Even though my family celebrated Thanksgiving, we didn't stick to traditional holiday flavors. My mom is an excellent cook and while I do love the flavors that I grew up with, Thanksgiving food was not always my favorite. Instead of mashed potatoes, she serves sticky, glutinous black rice, and instead of filling the turkey stuffing, she'd stuff it with, well frankly, weird stuff. Always a mysterious mix of goji berries, dried shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts. It was....definitely exotic tasting, but I always secretly wished that we could just have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Why couldn't we just have stuffing?
What is stuffing? I'd always ask my friends. I knew everyone universally loved stuffing, but I never knew what it was. I've seen the boxes of stuffing mix. I tried it once, and I thought, there's no way that this is what everyone is raving about. A tasteless mix of stale bread cubes? If I was going to try stuffing, I had to try it the right way, from scratch.
If you've never had or made stuffing from scratch, you'd be surprised at how simple it is to make, and how much better it tastes than the boxed stuff. Just some things to remember about stuffing: you want the bread cubes to dry out completely, because that allows them to suck up as much flavor and moisture as possible, so you don't end up with just a mix of stale, dry, bread cubes. At the same time, don't add too much chicken stock, or you'll have the bread dissolve and disintegrate on you. I like to use homemade chicken stock for stuffing, but if you don't have any, the store bought stuff will be fine as long as you add a healthy dose of fresh herbs to really inject that holiday flavor.