But, But, Butt

If someone, say a relative or youngest son, totally rejects and loudly protests a family tradition, do you change the tradition or stick to your guns and stick it to the objector? What if you inherited the family tradition? Yeah, me too.

I’m not sure where the tradition of stuffing bread up a bird’s butt began, but I do know it’s been around longer than I have. To be honest, I never gave it much thought. It was what it was and still is – a tradition started by someone at sometime in the past that was thought to be a good idea so others copied it and carried it in to the future.

I do wonder about the sanity of the first person who tried this stuffing stuff. I see them wandering around in togas gathering things. A piece of moss here, nuts from the trees over there, shells from the sea, things that look like seasonings, anxious with the thought of running home and stuffing everything into an animal’s ass.

According to the internet, and we all know that everything we read on the internet is true, the act up stuffing things in animal butts and then cooking them predates cookbooks from ancient Rome.

I don’t think the practice is one that causes illness or death. After all, women have been stuffing bread, fruit, vegetables and seasoning in animal butts for a very long time – and they lived to tell about it.

But somewhere in the long history of butt stuffing, my youngest son, who shall remain anonymous, decided it was a disgusting habit. From that day forward, he wasn’t having anything to do with anything stuffed in to the butt of a bird or other animal. In my house, eggs come from Eggland or Wal-Mart.

If you stop and think about this whole stuffing stuff, the practice seems more than a bit strange. You take perfectly good cornbread (or gag me now, white bread), add vegetables, throw in a couple eggs, season it, and then stuff it up some unfortunate poultry’s butt. A few hours later, if the oven works and the wine holds out, voilà, you have bird and stuffing.

There are things that were invented for and can only be put in a butt. Rectal thermometers, suppositories, camera’s for colonoscopies, all belong in a butt. Notice there was no bread, vegetables, or seasoning in the list.

So what did Mom do when confronted with the objections of her youngest son? She unstuffed the stuffing and never stuffed it again of course. Stuffing became dressing and is baked in a separate casserole dish. I have a beautiful oval casserole dish with a see thru glass top that is used only for unstuffed butt dressing.turkeymessage

I’m sure there are those who insist that the bird’s butt be stuffed, and that’s fine by me. To be honest, I can’t taste the difference, but apparently he can. They are both moist, flavorful, and the perfect accompaniment to the holiday bird. My son loves the dressing I make and the gravy too. I think it’s actually his favorite part of the meal. But until it came out of the butt and in to its own dish, he was having no part of it.

To those who want stuffing, I wish you the best butt stuffing the season can bring. For the rest of us, including my son, I wish you turkey bird and dressing.

Happy Thanksgiving.


From the life and mind of: Wanda M. Argersinger

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About Wanda Argersinger


  1. Great story, Wanda. You made valid points with humor. As one of my 3-year-old great-grandsons says, “Everything has a butt-butt.”

    I always stuffed turkeys, as taught by my mother and so on and so on. However, my daughter, who was a food inspector in the Army, has pointedly told us all that neither the turkey nor the stuffing reaches the safety temperature inside the turkey. So we have adopted her policy of separate dressing.

  2. I’ve only read about stuffing a turkey. I didn’t know people really did that.
    All of my female ancestors made, and served dressing in a pain.

  3. I don’t think Popeyes will stuff a turkey that they are going to fry so no fried stuffig at our house.

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