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11/21/2001 Entry: "Stuffing Myself."

Stuffing in the middle ages was known as 'farce,' from the Latin 'farcire' (and French 'farcir') meaning to stuff. Farce originally denoted a brief, lighthearted play stuffed in between lengthy religious productions to keep the audience from being bored. Forcemeat and farce were also common terms referring to a spiced chopped meat mixture, currently still in use when referring to sausage. The term 'stuffing' first appears in English print in 1538. After 1880, it seems the term 'stuffing' did not appeal to the propriety of the Victorian upper crust, who began referring to it as 'dressing'. Nowadays, the terms stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably, with stuffing being the term of preference in the South and East portions of the United States. Oyster stuffing was very popular in the nineteenth century and remains so today. Southerners often prefer pecan, rice or cornbread stuffing. Italians like sausage in their stuffing, and dried fruit, potatoes and apples are a favorite with Germans.

Bread Stuffing is one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes; I'm always disappointed when I see it at a restaurant and find out it's been cooked with meat stock. Of course, while there are many unusual animals one can stuff, there are so many other wonderful choices of things, any of which are completely vegetarian, too.

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