Tuesday, November 22, 2005


If you eat the flesh of fowl or swine next week, and give thanks while doing so, please prepare a box of Stove Top stuffing. You will further the memory of Ruth Siems, the General Foods home economist who invented the instant comfort food.

Siems -- pronounced "Seems" -- died Nov. 13. She was 74. The New York Times reports:
In 1975, General Foods was awarded United States Patent No. 3,870,803 for the product, generically called Instant Stuffing Mix. Ms. Siems is listed first among the inventors, followed by Anthony C. Capossela Jr., John F. Halligan and C. Robert Wyss.

The secret lay in the crumb size. If the dried bread crumb is too small, adding water to it makes a soggy mass; too large, and the result is gravel. In other words, as the patent explains, "The nature of the cell structure and overall texture of the dried bread crumb employed in this invention is of great importance if a stuffing which will hydrate in a matter of minutes to the proper texture and mouthfeel is to be prepared."

A member of the research and development staff at General Foods, Ms. Siems was instrumental, her sister Suzanne Porter said, in arriving at the precise crumb dimensions -- about the size of a pencil eraser.
Stuffing instead of potatoes? We heartily endorse both.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Per instructions left in her will, the funeral director is to remove her giblets, fill her cavity with--you guessed it--and bake her on the top rack at 1200 degrees for nine to 10 hours until done.