My Mother always made the most delicious Greek Stuffing on Thanksgiving.
It consisted of Hamburger, onion, rice, Pignole nuts, walnuts, tomato sauce and lots of spices. Don’t bother looking it up the 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 now 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 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 to make the Greek Stuffing. So as I was shopping for the hamburger, as always I chose the very lean –low fat. As I was moving away from the meat department, I halted. Wait a minute–my Mother certainly never bought low fat anything. Being Italian and Greek, we ate meatballs and sausage and lasagna with rich ricotta cheese.
Have I discovered my Mother’s “secret”? Yes, I went back to the meat department and picked up the “fatty” hamburger. While part of me was excited another part of me began to have anxiety. “Why”, you ask?
Because we have many social events in the next few weeks, I want to look good–really good. I LOVE the Greek Stuffing. No really LOVE Greek Stuffing. And let me assure you that there is NOTHING low calorie in the recipe. And now add in the fatty meat.
So when I got home, I started debating whether or not to actually make the stuffing.
After all, Walter will make the bread stuffing & I’m not that fond of it, so I can certainly only have a tiny bit. I’ll stuff myself (pardon the pun) on the turkey.
I know if I make the Greek Stuffing, 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. If my gowns don’t fit properly I’ll be miserable. And “no” for me it is impossible to only “eat a little” of my Greek Stuffing.
I was having a Tiffany vs. Tiffany mental debate last night. To make it or not to make it. …That is the question. Let me invite you into one of my typical debates. “Tiffany, just don’t make it. But it is part of our Thanksgiving tradition. But you know you’ll feel fat! Then again, it’s only one day. But you’ll be eating it all week. But is so worth it –isn’t it. But you don’t want to gain weight.
Finally, I decided no Greek Stuffing this year. End of story…. Not quite!
My sister Charlene called. And her first question was, “So do you think we will finally master Mom’s Greek Stuffing?” Ever so meekly, I whispered, “Well Charl, I’ve decided I’m not going to make it this year.” Before I could even attempt to share my reasoning, the floodgates of Greek Guilt opened wide.
“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.
I was still pondering my decision, when my sister Chris called me. She continued where Charlene left off. Now the irony is Chris never makes the stuffing and is bone thin –but as she explained –with absolutely no logic –I am the oldest so I have to maintain tradition. Just because she is married to Steve who is Jewish does she really think we are doing “Fiddler on the Roof”? TRADITION!!
As you’ve probably guessed, I made the stuffing and the dates. Who cares if I look fat for the next month? Of course I do, but truth be told on this Thanksgiving, I’d rather be thinking of my Mother than worrying about looking fat. 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 that create the warmth and love of Family. I can assure you, my sisters 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!” However, I’ll bet my “fatty hamburger” might just do the trick.
And finally, for my Hawaii friends, when you see me over the next few weeks, you better say, “Oh Tiffany, you look soooo healthy!” No doubt that means my fuller face and fuller figure is a sure sign that I’ve gained weight. But it will be so worth it.
Hey, maybe I can buy a very full muu muu, send it off to Kim Nelson from Bling by Zing + have her put lots of rhinestones on it. Got my solution!
Well we shall how the stuffing turns out. One thing for sure–thank you Charl & Chris for “gentle encouragement”. And thank you Mom for your recipe and more importantly thank you for all you have given me my sisters and myself. You would be very proud of the love we share!
#kimnelson #thanksgivingstuffing #blingbyzing