reverb10 Prompt: Soul Food

One of the most important parts of the Christmas Dinner we have at my parents house is the stuffing. I’ve had a lot of different kinds of stuffing – some healthier, some fancier, but none better. My mom was kind enough to walk me thought the process of making a small vegan batch. I did my best to copy down the recipe, although she doesn’t really follow any instructions – by now the stuffing is mostly accomplished by feel.

She calls it Stuffing. (People who call it Dressing are just strange.) It’s based on the Apple-Raisin and Pecan variations of the Bread Stuffing recipe in the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, circa 1969. It ends up begin very similar to a savory French apple pie, so I think it should be given a proper title now that I’ve vegan-ized it.

And I am so happy I did try to make this vegan! I sat down to Christmas Dinner and realized that A) the stuffing tasted just as it should, and B) I had completely forgotten about the Field Roast, my meat substitute. I didn’t need it. I had stuffing and all was right with the world.

Mom’s French-Style Stuffing

½ stick non-dairy butter (I used EarthBalance)
1 small white onion, chopped
4 sticks celery, chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped
3 cups dried breadcrumbs
½ cup vegetable broth
¼ teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Raisins (Optional, and to taste)
Nuts, like Pecans or Walnuts (Optional, and to taste)

Melt butter substitute in saucepan. Sauté onion, apple, and celery until soft. Add dried breadcrumbs and vegetable broth and stir to moisten. Add sage and thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to ensure spices and moisture are evenly distributed. If desired (and why wouldn’t you desire it?) add raisins and pecans. Stir gently. Put into a covered casserole dish and bake at 325 for 1 hour.


Re: reverb10 Prompt: Travel

I’ve been thinking about the prompt on travel. I listed where I had traveled, but the question was really “how do you travel?” This stuck with me as I packed, left for the airport, got there just in time to learn the flight was delayed two hours, and had a significant amount of time to kill in an overpriced hotel bar.

I watched other people, asking myself, “How do they travel?”

There was the businessman in front of me at security. I always get in line behind frequent fliers. They are zero hassle. He traveled as if it was as simple as breathing. No extra movements, no irritation. It was all normal to him.

There was the very loud drunk woman at the corner of the bar. She traveled by getting hammered before getting on a plane.

There was the couple next to us with two laptops open, facing each other. They traveled by pretending it was the office.

There was the woman who had a wreath on her head, and another in a Santa hat. They traveled in a good mood, happy to make friends.

There were parents with small children. They all had enough gear with them they looked like they traveled ready for war or a blizzard or both.

There was the woman who was really well dressed. She is always there. She makes me feel bad when she steps through security, picks up her lovely carry-on, pulls her sweater or pashmina closer, and strides off with large sunglasses on her head. You know who I am talking about. She travels rich. She travels sleek and minimal, and I am so jealous.

See, I wore hiking shoes and a bulky sweater because I was taught that you wore the largest items and packed the rest. I normally would not wear them together, as it makes me look 12 and hopelessly out of fashion. All I was missing was a scrunchie. Also, my bag has a giant pink polka-dotted luggage tag, courtesy of my very thoughtful boss. I normally abhor pink, but it was very easy to spot on the carousel later. I also stock up on magazines I love but don’t normally buy – Good and Bitch and Bust – as they are a treat for all that flying.

So I guess you could say I travel like a completely different person. A practical person but in truth I’d be a little embarrassed to run into anyone I know while traveling. Is this really how I want to travel? Given all that travel I have coming up in the next year, it’s certainly food for thought.

reverb10 Prompt: New Name

Prompt: New name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

I always knew that if I went into witness protection I’d rename myself Trudy Swan. I was nearly named Gertrude, and would have been called Trudy. I know that it’s a big name, but I think I could have pulled off Trudy. It would have suited me just as much as the name I was really given. Both are unusual, and memorable, which I’ve learned is a great asset. As a last name, I’d take a family name that I also would not have minded – Swan. Who doesn’t want that as a last name? King is another contender. Gertrude King? I could swing that. Also, the whole thing sounds enough like my real name that I would have likely responded to it.