Cornbread Dressing vs Bread Dressing In A Low Carb World – Thanksgiving Nightmares

A DFSW Reveals the TRUE Great Unpleasantness

The sacred bird - Roasted Turkey and Dressing
The sacred bird – Roasted Turkey and Dressing form the foundation of the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Feast.

Let’s forget for a minute that we are low carbers and things like bread and cornbread have been permanently deleted from our hard drives, okay? Let’s forget that we approach a holiday made famous by its wingmen (aka side dishes) rather than the HTIC (head turkey in charge). Actually, when you factor in the low carb variables, it’s quite possible Thanksgiving is THE most dangerous time of the year for low carbers of all localities and regionalities – north and south. Permit me if you will – not only am I a low carber, but I’m a Southerner. And a Texan. My cross is just a little bit bigger than yours and I bear it with extreme hubris.

Remember BLC (Before Low Carb)?

Come along with me “childrens” to a simpler time before low carb. Forget the annual low carber’s dilemma:

To eat or not to eat your mama’s dressing and taters and pies, and oh my! I just popped a button on my pants…

Slather the turkey with butter, salt, pepper and garlic and roast it at 325°
Slather the turkey with butter, salt, pepper and garlic and roast it at 325° until thermometer registers 185° at the thickest part of the bird. Feel free to baste every 20 minutes with a mixture of dry sauterne and olive oil or melted butter.

Thanksgiving in the South is a dangerous and tension-fraught time. Perhaps the only other time in history that could remotely be considered AS perilous to life and limb, occurred in the mid-1800’s, during what we DFSW’s (Delicate Flowers of Southern Womanhood) refer to as “the Great Unpleasantness” – otherwise known to anyone north of the Mason-Dixon as the War Between The States. Children, the Mason-Dixon Line was the invisible line of demarcation separating the North from the South, or Yankees from the Confederacy as my grandmamma woulda said had she still been living.

A Southern Thanksgiving necessitates not only that you must decide whether to smoke, roast, bake or fry the family bird (turkey), but you must choose a side. No. You must choose THE side. Unequivocally. You must choose whether you will serve bread dressing or cornbread dressing at the family Thanksgiving table, and heaven help you if you make the wrong choice, Sophie. Historically, bread dressings evolved from the old country, Europe. Cornbread dressings evolved south of the Mason Dixon as cornbread, a quickbread made from ground corn, eggs and buttermilk became dominant. And dressing from either lineage evolved within families from generation to generation.


Family Feuds – Don’t Come Between Me and My Dressing, Honey!

Marriages have dissolved, families have been torn asunder, and feuds have started. Now don’t quote me, but I heard from a friend of a friend that his uncle said their second cousin found out that the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys began over a disagreement about whether they were gonna make Nana’s Bread Dressing or Mamaw’s Cornbread Dressing. It’s true. I’ve told you before. I cain’t make this stuff up!

You will notice I do not use the term stuffing. Look. If you feel like looking up the history of stuffing v. dressing, be my guest, but don’t do it on my time, ok? Mark Bittman took care of clearing this one up in his NY Times article a few years ago, To Stuff or Dress the Bird. It’s a good read, but you can tell Mark is not from the South and definitely NOT from Texas, where there is ONLY one term used to denote the bread or cornbread-vegetable-giblet-broth concoction served as the star of the Thanksgiving show.


In Texas it will always be called dressin’. The End. Now we can all go home.

Not quite.

Somewhere back a few generations ago, some granny in my family got crafty. She decided to break all possibilities of feudin’, fussin’ and fightin’ at her Thanksgiving table by choosing to hybridize the family dressing. Grandmother Scarborough decided she would put bread AND a bit of cornbread in the dressing to shut everyone the hayull up (Texan for “hell”). Her dressin’ epitomized the marriage of bread, cornbread and veggies. And the result was nothing short of heavenly. Although I wasn’t there, I imagine Jesus wept.

Our grandmamma was a wily old bird and she kept it pure and simple. Sure it’s a wet dressing. You want a dry dressing flavored with the dreaded sage? Buy StoveTop. I hear they have a monopoly on that. But if you want moist, delicious, complex flavor – our sainted granny’s hybrid dressing is your ticket to fame and fortune, and your legal exemption from Thanksgiving Dinner KP Duty (Kitchen Patrol Duty). To this day 3 out of 5 siblings maintain the family dressing heritage – it woulda been 4 out of 5, but one of us has “gone home”. The fifth sibling? Well the fifth sibling hasn’t had an easy Thanksgiving path.

dressingNow our sissy, Khakki, is the eldest of five and the youngest of all at heart. But sadly, she’s not been dressin’-blessed. She married into a family of cornbread people. And many was the Thanksgiving when she toiled and slaved to present a gorgeous feast fit for royalty. And many was the night she sadly eased into bed, empty – devoid of what my people have come to call WaWa’s Dressing. Her people are cornbread people, there is no discussion about it and no possibility of parole. She’s trapped to the end of time.

