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The Stuff (ing) of Dreams

Even on Thanksgiving day — it’s only chance to be a hero — it’s tempting to pass stuffing off as just there.  We expect stuffing to satisfy — as we work our way between zingy cranberry and buttery, sultry mashed potatoes —but not to surprise. It’s just not the dish that makes your eyes light up …until one time it does.

The first taste of Treva Chadwell’s intensely satisfying oyster dressing bids invite to the philosophies of flavor. Is flavor texture — crumbled cornbread nestled in the airy nooks of roughly cut Pugliese? Is it salt—not too little, not too much? Is flavor the naturally, pleasant sweetness that emerges when carrots and celery are cooked just right? Is it the earthy undertones of turkey stock, good crumbled sausage and freshly shucked oysters with their liqueur?

Flavor is all of these things. Flavor is balance. And it is thought.

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Yellow Mustard BBQ Sauce, and Changing My Mind About Mustard

South Carolina Style BBQ

Vincent Camillo’s South Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

Not long after I first got married, my new husband returned from his inaugural grocery duties with a dinosaur-size bottle of yellow mustard.

“Yellow mustard?” I stammered. What in the world would I ever do with it all? It was exactly the kind of condiment that I thought had no place in my kitchen. If food snobbery is a disease, I’m as afflicted as anyone. I was a Dijon girl all the way. Whole grain. Or spicy brown. Artisan. Local if possible. Nothing that came in a gigantic squeeze bottle. But to humor him, I made a batch of homemade German pretzels, which was good for about a quarter cup of consumption. Flash forward three years, and that mustard would still be hanging around the back shelf waiting for its next booking.

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Un-Ode to Eggs, Cholesterol and All

Best Egg Recipes

I set out not to write an ode to eggs. I was afraid I would be too obvious, embarrass myself with my unabashed affection for them.

My love started long ago. Mom would serve eggs for breakfast every morning before school. It got me through until lunchtime, headache and hunger-pain free. Those things tasted good and stuck with you, too. I was sold. I preferred the drippy yolks then as I do now, on anything from toast or pancakes to polenta or frisee au lardon.

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