Some of my fondest memories of childhood take place at my mom's parents' house around the holidays. My mom comes from a big family (she has 11 siblings) and we love to get together. One memory all my cousins and I share is of our grandfather in the kitchen.
My Grannie made the day to day meals but when it came to special occasions she was pushed out and my Grampie took over. (Yes, I'm a 30-something year old who still calls her grandparents Grannie and Grampie!) Their house is small and it has 2 main living areas, one in the back and one in the front, and in between them is the kitchen. Our moms tended to stay in the front room with our dads in the back room watching whichever sport was in season.
To get to either parent we had two options: 1. go through the basement, but it had a large unfinished part that was cellar-like and spooky, or 2. sneak through the kitchen when Grampie had his back turned. Option 2 never worked. He always caught us and would wave his big spoon and yell "Get out of the kitchen you kids!", it was just too small for us to be constantly going through it (there are 26 of us!) and he was trying to keep anyone from getting burned. But when it was time to eat we were welcomed into the kitchen. And the first thing we all went to was Grampie's dressing! We fought over it, still do in fact. A holiday isn't a holiday without it.
Just before my husband and I got engaged he lost his job where we lived and got a new one eight hours away in a new town. The thought of leaving the only home I'd ever known scared me, but most of all I knew I'd miss my family, especially around the holidays. I asked my mom for Grampie's recipe for stuffing knowing that without it I'd be more homesick than ever on special occasions. We make it back for Christmas most years but I haven't been to a family Thanksgiving in 5 years. This recipe makes me feel close to my family on Thanksgiving. I hope you give it a try this holiday season and see why my cousins and I will stop at nothing to be the first in line to scoop some up onto our plate!
Grampie Brown's Potato Dressing (* Stuffing)
6-8 Russett Potatoes (Russett make for a fluffier mash than a waxier potato like New Potatoes) peeled and chopped
1 med. onion, diced
1/2 c. butter, melted
6 slices fresh white bread, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 tbsp ground sage
1 1/2 tbsp dried savory
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Peeled, chop and boil the potatoes until fork tender.
2. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot and put back on the burner for a few seconds to evaporate any excess water.
3. Remove the potatoes from the stove and place into a large bowl. Using a hand masher, smash the potatoes into a course meal.
4. Melt the butter in the microwave and add to the mashed potatoes.
5. Add the onions and bread cubes and mix together.
6. Add the spices and season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Put dressing into an oven safe dish and cover and place into a 350˚F pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
Serve alongside poultry. Makes a great substitute for mashed potatoes although I always make both! It's also excellent stuffed inside the bird.
* Dressing and Stuffing are the same thing, Stuffing is just Dressing that's been cooked inside the cavity of the bird.