I’ve only covered one food item so far in this blog. This does not accurately reflect my feelings/excitement in regards to a bellyful of good grub. So, it’s time I blogged up another one post-haste!
As we are several months away from an occasion that would typically call for this foodstuff, I am, naturally, craving it. Being in Britain puts me at a bit of a distance in sating this foodlust as they don’t sell the brand over here. Us Yanks usually start eating it by the boxfull around Thanksgiving, of course. But, my relationship with Kraft’s greatest ever invention runs much deeper than that. During my college years, when everyone else in the Weinstein dormitory on Washington Square Park was eating ramen noodles, I’d fire up my hotplate to make a box of Stove Top. Nothing wrong with ramen. It’s exotic! My friend Joe used to sprinkle the flavoring over it and eat it raw. I don’t know if he was lazier or hungrier. But, ramen doesn’t offer the same warm and comforting feeling of sage and thyme infused familial love that Stove Top does. Those first few months of being away from my Mom and Dad and getting acclimated to life in the big world of NYC were greatly eased by heaping portions of Stove Top. I turned culinary tradition on its ear by eating half a box of the stuff as a main course instead of a small portion as a side-dish. I literally stuffed myself with it.
Even my roommate Molly would join me in this. She was a dancer and Stove Top was popular with her because you could control how much butter you put into it…or use a lower fat butter substitute if you wish.
Stove Top, like so many excellent things, was born in the 70’s–1972 to be precise. It was dreamed up by this lady here, Ruth Siems. Ruth, bless her clever soul, passed a couple of years ago.
The secret to her success was down to isolating the perfect breadcrumb. Seriously, it’s what her patent relied on. She needed to find the ideal size for the re-hydration process–too small meant a soggy result and too big was unwieldy and crunchy. Thank you for persevering until you unlocked the secret, kind lady!
I’ve read articles where it’s stated that up to three Nobel Prize winning scientists also contributed to the origins of Stove Top but I can’t verify it (wikipedia based only as far as I can tell).
I know Stove Top is probably full of all kinds of artificial crap that I shouldn’t be putting into my body but I don’t care. There is no healthier substitute. I haven’t tasted a homemade stuffing that can match its perfect balance of seasoning. And it’s so fluffy! Fluffy beyond compare! In contrast, eating homemade stuffing is like chomping on a mouthful of croutons.
Varieties of this magical mealtime accompaniment include cornbread, chicken, turkey, pork, beef (of this flavor, I am skeptical…who eats stuffing with a beef dinner?), sage, garlic, San Francisco sourdough, mushroom and onion, and tomato and onion.
The only real room for improvement I can see is making a veggie-friendly version. As far as I can tell, all of the varieties include chicken stock as an ingredient and it’d be nice if I could share my enthusiasm for Stove Top by cooking up a batch form my veggie and/or vegan friends (like my buddy Ari, who–blog shout out time–runs this site arionthedaily ). One can certainly dream of a better tomorrow where we can all pass the stuffing to each other. Perhaps this utopia isn’t too far off. If only we had the scientific mind of someone like Ruth Siems with us today to help usher in this golden age. That would truly be a day of Thanksgiving.