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  1. Eating is fundamental in the American experience. We are an overweight nation of delinquent dieters, furtively preoccupied with feeding our faces. And when it comes to holiday menus, nobody pays more homage to food than traditionalists who remain loyal to the time-consuming dishes that are anachroisms in a society which thrives on instant gratification. In fact, cooking from “scratch” is a badge of distinction reserved for those who spend hours in a kitchen, laboring over a hot stove, stirring and tasting, and wiping their hands on their aprons, Blacks, in their soul food mode, especially like to salivate over “Motha Dear’s” home-made recipes. And, although, with the advent of modern food processing, we’ve pretty much gotten past the generation of nose-twisters who resolutely proclaimed that they “don’t eat everybody’s chitlins” - the idea being that some folks don’t do a good job of cleaning this delicacy - there are still those among us who roll their eyes and purse their lips should a certain dish appear next to the greens and macaroni and pound cake on a table ladened with a holiday spread. As someone who balks at the idea of spending hours in the kitchen, I endorse the creativity that entails getting maxium results in a minimum amount of time. And, with Christmas dinner gatherings coming up, that is what inspires me to take this opportunity to give a thumbs up to the much-maligned “Stove Top Corn Bread Dressing”! To say that there are others who don’t share my enthusiasm for this product is a understatement. There’s an element of black folks who regard this packaged item as an insult to their palates, the serving of which is comparable to commiting fraud. Unless stuffing involves an old family recipe which requires a lot of time and attention to prepare, these purists would rather go without than betray their allegiance to grit. It doesn’t matter if turkey drippings straight from the roaster are substituted for the water and butter the Stove Top directions call for, - it makes no difference if green peppers, onions, and celery are tossed in, - or if the flavor is enhanced with seasoned salt and pungent sage. No amount of “doctoring up” is enough to sway the anti-stove top crowd. Aaah, but I have the ultimate pay back! What will add salt to the wounds of these purists, is the sight of me wincing before adding salt to the blah speciality that they have contributed to the menu. The coup d’etat comes when less-discriminating gluttons descend on the tasty 10-minute treat, scooping up “seconds”. Ummm, good. …defending Stove Top dressing…nervous about the future of my post office pension…frustrated with the Chicago Bears. Sigh. It’s enough to make a gal think about hopping aboard the next light beam bound for the “earth twin” that astronomers have just discovered in the midst of a galaxy far, far away...
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