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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cornbread and Oyster, A great Combination for tradition Stuffing

Oyster dressing dates back to the 17th century Europe enjoyed by the aristocracy and found in many cook books including the Dutch classic "The Sensible Cook" written by De Verstandige Kok, first published in 1667 according to Albany Institute of History & Art.  Geared towards the upper middle class and social elite, the writings emphasizing a regular and balanced diet, including fresh meat at least once a week, frequent servings of bread and cheese, stew, fresh vegetables and salads. This became one of the most read books of the 17th century. 

Oysters has long been  part of New England cuisine since the first colonists walked the shores settling the coastline of Virginia, Massachusetts and Maine.  While the oyster enjoyed elite status in many parts of Europe, the cultivation of oysters in New England led to its every-day appearance on the table of the common colonist.  This due to the abundance of American oysters in the bays and estuaries.  It did not take long for colonist along these coastlines to fine good usage of Oysters in many stuffing's, dressing and sauces.
By the 18th century, even the poor were sustained by little more than bread and oysters making the mollusk ingredient economically useful for stuffing fowl while providing superb flavors appreciated by the rich and poor.

The term stuffing first appears in English print in 1538.  Although known in Latin as farce, or French (farcir) meaning to stuff.  The team was also commonly used referring to a spiced chopped meat mixture, currently still in use when referring to making sausage.

After 1880, it seems the term stuffing did not appeal to of the Victorian upper class as it did not sound prim or proper, who began referencing it as dressing.  Today, the terms stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably. While in the Southern parts of the United States  it is still more often called stuffing, the New England states properly call it as dressing.

Dressing normally made using white bread, in the South, it often is done using cornbread as this Southern Staple recipe comes from the river banks of Monroe, Louisiana. Handed down generation to generation influenced by the Cajun French culture my mother grew up around yet later marrying her North Dakota Gentleman and finding Texas together to raise their family in San Antonio. Now the recipe has past on to the hands on my wife and son Austin on the original 3"x 5" index cards.   pass on as this recipe combines two savoring delicacies that creates this hearty southern dish. 
Check out the recipe:

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