Kitchen Sink Turkey Stuffing – by Lindsey
When “kitchen sink” is included in the name of a recipe, it brings to mind cookies or omelets filled with everything but the kitchen sink. Well, I can’t say that’s the case with my grandfather’s (and now, my father’s) Thanksgiving turkey stuffing. It’s actually made in the kitchen sink. As an adult, and a bit of a germaphobe at that, this should really gross me out, but I can’t help but think of all the happy memories of my Poppa-T and eventually my dad standing over the kitchen sink and cracking a dozen eggs into it like its just any other mixing bowl. You know, just like every other family who uses their food disposal/wash basin as a mixing bowl. Totally normal, nothing to see here folks.
I don’t know how it started, but I can speculate. And trust me, I have. In a way (a really hygienically flexible way), it makes sense. At the holidays, we have big family gatherings. My mother, aunts, and grandmother monopolize all the counter space, so the men in the family probably just decided “well, that sink is big enough, why not?”. Sure they cleaned it, but I seriously doubt they disinfected it in the way that I would today (though I’m not sure there’s any kind of disinfection possible that would make a sink a valid mixing bowl at this point in my life). There was probably some argument initially – after all, it’s pretty weird and the women in my family generally stick to tried and true cooking methods (you know, like bowls). We’re also loud, but flexible. In the end, after a bit of hollering, incredulity (on my grandmother’s part, I imagine), and friendly insults, I think everyone agreed to turn a blind eye.
Poppa-T has slowed down and has a bit of trouble with his memory now. I hope he remembers making it, but by the time I was a teenager its was up to my dad. It’s been years now since I’ve seen my dad make turkey stuffing in the sink. We’re doing smaller family gatherings that don’t really necessitate the kitchen sink, and we’ve also been incorporating new in-laws as my brother has gotten married and I’ve found my partner. Perhaps, even though we don’t speak it aloud, we recognize that Kitchen Sink Turkey Stuffing is one of those things you do with really close family who are just as weird as you are. Families create their own microcosm of weirdness and acceptability. In fact, as I write this I sit amongst them on a family holiday and I wince a bit at the idea of outsiders hearing our outlandish conversation. It’s the same for the turkey stuffing. What was once acceptable is now maybe a little taboo. But as my parents once joined their two families and introduced Kitchen Sink Turkey Stuffing, hopefully one day soon our new evolving family will become comfortable enough to start using the sink as a mixing bowl again. Even as I cringe at the icky-factor as an adult (as my mother just did when I mentioned this shared history to her), part of me looks forward to the day when I can look the other way as my husband mixes turkey stuffing in the sink.