I would gladly trade everything on a traditional Thanksgiving table for a plateful of my cousin Frances’ oyster, bread and pecan stuffing. She learned it, she says, from her mother, Myrtle Anderson Webb, who was my grandmother’s twin sister. She reckons it probably came from my great-grandmother, an Irish woman named Artie Rose.
The oysters can be fresh, says Frances, but she uses canned. Mixed with the turkey juices, the final flavor isn’t fishy, but delightfully meaty and rich.
It was on Frances’ table every Thanksgiving when she was a child in Chicago. After she went to England to serve in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, she married a Scot and settled there, and has used the American Thanksgiving recipe for the Christmas turkey. She likes it so much, she ignores the British tradition of making two different stuffings every holiday--one chestnut, one bread--and fills both ends of the bird instead with her mother’s oyster stuffing.
How wet or dry it is depends on how much butter and wet ingredients you use, says Frances. Hers turns out differently every year, she says, but squishy or dry, it “still tastes gorgeous.” Frances prefers pecans, but says walnuts work too.