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A Furious Argument Over Stuffing

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Posted 11-12-2012 at 02:54 PM by Jeff Westover

We're getting a great kick out of the many whiners out there complaining of Christmas creep. For some reason folks see the Christmas decorations and hear the Christmas music of early November as some kind of slight to Thanksgiving. We don't see it that way. Thanksgiving is just a part of our Christmas.

We're experiencing something different this year. After having worked for years in a way that prevented us from spending any of our holidays with extended family I'm taking vacation time this year and packing up the kids and going over the river and through the woods and through the woods and through the woods (900 miles by car) to Grandmother's house all the way to California for Thanksgiving.

This is a wildly popular branch of the family. The kids get to hang with their cousins and there will, in addition to the great food, be plenty of laughter and tears.

But for as wonderful as this will no doubt be as an event there is a storm of sorts brewing.

Whose stuffing recipe do we use?

This became a fierce topic of conversation amongst us way back when we last attended a family Thanksgiving. We were with another branch of the family back then -- the kids were quite little -- and a poor Thanksgiving memory came from choking down the dry, foul form of stuffing (as opposed to fowl form) that was served. When we took the festivities to our own home I can recall my older children declaring surprise that they loved the stuffing my wife and I had prepared (a simple bag of Pepperridge Farms) compared to what they were used to.

Over the years we have ventured far in our stuffing recipe. Slowly we have added the ingredients. That first year all I augmented the bagged stuff with was a little Jimmy Dean sage sausage. Then we added things like slivered almonds. Then cranberries.

It has never gone too crazy. It remains a simple recipe. But the moment of truth when the stuffing emerges just before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner is always a cherished moment in my house. The aroma that fills the air, the inevitable fight over who gets the first bite, the clamor after prayer is said for the dish full of stuffing. For some the star of the meal is the turkey. For others, it is the glamorous pumpkin pie. But in my house it is the stuffing.

And this year we'll be having it in California.

But whose?

That's the burning question as the kids pack their bags this week. Of course, we'll be doing Thanksgiving there next Sunday, a full four days before Thanksgiving. Weather permitting, we will get home and have our traditional Thanksgiving at home.

So I think the spirit of compromise will prevail as we gather with the cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. It will be great regardless.

But I know my kids. And I know my stuffing.

There's a storm brewing.
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