Honoring my Dad with Bell's Seasoning and Family Recipes for Thanksgiving

Honoring my Dad with Bell’s Seasoning and Family Recipes for Thanksgiving

To me, Thanksgiving is synonymous with Bell’s Seasoning.

As I may barely see over-the-counter, there have been three significantly noteworthy Thanksgiving traditions that by no means wavered: my mother used to stuff her household, it had Bell’s seasoning, and we would have gravy. canned cranberries. Whereas generally the potatoes had been complete Milk and Butter and different occasions skim milk and margarine – and whereas generally the turkey was frozen or different occasions contemporary – there have been no variations when it got here to stuffing and cranberry sauce. The Bell model seasoning field stood upright each Thanksgiving… and I might by no means see it once more till the following Thanksgiving.

A couple of decade in the past, after I took over the culinary Thanksgiving festivities, my mother’s stuffing (and Bell’s requisite seasoning) was the one factor I did not “replace” from a pretentious approach. There’s an inherent simplicity to stuffing, which we do not really stuff into the turkey however nonetheless do not name dressing, for no matter cause: the crispy edges, the gentle bits, the deeply savory look and style. and immensely nostalgic. There may be maddening consolation in figuring out that this dish will likely be on the desk yr after yr, tasting and searching the identical because it did within the 90s. The aroma is an instantaneous panacea, a candy place to land, a consolation tough to place into phrases.

The field, the turkey design, the font, and the brand…it is all been etched in my reminiscence for 33 years of Thanksgiving holidays stuffed with household, meals, and love. Apparently sufficient, I by no means even considered utilizing it on the turkey – we solely integrated it into the stuffing.

In accordance their official website, Bell’s Seasoning was William G. Bell’s mix of spices, herbs, and seasonings that he perfected and commenced promoting in 1867 within the Boston space and all through New England. The recipe has been precisely the identical on a regular basis, consisting of salt-free and a combination of Rosemaryoregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme and pepper. (Except I am fallacious, the field, brand, directions and substances listed on the facet have not modified in any respect both.) The corporate now additionally produces traces of stuffing mixes, turkey brines and even meatloaf combine, however their bread-and-butter is definitely their signature seasoning.

My grandmother’s stuffing recipe is very simple and my mom has not strayed from it in my complete life, apart from an adjustment. Whereas grandma was asking for margarine or lard, my mother switched to unsalted Butter. One ingredient that has held up persistently, nevertheless, is frozen, chopped onions. My dad used to go to the shop yearly to get him a couple of baggage of frozen chopped onions, generic white bread, eggs, and milk. My mom would warmth up a frying pan, throw within the butter, then throw within the piece of frozen, fully unthawed onions. She would break it up with a knife earlier than the onions loosened and softened, taking up no colour however turning into translucent, then it was time for the fundamental dish: Bell’s seasoning! She sprinkled a couple of teaspoons and the kitchen (and the home as an entire) instantly smelled of Thanksgiving, nostalgia, recollections, years passed by, relations. I really like this odor a lot and suppose that solely remembering smelling it yearly has heightened the entire expertise.

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Bell’s seasonings add such depth of taste (and colour) to the onions, imbuing the ultimate dish completely. After including Bell’s seasoning, my mom would combine the cooled combination with eggs, milk, and a stack of white bread which she would tear into bite-sized items, usually with my brother’s assist. From there she would pack it in a number of glasses pan dishes and refrigerate till golden brown, crispy and cooked by means of. Once I was in cooking college I made an absurd appetizer, some form of bisque, tremendous excessive desserts, do-it-yourself cranberry sauce – however there was no higher chew on that desk than my mom’s prank.

It was additionally my father’s favourite. My dad handed away simply earlier than Thanksgiving final yr, his funeral was the day earlier than Thanksgiving, then my mother and I prepped and cooked like androids (for some bizarre cause, we nonetheless obtained forward with Thanksgiving preps) . This yr, nevertheless, I am so proud and blissful to be making this stuffing, together with sliced ​​and canned cranberry sauce, which had been two of her favourite vacation meals. My dad cherished Thanksgiving and all of our conventional meals; I do know he could be so blissful to see these actual dishes on the desk, with all of us sitting round.

My grandmother’s French dressing (straight from the recipe card!)


1/2 teaspoon of margarine

2 tablespoons crisco

1/3 bag of frozen onions

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons bell seasoning

1 loaf of white bread, torn into bite-size items

1 egg

1/4 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375. In a big saucepan, soften butter margarine and Crisco collectively. Add frozen onions and cook dinner till gentle.
  2. Flip off the warmth, then add the salt, pepper and Bell’s Seasoning.
  3. Put the bread in a bowl with the onion combination and add the egg and milk to moisten. Combine nicely.
  4. Switch to a buttered gratin dish.
  5. Bake for half an hour or till golden brown.

Prepare dinner’s Notes

-My grandmother and mom normally duplicated or tripled this recipe each Thanksgiving.

-My mother now makes use of unsalted butter, however be happy to make use of the margarine and Crisco listed in case you like, or salted butter, or no matter you’ve readily available.

-In fact, you should use an entire massive onion, peeled and chopped.

– I might most likely improve the salt.

-My mother all the time builds the stuffing in layers, alternating and mixing between additions of milk, eggs, extra bread, and extra onion-Bell combination, earlier than transferring all the pieces to a saucepan and baking it.

-A more moderen replace bakes this in a baking sheet or cookie sheet, which can improve the floor space and end in extra crispy, golden bits.

-For the previous few years, I have been making a secondary stuffing with celery, leeks, walnuts, apple cider, a ton of sage, white wine, and ciabatta or challah. It is nice, but it surely nonetheless does not come near my mom’s.

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