Difference Between Filling and Dressing
Being from Mississippi but growing up in Los Angeles was a confusing childhood, especially in a culinary sense. Not only was the food different in every sense – not a single bit of bacon fat was found – the things were named differently. The Coca-Cola became a soda, my mom couldn’t find boiled peanuts anywhere, and the dressing was replaced with a filling — a Thanksgiving dish I’d never heard of before we moved west.
The classification of minced meat versus cornbread should be short and dry. This is minced meat if you stuff the bird inside, and dressing if cooked in a separate pan. But in the deep South, there are a few states that refuse to even recognize “filling” as a word or concept, much less a dish, and according to a 2013 article from Epicurious, Mississippi is the most stubborn of them all. (I’ve also heard the lovely non-southern people of Iowa refer to this as “dressing up,” which pleases me.)
Both dishes are bread-and-butter dishes, although most southern dressings are made with cornbread. (A “cornbread filling” is not a thing.) The filling and dressing is moistened with broth and egg-sealed, and both usually contain onions and celery, as well as sage and all other common herbs. Both are great for tuning and riffing, which is what I like. I don’t know if those above the Mason-Dixon line add sausage, but it’s pretty common among my people. I love almost every dish, no matter what it is called, but I prefer to cook it outside of the poultry.
Why Dressing Is Better Than Getting Started for Thanksgiving
Aside from regional loyalty, the use of the term “minced meat” no longer makes much sense, because stuffing bread inside the poultry doesn’t make any sense. Cooking the loaf portion inside the turkey is bad for both dishes. The filling is soaked in bird sap, which is full of raw bird bacteria, which means you now have to worry about keeping the meat and meat – soaked breads at a safe temperature. (According to USDA, that’s 165 ℉). It is difficult to check the temperature of a filling when it is inside a dead animal that is sitting in a hot oven and the inside of that animal is damp, which means you are not getting browning, any crunchy pieces, or any texture other than ‘wet bread “.
It doesn’t help the turkey either. If you bring the filling to 165 ℉ (or cavalier, but according to the Food Lab , technically safe 150 ℉), the breast becomes overcooked and dry. It will also block the flow of air into and out of the bird, which can result in uneven cooking, or at least take much longer than it should. And, if you are stuffing a turkey, what should you do if you value taste over aesthetics, stuffing is physically impossible.
Will they yell at me on Thanksgiving if I use the wrong word?
In truth, it doesn’t matter what you call it, as almost everyone in the United States will know what you mean, whether you say stuffing or refueling. I use both terms synonymously, both professionally (for SEO reasons) and personally, because my Connecticut-born boyfriend’s brain thinks salad when I say dress. (It can also be argued for calling it “stuffing,” based on the fact that I stuff it in my mouth.)
I am far from me – the person from the state who calls all carbonated soft drinks “Coca-Cola” – to challenge the semantics, but most of what is done and served in US homes is clothing, or at least so should be. Mississippi is not known for being “truthful” on many things (like civil war or COVID restrictions), but their refusal to call it anything other than clothing is technically correct, the best possible. So let us do it. The football season is very difficult.