, Thanksgiving is celebrated the second Sunday of November. And when we celebrate, it’s not about the turkey," said Pierpaolo Pittia, chef de cuisine at River City Casino’s Cibare Italian Kitchen. "My mother made chicken stuffed with sausage or pancetta. She sometimes