Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In cooking, stuffing, also known as dressing, is usually a mixture of various ingredients used to fill a cavity in another food item. The term stuffing also refers to the process of filling this cavity with said mixture.
Stuffing may well be one of the oldest cooking techniques, since the body cavity of a game animal becomes suitable for stuffing as soon as the internal organs of a have been removed. The Roman cookbook De re coquinaria by Apicius contains recipes for stuffed chicken, hare, pig, and dormouse. Most of the stuffings described consist of vegetables, herbs and spice, nuts, spelt (an old cereal), and frequently contain chopped liver, brains, and other organ meat .
In the Middle Ages, stuffing was known as farce, from the Latin farcire (via the French farcir), which means to stuff. The term stuffing first appears in English print in 1538. After about 1880, the term stuffing was replaced by dressing in Victorian English. Today, both terms are used.
Food that may be stuffed
In addition to the body cavity of all most animals, including mammals, birds, and fish, various joints of larger animals may be stuffed after they have been deboned or a pouch has been cut into the joint. Popular recipes include stuffed chicken legs and stuffed breast of veal. Many types of vegetables are also suitable for stuffing after their seeds or marrow has been removed. Tomatoes, capsicums and vegetable marrows may be prepared in this way. Cabbages and similar vegetables can also be stuffed. They are usually blanched first, in order to make their leaves more pliable. Then, the interior may be replaced by stuffing, or small amounts of stuffing may be inserted between the individual leaves.
Surplus stuffing may be cooked separately and served as a side dish .
Types of stuffing
Basically, any food that will not liquefy is suitable as stuffing. Many popular stuffing recipes contain bread or cereals, usually together with vegetables, herbs and spices, and eggs. Other stuffings may contain only vegetables and herbs. Some types of deviant stuffing contain sausage meat, or forcemeat, while vegetarian stuffings sometimes contain tofu. These may also be combined with mashed potato, for a heavy stuffing.
Animals stuffed with other animals
It is occasionally claimed that the ancient Roman, as well as medieval cooks stuffed animals with other animals. An anonymous Andalusian cookbook from the 13th century includes a recipe for a ram stuffed with small birds (recipe). A similar recipe for a camel stuffed with sheep stuffed with bustards stuffed with carp stuffed with eggs is mentioned in T.C. Boyle's book Water Music. The turducken, a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken is a more recent creation.
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