Chestnut Stuffing

It’s official: the holiday season is upon us.  The tree has been up in the foodcourt below my office since November 1, but it wasn’t until today that I felt the jolting need to put up my decorations and start singing the Chipmunks’ Christmas Album at full volume.  I think what really triggered the holiday spirit was my firm’s Thanksgiving lunch today.

Each year, my firm does a potluck lunch where all the women cook delicious and complex dishes, and all the men either (a) forget and buy some cooked vegetables in the food court; (b) bring a store-bought dessert; or (c) bring cranberry sauce in a can.   I marvel at this phenomenon because all the men have stay-at-home wives.  What are these women doing if not cooking something for their husbands’ work potlucks?  Perhaps that is judgmental and misogynist of me, for I’m sure all the wives have very busy days supervising the nanny and attending important charity meetings that are inevitably held at chic restaurants and country clubs, and it must be exhausting to look casual and unintentional while flaunting fancy clothes, jewelry, and cars.  I wouldn’t understand because I work such hours that I will NEVER be able to drop anything off at the UPS store across the street from me, much less attend a mid-weekday charity meeting, and I own nothing fancy other than my big-girl TV, which is impractical to take around and flaunt (plus, the TV is coming up on 12-months-old, so is likely completely antiquated in the world of big-girl TVs).  I digress.

I signed up to bring Chestnut Stuffing to the potluck, as it is my favorite food.  The only problem: I’ve never made it before and didn’t think to investigate the ingredients or preparation until AFTER attending the Falcon’s game at the dome yesterday (RISE UP!).  I placed a hurried phone call to my mother after the game to get the basic list of ingredients.  I then made the tactical mistake of starting my chestnut shopping voyage at a grocery store called Mercado del Pueblo, which while awesome was missing some essential ingredients like (1) chestnuts and (2) stuffing.

Whatever Mercado Del Pueblo might lack in Western cooking ingredients, it makes up for in spades with parking lot flag decorations.

It took the fourth employee I talked to at Mercado del Pueblo to find someone who spoke English at which point in time I learned that they don’t have chestnuts as part of Mexican culture.  Apparently it’s a European and American thing?  At least, that’s what the fourth most important bag boy told me at this grocery mart off Buford Highway.  Mercado del Pueblo also didn’t have any Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix.  It’s as if Mexico doesn’t even celebrate Thanksgiving?!  So after 45 minutes, I had 2 onions, some celery, and a bunch of mangoes (to eat to ward off stuffing-related stress).  Luckily, Trader J’s had chestnuts and some stuffing mix that would have to do because everyone knows if you go to more than 2 grocery stores in one outing, then your head will spontaneously explode.

The making of the stuffing went well despite the fact that my mom was uncharacteristically screening all my calls.  Thankfully, she has gifted me 70 cookbooks, so Joy of Cooking was a guiding force as I listened to This American Life and Radio Lab and donned a festive apron while crying onion-induced tears.

Then this afternoon, I forgot all about the chicken broth aspect of the ingredients and accidentally fed all the vegetarians in my office meat byproduct.  Woops.  I’ve thought about it and have decided never to fess up.  This secret I will take to my grave, or until I press the “publish” button on this blog post– whichever comes first.  So far, I haven’t heard of any suspicions or issues.  And even if I do hear whispers, it could be anything on that table that caused the veg-heads stomach to be upset!  I’ve already anticipated shifting the blame to the deviled eggs.  They have “devil” in their name, so I figure they must’ve done something wrong.


  2 comments for “Chestnut Stuffing

  1. Shannon
    November 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I made roasted beets for my office pot luck. It is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. So of course there were plenty leftover.
    Also, making beets is far more labor intensive than I thought. I even made beet greens which we ate last night. My hands looked like I had committed murder most foul when all was said and done.

  2. Honoria Glossop
    November 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

    My life partner almost burned down his house once trying to make beets. I like yellow beets but hate red beets and have performed blindfolded taste tests to prove this preference is taste-related and not racist. In college I gave red beets the old college try and juiced some that I got from the farmers market. Within an hour after consumption, I projectile vomited fuchsia on the ceiling. If you didn’t know it was throwup it might have been sort of pretty. Those are all my beet anecdotes. For now.

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