Stuffing stands test of time

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

In this area, one of the traditional dishes served at Thanksgiving is cornbread stuffing or dressing.

Out at Roosevelt General Hospital, the Thanksgiving day buffet will include all the traditional foods such as ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and of course, cornbread stuffing, said Pam Bernier, RGH dietary manager.

“That’s the most popular, is cornbread stuffing, especially in this area,” Bernier said.

Bernier’s motto is to keep it simple when preparing her cornbread stuffing. Though she is preparing large amounts to feed to a crowd, each recipe is made in small batches and uses cornbread made from scratch, juice from the turkey and poultry seasoning, she said.

“That’s pretty much it,” Bernier said.

Portales resident Ruth Sherrod also prepares cornbread stuffing for her Thanksgiving meal. She has been using the same recipe since Nov. of 1951, when she was a new bride and living with her husband in California, she said.

“I’ve been making it the same way all these years,” Sherrod said.

Having moved to California from this area just a couple of months after her marriage, Sherrod was corresponding by letter with her mother on how to do certain things and prepare certain dishes, she said.

Sherrod makes her cornbread from scratch with a bit of onions added for flavor. She also bakes a batch of biscuits for her dressing. She then finely crumbles both the cornbread and biscuits into a pan, which she then covers with a tight fitting lid and sets aside until she’s ready to finish making the dressing, she said.

Sherrod then adds pepper, sage and chicken broth. If she runs out of chicken broth, she adds a little milk, if necessary, she said.

“That’s as simple as it gets,” Sherrod said.

Sherrod will be celebrating Thanksgiving dinner with her family later in the week. Her daughter is traveling in from Maryland and the family will celebrate the holiday together for the first time in 30 years, she said.

According to Sherrod, the stuffing that is made back east is made from bread, something that is not the norm for her family. Her daughter is anticipating and looking forward to mom’s homemade cornbread dressing, she said.

“They don’t know what good dressing is,” Sherrod said.

RGH employee Debbie Victor also agreed that cornbread stuffing is the normal type for this area. Cornbread stuffing is what her family has prepared and she tries to cook everything like her mom does, she said.

“It just tastes better, that’s what our family has always done,” Victor said.