Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Retro Tuesday: The bread stuffing story

It's funny how simple stories have a way of sticking with me. I'm writing it today so I won't forget it. It really started about 15 years ago but it is really a lot older than that; make it in the 40's.

So when we moved in the burbs, my mother in law would come over on Xmas eve and stay until New Year. She was the queen of the Xmas meal, waking up at 5 am on Xmas morning and starting the turkey.

I was really bewildered by this as my mother had never made turkey (or roasts) so the whole process totally panicked me. To up the anty my head was full of stories of ill cooked turkeys; think National Lapoom Xmas vacation or even my paternal grandmother uttering : it's dry! Like a death penalty.

My mother in law would get up every 30 minutes and baste the bird with strong tea and then go back to her nap. Near the end of the cooking time she would prepare the bread stuffing which consisted of regurlar stretchy bread (wonderbread), onions and poultry seasonning and maybe some chicken stock. She never mesured, which freaked me out some more and if i would ask questions on the quantities the answers were: like so or a lot. No help at all!
Anyways the turkey was always perfect (never dry, you would've like it Gran-mimi) and the stuffing delicious! I remember hating the stuffing with a passion growing up because Gran-Mimi added inside stuff, you know gizzards and neck and eeewww crap like that. My father thrives on this stuff by the way :)

So since she can't cook anymore, I've taken over turkey duty; but to tell the truth I never cook it for Xmas. I cook it in late January or whenever I feel like it. I don't want to be tied down to certain Holiday foods. My turkey never tastes like hers and it can be dry at times.... And this year I'd bought a freezer to oven bird so I could cook it whenever I feel like it.
So we are over at my Dad's and after a delicious meal of spaghetti Carbonara (I swear he makes the BEST in the world), he started telling us stories of when he was a boy. Of course you didn't waste anything back then; so all the leftover bread would go in a cotton bag that Gran-Mimi had embroided with the word BREAD when she was a girl. When she had enough bread; she would make either bread soup, bread crumbs or bread pudding.
My dad was quick to add that as a boy he didn't like bread soup. It was a lot like french onion soup minus the cheese.
 So right then and there I decided that I was going to cook the turkey the next day and make stuffing with rock hard bread that I've had for a while waiting to be blitzed in bread crumbs. I softened some celery and onions in olive oil, dumped them in my bowl of dried bread pieces, added some Bell seasonning (my poultry seasonning of choice), salt,pepper, garlic powder and moistened with chicken stock and some of the turkey drippings. I poured it in a trusty Pyrex casserole and in the oven it went, for 1 hour. 30 minutes covered with foil and 30 minutes without to crunch up the top.  

It was delicious!
So for this success I have to thank 2 great ladies: Gran-Mimi and my mother in law Réjeanne.

So for more Retro Tuesday fun head on over to Jersey @ http://www.crazysuburbanmom.com/ 

1 comment:

Mom Walds Place said...

Thanks for the story!

Hubby doesn't like me drying the leftover bread on a try. He teases me about it being dusty. Well, he doesn't now, I stopped years ago, because of the teasing.

I'm going to tell him about the bag. Then again, maybe I should make one and put it in his stocking next year :)