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Old 02-08-2016, 08:20 AM   #1
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Pioneer Woman is

being run on Food Network UK. The other day she was demonstrating Thanksgiving food (a bit out of season but never mind). I think the "asides" she made to go with the "gobbler" (turkey to the uninitiated) would take some swallowing to the British palate.

I was really surprised at the amount of sugar she used in the savoury dishes she was preparing including "dressing" which looked similar to our stuffing. I have a very sweet tooth and no hang-ups about sugar being bad for me but I don't think I could have eaten more than a forkful of PW's sides. I was beginning to feel a bit sick watching the demos.

Is it usual for American cooks to use so much sugar in savoury dishes? (I'm not talking just a teaspoonful or two here - she was ladelling it in as if it was going out of fashion!)
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:57 AM   #2
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When it comes to Thanksgiving the only place we ever went over the top was with a casserole of candied sweet potatoes and maybe pecan pie for dessert.

We did add a teaspoon of sugar into a large bowl of cabbage salad as a seasoning and also just enough sugar to the cranberries to leave them a little tart. With the cranberries we added a pinch baking soda and cut the sugar called for in most recipes by half. It doesn't take much baking soda, about an 1/8 t or just enough to fit on the tip of a paring knife blade.

Not sure about the rest of America, it's a big place!
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:45 AM   #3
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being run on Food Network UK. The other day she was demonstrating Thanksgiving food (a bit out of season but never mind). I think the "asides" she made to go with the "gobbler" (turkey to the uninitiated) would take some swallowing to the British palate.

I was really surprised at the amount of sugar she used in the savoury dishes she was preparing including "dressing" which looked similar to our stuffing. I have a very sweet tooth and no hang-ups about sugar being bad for me but I don't think I could have eaten more than a forkful of PW's sides. I was beginning to feel a bit sick watching the demos.

Is it usual for American cooks to use so much sugar in savoury dishes? (I'm not talking just a teaspoonful or two here - she was ladelling it in as if it was going out of fashion!)
No sugar in any of the dishes I make for Thanksgiving. Certainly not in my wild mushroom dressing (it's only stuffing if it's "stuffed" in the bird). However, sweetened or candied yams are common side in may homes, just not in mine.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:32 AM   #4
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My stuffing has no sugar. I looked at her page on Thanksgiving sides. It looks like her sausage and apple stuffing has sugar, but not the other two. People sometimes put brown sugar in winter squashes (acorn, butternut, etc.). I've had candied carrots and yams or sweet potatoes. Not at the same meal, though Sounds like you happened upon the high-sugar episode

I doubt she determines when reruns are broadcast.
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Old 02-08-2016, 01:51 PM   #5
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The only savory dishes I use sugar in are sweet potatoes/yams and that's usually brown sugar or glazed carrots if we have them instead of the sweet potatoes. I will use sugar if I make a cranberry relish/compote from scratch but I rarely do that anymore since I'm the only one that will eat it. Craig likes the canned jellied cranberry, actually he likes it as part of a leftover turkey sandwich, not the actual meal itself.
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Old 02-08-2016, 02:00 PM   #6
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Hmmm, I don't care for all the TG sides that require sugar, such as yams and winter squash, or sweet glazed carrots for example. I always make a broccoli salad for a side however, and that calls for sugar. I adore fresh cranberry sauce and I'll sure remember your valuable hint AB!
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With the cranberries we added a pinch baking soda and cut the sugar called for in most recipes by half. It doesn't take much baking soda, about an 1/8 t or just enough to fit on the tip of a paring knife blade.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:35 PM   #7
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I don't sugar dishes that are considered savory. When it comes to most dinner sides that do use sugar (cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole), I use about half the amount of sweetener called for - and that's without using the baking soda trick! Then again, most times when I've read over one of the Pioneer Woman's recipes, I don't understand what the popularity is. Most times I'll read the recipe and say



Maybe the draw is her screen presence? I don't know, since I've never seen one of her shows, either. I lead a sheltered life when it comes to cooking shows.
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Old 02-09-2016, 09:25 AM   #8
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I can't imagine putting sugar into a dressing. If a recipe has sugar and is supposed to be a savory dish, I just don't use the sugar.
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:18 AM   #9
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Sweet and savoy can work together, but it's not a universally acceptable pairing. While I can't imagine using sugar in a poultry dressing (or stuffing), I like some sweetness in a barbecue sauce. I've had it where the sweetness was cloying, and I've had it with no noticeable sweetness at all, and didn't care for either one although they were acclaimed as excellent sauces. I prefer a middle ground. I guess that some things one has to be raised with.

