The countdown to Thanksgiving is on, which means it’s time for the biggest and oldest food debate to grace the table—dressing versus stuffing. Read on to find out if there’s truly a different between the two terms, plus some delicious spots in Birmingham where you can order it.
Although I was born to Northern parents in Massachusetts, since I’ve lived in Alabama from a young age, the only name I’ve ever really known for this beloved side dish is dressing.
Thanks to my Southern grandma who made sure the dressing was made each year, the dish has been my all-time favorite Thanksgiving food since I can remember. It was also one of the most drama-filled dishes to grace my family’s Thanksgiving menu year after year.
Why, you ask? While there are many steps involved in making dressing, some of which stretch out over a handful of days (yes, I’m talking about drying out that cornbread!), the reason it was always an issue in my family was this: my grandma always forgot to put it in the oven on time. The result? A group of hungry relatives rolling our eyes and cursing the dressing. But was it worth the wait each and every year? Absolutely!
The Difference Between Dressing and Stuffing?
When it comes down to it, there aren’t many differences between the two terms.
According to most dictionaries, stuffing is a mixture used to stuff another food before cooking—a.k.a., Mr. Turkey.
Dressing, on the other hand, is cooked in a pan outside of the turkey cavity. The only stuffing involved here is stuffing it into your eagerly awaiting mouth. Yum!
But if you consider the ingredients listed above, stuffing sounds pretty similar. The only real difference to consider is that dressing typically includes cornbread, while stuffing often veers toward sandwich bread, baguettes and other similar items.
What does all this mean? It doesn’t matter what ingredients you use, what steps you take or whether or not it’s stuffed inside a bird. The difference between dressing and stuffing is actually based on the region in which you live. Gasp!
In the battle of dressing versus stuffing, which came first?
The winner is… stuffing.
According to history.com, the word term dressing first appeared in the 1850s when Victorians decided it was higher on the classy meter. The South followed suit and embraced the word new term, while the North stuck with the original “stuffing.”
So, if you grew up in or around Birmingham, chances are you probably use the term dressing.
Order Your Cornbread Dressing Now!
In keeping with Southern tradition, here are five spots where you can order pre-made cornbread dressing around Birmingham before Thanksgiving. But be sure to order in advance!
Address: 3147 Green Valley Rd., Birmingham, AL 35243 (205.822.4142); 5299 Valleydale Rd., Birmingham, AL 35242 (205.346.6168); 4730 Chace Cir., Hoover, AL 35244 (205.259.5044); 1831 28th Ave S., Homewood, AL 35209 (205.582.0062)
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10:30AM-7:30PM; Sat. 10:30AM-5PM
Order Deadline: Mon., Nov. 25 (Place 48 hours in advance to guarantee availability.)
Order: Call to place order
Address: 1906 1st Ave N., Irondale, AL 35210
Hours: Sun.-Fri., 11AM-2:30PM
Order: No pre-order necessary. Drop in anytime!
Address: 2514 Rocky Ridge Rd., Vestavia, AL 35243
Hours: Mon.-Fri. –7AM-8PM; Sat. – 8AM-6PM
Order Deadline: Accepting orders until sold out.
Pickup Date: Wed., Nov. 27 – 10AM-4PM
Meals by Misty
Address: 108 Waterson Pkwy., Trussville, AL 35173
Hours: Mon.-Fri. – 9AM-7PM; Sat. – 9AM-3PM
Order Deadline: Friday, Nov. 22
Pickup Date: Wed., Nov. 27 by 2PM
Where’s the Stuffing?
So, you’re a stuffing fan? Well, that is pretty hard to come by. I scoured many local menus offering pre-made Thanksgiving dishes and all came up empty on the term “stuffing.”
If you’re like my sister who will always choose stuffing over dressing, consider doing this: get in your car, go to your nearest grocery store and buy your very own box of Stove Top stuffing. In minutes you will have a bowl of steaming, fluffy stuffing that will make your insides smile. Plus, you’ll get to eat on time while the rest of the fam is sitting impatiently by waiting on the dressing to finish cooking.
You can also visit Trader Joe’s for a box of their cornbread stuffing mix.