Bread-emption: Stuffing Is Maine's New Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish

There's more Thanksgiving side dish harmony throughout the Pine Tree State this year

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One year ago at about this time of November, New Englanders were stunned to learn a certain chilly northern state was on a health kick.

Among all the strange surprises of 2020, career information website Zippia said that side salad, of all things, was the most popular Thanksgiving side dish in Maine, by virtue of it being the most-searched side on Google.

Upon learning this, many Mainers reacted with outrage, profanities and, one would assume, "leafing" a few guests off the invite list for subsequent dinners.

A map of the United States showing the most-searched Thanksgiving side dish in each state reveals more people in Maine looked up side salads compared to anything else.

Fast forward to 2021 and Maine is hitting the hard "stuff."

According to Zippia's latest Thanksgiving side map, Mainers have instead searched the internet for stuffing more than any other side dish this year.

Mainers who we spoke to in Portland on Tuesday generally believe this year's selection was far more acceptable.

"I would think stuffing would be right up there and is much better than a side salad," said Tina Cromwell, the owner of Bam Bam Bakery, which only makes gluten-free items, including stuffing.

"It is a very popular item for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We make many, many bags," she added.

Cromwell's stance was echoed by Ellen Belknap, a Portland resident who has been making a specific stuffing for 35 years on her own, and with her mother and grandmother before that.

"Stuffing's the best, there couldn't be a better decision. Maine rocks," she said.

The TSA has a list of holiday staples you can bring onto an airplane, and which have to be stowed in checked luggage.

Belknap added that her stuffing recipe includes apples, celery, onions, seasoning, butter and stock and focaccia from Standard Baking in Portland.

Her tips for great stuffing are: "Get your kids to do all the chopping. Do it the night before. Don't put it in the bird. Cook it in a side dish with a lot of turkey stock in it that way the bird cooks more evenly and it's less of a hassle when you're serving it because it's already in a beautiful dish."

Still, even with Thanksgiving side harmony in more abundance throughout the Pine Tree State, there are detractors.

Asked for his feelings on stuffing, another Portlander, Chris Henderson, replied, "I don't feel a lot."

"It's a nice side but I don't think it's the start of the show at all," he explained.

Asked what "the star" actually is, he replied, "good company."

If you want to fly home with your favorite Thanksgiving dish and don’t know if you should pack it or not, here are a few tips from the TSA on getting through security.
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