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.