Savoring Life

Thirteen years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, I was invited to Andrea’s family home for a Thanksgiving dinner – my first. I had met Andrea Dunne at university.  I was a student then, barely four months in the new country. As I met Andrea’s family I felt the warmth that radiated from their genuine hearts. It was good to be in someone’s home with their family sitting at a beautifully laid dinner table, surrounded by people who were someone else’s dearly loved ones. That day as I was surrounded by her family members, I felt a bit closer to my family who were seven thousand miles away. Strange how that happens, but it does. The Dunne family – along with Andrea – has a special place in my heart. They opened their hearts to me and in turn nudged me to open my heart to them … and to every Newfoundlander ever since. I have always been grateful for that kindness that blossomed.

 

That dinner was also my very first taste of the very traditional Newfoundland Jiggs dinner. My love for turkey with “dressing”, salt meat with vegetables, pease pudding and cranberry sauce – all drenched with shiny brown gravy – began at the Dunne home. There is comfort in that plate piled with more boiled veggies than meat. There is something about it that says ‘family’.

 

It’s been thirteen years of indulging turkey dinner – but I have never cooked a turkey before. It was about time my conscience said. It was about time to remember all the good things that have followed since I moved in Newfoundland. This beautiful place has treated me like one of its own. The people of Newfoundland have given me friendship and love and have made my heart fall in love. This is where my daughter was born and this is where she goes to bed every night safe and sound. I am thankful for this island that holds all my dear ones as much as the land I was born in and where my umbilical cord is still attached to.

 

I have many things to be thankful for; many people and many things. Most of all I have God to thank for keeping me and my loved ones safe and happy.

There are many things that make a plate of Jiggs dinner a genuine Jiggs dinner. To me Jiggs dinner would be incomplete without a side of cooked salt meat, turnip tops, pease pudding and most importantly the stuffing. The stuffing varies in the same way that a Jiggs dinner varies from home to home. Ever since I met my husband’s family and tasted my Mother-in-Law’s simple stuffing I have been hooked. It is as humble as humble can be in its simplicity – made with fresh bread crumbs, onions, butter and fragrant Newfoundland savoury from Bruce’s farm … and there is nothing like it.

Traditional Newfoundland Jiggs Dinner Stuffing

(Stuffing for a 10 pound turkey)

YOU NEED:

  • Fresh bread crumbs: 5 cups
  • Onion: 1/2 cup small diced
  • Shallots: 1 small diced
  • Dried savory: 2 tbsp
  • Butter: 4 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil: 1 tbsp
  • Sat and Pepper to taste

HERE’S HOW:

  • Heat butter and oil. Fry onion and shallot on medium heat until they turn translucent.
  • Turn off heat and add breadcrumbs, savoury, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Let cool before stuffing.

 

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32 thoughts on “Savoring Life

    • Most people don’t understand why I never cooked a turkey before! The challenge of cooking a big bird like that while keeping it moist was too much when I could get invited for a feed of it.
      It turned out slightly dry, not bad for first time. It should improve with practice. Spices next time I’m thinking!

  1. Thank you for your family’s recipe for dressing. Here in the ststes we tend to stuff our turkeys with Stove Top Stuffing. Commercially prepared mix. I like home made better and will try it with savory this year. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • Thank you so very much!
      It is a simple recipe that is just what I think a big turkey dinner needs. I hope you like it. You can also substitute the white bread with multigrain and seed bread for a nice crunch but it needs good butter!

    • Thank you! It took me a long while to cook one of those big birds. They are a lot of work if you have leftovers. We’ll e eating turkey for the rest of the week. Hope you cook one sometime soon and tell us all about it! Would love that! 🙂

      • I think it will be a holiday I keep when we retire back to the UK. There isn’t anything materialistic about it, just family. 🙂

      • Most of my life actually but my husband and I go back a lot and we plan on heading back once the kids are grown. Another decade or so! 🙂 How about you?

      • I’m married to a Newfoundlander so I’m here to stay. I do visit my family in India whenever I can which is still never enough. 😦

      • It can be hard. My mum is American which is why we’re here but my husband’s parents and a lot of our family is in the UK. We try once a year.

  2. Congratulations on making your first turkey! It can be a bit daunting at first. I just helped my daughter work through her first one tonight. I really loved how you described falling in love with Newfoundland.. It was a gentle and beautiful piece of writing! I think it’s one of my favorites so far. xx Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • Thank you for saying that. 🙂
      Turkey was a tad bit dry…I need to learn better. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend too!

    • That stuffing is why I like turkey, I think! Plain and simple. You must be planning your Thanksgiving spread already! 🙂

  3. I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blog. I am yet to try my hands on turkey. For no big reason (may be sheer fear to handle turkey), I have been baking whole chicken for Thanksgiving. I loved your stuffing and I enjoyed reading your post. I know how strange we will feel in a foreign land and I am sure you will never forgot your first thanks giving.

    • Thank you so very much! 🙂
      Yes, that turkey is a lot of work and I found it to be not ‘so’ easy. I think it needs practise. Love my trusty old chicken. 😀
      I’m hopping over to your blog to see what you cooked! I love discovering new blogs of interest as well.

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