Mom’s Greek Stuffing: Health vs. Tradition

My mother always made the most delicious Greek stuffing on Thanksgiving.

It consisted of ground beef, onion, rice, pignoli nuts, walnuts, tomato sauce and lots of spices.

Don’t bother looking it up on any online recipe sites because it just doesn’t exist – other than my mother’s handwritten copy, which I have.

Since my mother has gone to heaven, my sisters and I have attempted to replicate her recipe. No matter how hard we try and no matter how exact we are, it never comes out as good as our mother’s. And for those of you who are thinking that perhaps my mother purposely left out an ingredient or two, you obviously you never met my mother.  She would NEVER want any of us to fail, so I can assure you that the recipe she gave us is accurate. But obviously we are doing something wrong because it’s just NOT the same.

So, it’s Thanksgiving and it’s time for me to make the Greek Stuffing. But should I? We have many social events in the next few weeks and I want to look really good.  And I really NEED to lose 5 pounds to get into the gowns I want to wear.

Maybe I can just eat turkey for Thanksgiving and save all those calories.  I know I can forego the bread stuffing—I’m not that fond of it.  I can stick to “no carbs” that day & I’ll be A-OK.  But if that Greek stuffing is there—I will be in big trouble. 

Yesterday, I was debating whether or not to make the stuffing. If I make it, I’ll eat it.   If I eat it, I’ll gain weight. If I gain weight, the dresses and gowns I plan to wear, won’t fit.   

I was going round and round in my mind yesterday trying to decide what to do…

The simplest solution is just not to make it. But then again, it is part of our Thanksgiving tradition. But I don’t want to gain weight. Then again, it’s only one day. But I’ll keep eating it all week. Then again, isn’t it worth it? – It is so good. But I really don’t want to gain weight and that’s the bottom line.

So yesterday I decided that I was not going to make the stuffing. End of story?

…Not quite. 

I called my sister Charlene, who ironically was making the Greek stuffing. I shared my dilemma and told her my decision. The expectation was that she would support my decision.

She responded, “How can you not make Mom’s stuffing on Thanksgiving? Are you serious?” She continued, “Mom’s stuffing and her stuffed dates are part of her legacy to us.” Did Charlene stop there? Oh no, she didn’t. “It’s non-negotiable, Tiffany, you have to make the stuffing and the dates.” For a moment, I had forgotten about the dates that are stuffed with walnuts and rolled in white sugar. Oh great, more carbs and vacant calories!

As you’ve probably guessed, I am making the stuffing and the dates. Who cares if I look fat for the next month?  Of course, I care how I look, but truth be told on this Thanksgiving, I’d rather be thinking of my Mother than worrying about looking like a “moo moo”.

For those of you that  might be wondering if my thinking is a bit convoluted and this really is a “cop out” because I want to indulge in eating something I love, you’re obviously not Greek or Italian.  For us, it’s those fond memories and traditions that create the warmth and love of Family. I can assure you, my sister and I believe that our Mother will be watching and laughing as we eat our stuffing and say, “Ok, this is not as good as Mom’s!” 

And finally, for my Hawaii friends, when you see me over the next few weeks, you better say “Oh Tiffany, you look soooo healthy!” That will, no doubt, be a sure sign I’ve gained weight!

So, thank you Charlene for bringing me to my senses and thank you Mom for your recipe, and more importantly for all you have given me in life!

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