Lots of Chinese dishes are sweet and savory, and spicy too. Most spaghetti sauce recipes call for varying amounts of sugar, and while I will often reduce what is called for (I add a little then taste and adjust as needed), it doesn't taste right if left out completely. In such a sauce, the sugar acts almost like salt does in other recipes by enhancing the flavors, not making the sauce sweet.
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:42 AM   #10
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A lot also depends on region. The north uses more flour and sugar for cornbread, the south doesn't use any sugar. PW is located in the western south. And then we have cooks living in the northern western part of the country. Each region has their own recipes that have been passed down for generation after generation.
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Old 02-09-2016, 06:28 PM   #11
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I have heard it said that Americans use a lot more sugar than people in the UK.

Interestingly, I have watched a couple of food shows coming from the UK. I don't remember the titles off hand, but one of them was focused on a family and every day, they ate what people were eating in a certain year. I think they began in the 40s or 50s. So one day they would be eating food from 1951, then the next day from 1952 and so on up to the year 2000. It was absolutely fascinating.

The other show was when these two guys would swap out some of the food in a family's cupboard and paste generic labels over them, so the family couldn't tell if they were eating their own expensive brands or the cheaper brands. That was also a neat show, because they'd often show how certain foods were made. I also got an up-close view of UK supermarkets, and I'm impressed!

By the way, I have never called stuffing dressing. To me, dressing is that tasty stuff you drown your lettuce in when you have a salad. Stuffing is breadcrumbs that go in the cavity of the turkey and which I would never eat. That's OK, I don't like yams, cranberries, or greenbean casseroles, either. I'm not a person you'd want to invite over for Thanksgiving. LOL
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Old 02-09-2016, 09:18 PM   #12
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I don't think The Pioneer Woman represents the average North American cook at all. Perhaps a subset of southern cooking? A lot of her stuff has way too much butter, sugar, fat.
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Old 02-09-2016, 09:20 PM   #13
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By the way, I have never called stuffing dressing. To me, dressing is that tasty stuff you drown your lettuce in when you have a salad. Stuffing is breadcrumbs that go in the cavity of the turkey and which I would never eat. That's OK, I don't like yams, cranberries, or greenbean casseroles, either. I'm not a person you'd want to invite over for Thanksgiving. LOL
I never stuff a turkey. The stuffing gets made and cooked in a Pyrex. Stuffing dries out the turkey.
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Old 02-09-2016, 10:15 PM   #14
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I never stuff a turkey. The stuffing gets made and cooked in a Pyrex. Stuffing dries out the turkey.
Just a comment on this. The stuffing itself doesn't dry out the turkey. The turkey gets dry because it has to cook so much longer. When the cavity is mostly empty, the thigh and breast cook from the inside as well as the outside. When stuffed, the bird has to cook all the way through before the stuffing really gets started, and that's when the drying starts.
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Old 02-09-2016, 10:25 PM   #15
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Pioneer Woman is

I would never use sugar in my savory stuffing/dressing.

I also won't stick stuffing up the bird's cavity where it can get all the ookies. I bake mine separately too. My grandma always baked some in the bird, and some in a casserole dish.

I do like some of PW's recipes.
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:06 PM   #16
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Just a comment on this. The stuffing itself doesn't dry out the turkey. The turkey gets dry because it has to cook so much longer. When the cavity is mostly empty, the thigh and breast cook from the inside as well as the outside. When stuffed, the bird has to cook all the way through before the stuffing really gets started, and that's when the drying starts.
Exactly

Stuffing a turkey doesn't dry it out. But it's still a bad idea if you like turkey.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:11 AM   #17
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...I also won't stick stuffing up the bird's cavity where it can get all the ookies. I bake mine separately too...
Good technical term, Dawg! I've never liked the stuffing from inside the bird because it was always too wet. When my SIL bakes the turkey for Thanksgiving, I always offer to bring a pan of stuffing. With turkey broth and eggs as part of the ingredients, It's always moist and flavorful.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:48 PM   #18
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I've always loved the stuffing baked inside the bird because it's so full of flavor!
It recently occurred to me there's another way to get the same results.
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Old 02-10-2016, 02:31 PM   #19
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I love the stuffing in the bird. I make a ton, stuff the bird and what doesn't fit in goes into a covered casserole. What is in the bird is mine.
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Old 02-10-2016, 02:40 PM   #20
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Great idea Kay, I'll be trying that!
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