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Stuffing History

Is it stuffing, dressing or forcemeat?


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Stuffing Recipes

© 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Stuffing History

Stuffing in the middle ages was known as farce, from the Latin farcire (and French farcir) meaning to stuff. Farce originally denoted a brief, lighthearted play stuffed in between lengthy religious productions to keep the audience from being bored.

Forcemeat and farce were also common terms referring to a spiced chopped meat mixture, currently still in use when referring to sausage.

The term stuffing first appears in English print in 1538. After 1880, it seems the term stuffing did not appeal to the propriety of the Victorian upper crust, who began referring to it as dressing. Nowadays, the terms stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably, with stuffing being the term of preference in the South and East portions of the United States.

Oyster stuffing was very popular in the nineteenth century and remains so today. Southerners often prefer pecan, rice or cornbread stuffing. Italians like sausage in their stuffing. Dried fruit, potatoes, and apples are a favorite with Germans.

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Stuffing Recipe Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.


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