MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Is There A Difference Between Stuffing & Dressing?

If you’re a carb lover like me, nothing completes a Thanksgiving meal quite like dressing…boatloads of bread, celery, and other ingredients & spices to complement that beautiful bird protein.

Some people don’t call it dressing, though…they say stuffing. In these unprecedented times, knowing how to properly refer to that magnificent mound of moist bread seems necessary. So what’s the difference?

Let’s knock out one theory right here at the top: dressing & stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole pan. Whether it’s ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong & should be run out of town on a rail.

The terms are actually separated due to regional dialects. Dressing seems to be the favored choice for southern states like my home state of Mississippi, as well as Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Meanwhile, stuffing is preferred by Mainers, New Yorkers, and other folks of the northern areas. There are some parts of Pennsylvania where they call it filling, but…no harm, no foul.

If stuffing stemmed from the common practice of filling a turkey with carbs, why the separation? It was likely because Southerners considered the word stuffing impolite, so they never really accepted it.

So, while there’s really no material difference between stuffing or dressing, when visiting relatives it might be helpful to utilize to their regionally-preferred word to avoid confusion & dirty looks. But, otherwise…just enjoy stuffing yourself!

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at andy@wfre.com.