WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30, 2014: Turkey Breast Stuffed With Pears, Dates and Hazelnuts  (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images).
Classic Thanksgiving Stuffing Probably Got Its Start In Ancient Rome
By Nico Danilovich
Stuffing may be synonymous with Thanksgiving, but there are countless variations and recipes out there, and its origins actually predate the holiday. A Roman recipe book from the first century A.D. documents that Romans combined herbs, spices, and veggies with spelt (an ancient grain) and put that inside chickens, pigs, and rabbits to create their own kind of stuffing.
Stuffing may have originated before it was written down, as the Wall Street Journal notes there’s a 3,700-year-old clay tablet from ancient Iraq that shows chicken recipes alongside flavored bread. That bread was merely a side dish, like many present-day stuffings, but the Journal hypothesizes this was the dish's oldest ancestor.
In North America, stuffing became widespread thanks to inventions like boxed stuffing, which made the stuff easier to prepare. So, if you end up prepping one of those modern stuffings this upcoming Thanksgiving, rest assured, it's actually a time-honored tradition dating back not just to the "first Thanksgiving," but to Rome itself.