Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Stuffing Nemisis

I belong to a church, perhaps you've heard of it--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Yeah well, this church is run by volunteers. No one is paid but somehow, it runs smoothly and accomplishes great things. Although not integral to its doctrine, there are common church practices that have become as widely accepted as stories of 3 large men standing behind unwitting sister missionaries who find themselves in perilous situations. Two such practices include having giant ward dinners with left-overs enough to sustain 2 African continent countries for decades and getting church members to sign up to cook and bring food to these large fiascos, I mean, feasts.

One year, I willingly signed up to bring food to a ward Thanksgiving dinner. I fulfilled my duty and arrived with a large pot of Stove Top stuffing. As per usual, there was more-than-enough food and it happened that my dish did not make an appearance on the buffet table...I assumed because of the excess offerings. When I went to retrieve my pan, Al , the EQ pres. who had organized the event, was ranting about how someone had brought stuffing made from a packaged mix. His energized display of ire and disgust for the matter would have lead a passerby to believe this was an issue of great magnitude rather than simple side dish stupor. I argued that the taste and quality of packaged items were not only comparable to homemade versions but worth the convenience and dared to suggest, might actually be preferred by some partakers. No, he insisted, the product was sub-par--a disrespectful, deficient donation. I rolled my eyes and left proud (and surprised) that I hadn't encouraged him to put as much fervor into his other life roles as he did into ensuring the quality of entree associates.

I offered to help out with this year's church Thanksgiving production and received my assignment--stuffing, ingredients and recipe to be provided. I chuckled at the irony. Saturday afternoon I opened the bag of ingredients and looked at the recipe card..."Al's Ward Dinner Stuffing".

Epilogue: The stuffing was delicious. Dangit.

2 lb dried bread strips
1 c chopped onions
2 c chopped celery
1 lb melted butter
4 tsp salt
4 tsp poulty seasoning or sage
2-1/2 to 3 cans (14 oz.) chicken broth
Combine ingredients thoroughly in turkey roasting bag or pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, rotating bag or stirring occasionally. Feeds 20-25 people.


Kristen Gregson said...

You made my day. This was an awesome post to read. I love your humor and wit. Well written!

(I'm resisting the urge to ask for good ol' Al's recipe. I want it, but I'll refrain!) :D

Deanna Quinton Larson said...

Fantastic post! LOL! I have to admit that I am completely awed by your ability to refrain from smacking the guy. Also, I'm kind of a food snob and you have kindly reminded me that an offering is an offering no matter what it is. Not that I have ever been like him! But still a good reminder.

Amy and Brad said...

Too funny!

bdz132 said...

Brilliant writing, Rita. "Simple side dish stupor" is my favorite.

Mandy said...

You are hillarious!!

Atkin Family said...

Aww man, you gotta' love the Al's of the world, we all have one of 'em in our church or work setting. Life revolves around "the stuffing," "the next reffing assignment, the next opportunity to be in charge of someone else. Wow -- such easy targets you almost feel bad having an angry feeling. You see you can blame them for all the inactive people looking for a reason to quit coming to church, or people who needed a reason to quit their job - by saying -- yep, Al probably offended them and there's a good chance that's even true!! Hey, I DARE you to bring a small bowl of Stove Top Stuffing as a joke and watch the steam come out of his ears . . .! Its sooo much fun to mess these Al characters -- enjoy it a little!

Danette said...

I am dying laughing. You are such a good writer. I second the above comment. Bring a small bowl of Stove Top. I'm not sure the Al's of the world recognize their nature's offensiveness.

Lynette said...

ok...now that is funny!!! I think we have an "Al" in our ward too!


Debbie said...

Wow. That guy has guts!

My mom makes a similar homemade stuffing and I love it, but I'm not opposed to Stove Top. They're both great, I think.

I agree with all your pals. You are a great writer with wit and talent. Thanks Rita!

Sheri said...

I love it! I have to hand it to you, instead of telling this guy where he could put his 'perfect stuffing' you refrained! And the fact that you still sign up to bring something! I think that makes you a saint. This post is what blogging should be about! (Too bad MY blog isn't!)

The Bullknitter said...

Can't. Stop. Laughing. (And I love homemade and box brand both.)

The Odles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Odles said...

Shame on Al, he should have been more sensitive to others, I love Stove Top, especially for us that like the quick, easy way. That thinking is why "Diana" loves the ODLES.

Anonymous said...

Loved it! Psst, don't tell Al, but I served Stove Top stuffing to my family this year for Thanksgiving (and everybody loved it).