“Stuffing is where the heart is,” Monique Truong writes in The New York Times Magazine. “As I grew older, I also understood its corollary: the heart is often elsewhere.”
My heart, apparently, usually lies with broth-soaked boxed stuffing — unsophisticated, salty and yet, somehow, crave-worthy. I was served it almost every Thanksgiving. It reminds me of my mom, my grandmother and other familial paragons of hardy New England un-fussiness. Our traditions remained unchanged since at least the 60s: our green beans courtesy of French’s recipe, our yams candied with mini marshmallows. Everything is soaked in butter and sopped up with Pillsbury crescent rolls. I miss it already.
See, this year is my first Thanksgiving dinner without my family — this year, I’m unable to make the trip up to Vermont, so I’m celebrating it with my boyfriend’s wonderful clan, a lively and hilarious and kindhearted bunch. And — oh yeah — they’re foodies. My boyfriend finds the idea of marshmallows baked on sweet potatoes disgusting. Their biscuits don’t come from tins. And I’m pretty sure their stuffing is made from bread purchased from an organic food co-op — if they don’t bake it themselves.
This is all exciting and wonderful, and I’m already salivating. I’m fairly sure that this will be the most delicious Thanksgiving I’ve ever eaten. But I know I’m going to feel my family’s absence. I think I’ll even taste it. One bite of the stuffing, and I’ll know it.
If you, too, will be missing your family this holiday, I recommend you read Truong’s essay, along with Amy’s at “Poor Girl Gourmet.” Both are about family. And, as it turns out: stuffing.