The underestimated Thanksgiving dish

Published 9:52 pm Thursday, November 17, 2011

Regular visitors to the Suffolk News-Herald website are well aware of the poll questions we post.

Sometimes, we like to put our fingers on the pulse of Suffolkians to see how they feel about major topics like recycling and PETA. Every now and then, we post a poll question that reminds me that Suffolkians are my type of people when they sit down at the dinner table to eat.

Responses to our recent poll about Thanksgiving meal favorites provide probably the best evidence that I’d be comfortable at almost any Thanksgiving dinner table in Suffolk, because the results of the poll show that turkey, though wonderful in its own right, takes a back seat to Suffolk’s chosen favorite — stuffing.

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The poll results convince me that too much hoopla is made about the bird of the ball. Why does it always get to be the star of the show? I’m not saying that the power of the poultry at Thanksgiving isn’t important. I just think it should share the spotlight with stuffing a bit more.

Let’s look at the facts. Turkey takes a great amount of effort to get it to the dinner table. There’s cleaning, seasoning and marinating, not to mention getting all the curious inner workings out of the body cavity.

If you’re no stuffing snob, you can be bowl-deep in a more-than-generous serving of Stove Top in less than 10 minutes, gravy included.

Also, for the price of a medium-sized turkey, you could get several boxes of stuffing to keep you warm and chubby throughout the holidays and beyond, at least if you are willing to pace yourself.

And think very hard about this: What is always the first item that is depleted from the leftover stockpile? The stuffing. It can take weeks to rid yourself of the turkey. Days and days of turkey sandwiches, turkey soups, and turkey casserole stretch on, while only the ghostly outline of a bowl of stuffing remains in the fridge. If that doesn’t speak to the popularity of stuffing, nothing does.

If you’re like me, stuffing has played many roles on the stage of holiday feasting. It’s been everything from a noble side to fine fowl to a main course in and of itself with a glass of gravy as a shooter. Not every food item has that kind of flexibility.

So, in the final analysis of our recent Thanksgiving poll question, I’m glad to know that there are some Suffolkians who can relate to late night fridge-raids that ended with you sitting on the floor in front of the microwave, shoveling savory stuffing in your face with a serving spoon. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, you know you love it — and now that we’ve gotten our poll results, I know it, too.

So, maybe someday there will be a giant inflatable bowl of stuffing being paraded in front of Macy’s right next to the giant turkey. Its time to be celebrated is long overdue.

Happy stuffing day. Maybe you can have some turkey too.