We all have a favorite Thanksgiving food. For some it’s the pecan pie topped with real whipped cream, or the mashed potatoes smothered in gravy, or the yeast rolls slathered in butter. For me it’s always been the dressing—that soft bouquet of goodness that comes from sautéing a few veggies and mixing them with dry bread. Clearly, the sum is greater than its parts.
There are a lot of opinions as to how dressing should be made and what ingredients should be included. Some in my family like oysters, dried fruit, or chestnuts. I like cornbread and sausage, so that’s what I make. One of the most bizarre recipes I’ve ever read is Marilyn Monroe Turkey Dressing, attributed to the late actress. It had 11 ingredients and included 5 herbs and spices, 3 kinds of nuts, beef and cheese. And get this: no eggs, no broth, and no fat!
A New York Times food writer replicated the unorthodox recipe and found it’s texture to be fluffy and the taste somewhat sweet, but still delicious. The downside was that it made 20 cups and took two hour to assemble and cook. It’s believed that she came by the recipe from Joe DiMaggio, to whom she was married for 9 months.
A food historian studying the recipe noted that the Parmesan, rosemary and thyme would likely to have been used in Italian cooking at the time, but less so by the average housewife. The dish looks hmmm….interesting, but I’m not sure I’d consider it dressing. Think I’ll stick with my mother’s cornbread and sausage version that I look forward to each Thanksgiving.