Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Right Crumb, Without the Bird

From the NYTimes: Ruth M. Siems, Inventor of Stuffing, Dies at 74. Well, strictly speaking, Ms. Siems didn't invent stuffing -- she co-invented Stove Top brand stuffing. Which, apparently, has only been available for about thirty years.

This is a weird article. It's hard to tell whether it's an obituary or a seasonal puff piece. Siems died on Nov. 13, so presumably the Times has had more than a week to sit on this. The author, Margalit Fox, put the time to good use, interviewing various food historians and pegging Stove Top's peculiar essence and appeal:

Stove Top's premise is threefold. First, it offers speed.

Second, it divorces the stuffing from the bird, sparing cooks the nasty business of having to root around in the clammy interior of an animal.

Third, it frees stuffing from the yoke of Thanksgiving; it can be cooked and eaten on a moment's notice any day of the year.

I can imagine people wanting to be freed from "the yoke of Thanksgiving," but who knew that this applied to stuffing too? Nevertheless, Stove Top wanted some things about its stuffing to be tied down: Siems' design for the bread crumb (called "Instant Stuffing Mix") is covered under United States Patent No. 3,870,803. "The nature of the cell structure and overall texture of the dried bread crumb employed in this invention is of great importance if a stuffing which will hydrate in a matter of minutes to the proper texture and mouthfeel is to be prepared."

In related news, my new noise-rock band Mouthfeel will be touring the southwest in the spring.


Gavin said...

Hey, is Mouthfeel still looking for a bass player? I'm a bit late in following up on the Metro Times classified ad you posted, but I have my own earplugs and rig.


Matt said...

Can we agree right here right now never to use the term "mouthfeel" again in polite blogversation?

Tim said...

For the record, I thought "the nasty business of rooting around in the clammy interior of an animal" was suggestive enough to begin with.

DDK23 said...

Hi Tim! Wouldn't you love to be just famous enough that someone would wait for a holiday to announce your death to the world? I wonder what the food at the wake was like....

Tim said...

Denise! I had to read your blog to figure out who you were! I thought I was getting spammed by someone from Livonia! Weird.

But only being famous enough to make an interesting topic holiday conversation is a pretty dubious honor. I mean, if you're sufficiently famous, not only does your obit get picked up ASAP, but people speculate that you've kicked the bucket before it's even happened. Cf. Arafat, or Castro.

Hmm. Maybe it's better not to be that kind of famous either. ;)

DDK23 said...

Yes I am one of those Livonia "thugs" that you posted about earlier;-) Never knew I lived in such a "dangerous" area, and to think that when we bought our house, Livonia was selected as one of the best cities to raise a child (don't have the report to link to).