In fact, our other sissy, Nan, who became the recognized wielder of the matriarchal Thanksgiving Dressing torch, feels so sad for her, that she actually saves complete casserole dishes of WaWa’s Dressing to serve to our sainted and beleaguered sissy, Khakki. I’m sure Nanny’s dressing-selflessness is the only reason Khakki’s marriage to a man of cornbread dressing lineage has survived close to 45 years.

So tread carefully along family lines this Thanksgiving, my friends. Cornbread, bread, potatoes, potahtohs – Thanksgiving is serious business and could spell war for the unwary cook. Nuances, inflection, and pronunciation may be the only things that keep you alive through the conflict. Lucky for you CarbSmart and its band of merry writers is here to help you navigate through Thanksgiving. We may not be able to give you exemption from the bread v. cornbread skirmish in your family, but we can provide ample advice and tasty recipes to help you navigate past the carbohydrate minefield, littered with the bodies of those who fell from the speeding low carb wagons of Thanksgivings-past.

Steamed Winter Mash a perfect low carb side dish
Steamed Winter Mash a perfect low carb side dish and a great GDS (Gravy Delivery System).

Now, I’ve already solved the whole mashed potato dilemma with my Winter Mash post, so check that one off your to-do list. If you would like to have WaWa’s Dressing in all its vulgar high carb fashion, visit Fluffy Chix Cook. I can’t give you the EXACT high carb version of it – my sissies and brother would burn me at the stake. But while you’re over at FCC, you can check out how I made WaWa’s Dressing low carb with only a small loss in its original quality. It’s not an exact copy, but it soothes the Southern-Texan, Low Carb, DFSW Breast. Oh and don’t forget, Pumpkin Sausage Soup makes a festive Thanksgiving side dish, even if you don’t serve it in a jack o’ lantern roasted punkin!

Low Carb Dressing Recipes You Can Live For!

You might also enjoy reading these recipes and choosing one of the low carb dressing alternatives CarbSmart Magazine collected for your Thanksgiving dinner, cooking and dining pleasure. We’re certain that with these recipes in your arsenal, you will successfully maintain your card-carryin’ low carb status:

WaWa’ Low Carb Southern Dressing by Susie T. Gibbs

Low Carb Stuffing Recipes by (our very own) Dana Carpender

Apple Stuffing by Dana Carpender

Low Carb Stuffing by Laura Dolson

Linda Sue’s Stuffing Pie

Turkey and Dressing Casserole

Gluten Free Dressing

Here’s a collection of low carb dressings:

Looking For a Good Low Carb Stuffing Recipe

I Need the Official Best Stuffing Recipe

Here’s a CarbSmart compendium of great Thanksgiving Articles:

CarbSmart Low Carb Thanksgiving Articles

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and remember to eat responsibly. Your life just may depend on it!

Susie Snax #5

Greek Yogurt and Blackberries or Pomegranate

Greek Yogurt with fresh Blackberries or Pomegranate Seeds sweetened with sugar free DaVinci or Monin Blackberry Syrup or Vanilla Syrup.

Serving Size: 1       Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 3 Minutes


  • 4oz Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4c Blackberries


  • 1/8 Pomegranate, fresh, peeled and seeded (About 1/8 of a small, 3 3/8″ diameter fruit)
  • 1 tablespoon DaVinci or Monin Sugar Free Vanilla or Blackberry Syrup
  1. Stir syrup into yogurt.
  2. Top with berries and enjoy!
Make your own Greek Yogurt cheaply and easily!
Make your own Greek Yogurt cheaply and easily!

SusieT’s Note:

Four Forks AwardYou may use plain, unsweetened yogurt instead of Greek style yogurt. Choose the one with the lowest carb count and use full fat because full fat yogurt will also be lower carb than its low fat counterparts.

I’m so cheap, I make our own Greek yogurt using a strainer and a coffee filter or a food safe paper towel. Place filter inside strainer and pour a quart of plain, unsweetened yogurt into the middle of the filter. Suspend the whole assembly over a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow yogurt to drain 2-24 hours depending on how thick you want it.

The more it drains, the more whey it drains off which suposedly lowers the carb count. I usually make mine overnight, then place it back into its original container. I use the Dannon Greek God’s nutritional information for carb counts and serving sizes, since I generally use Dannon yogurt.)

Nutritional Information with Blackberries: 145 Cals; 11.2g F (67% Cals from Fat); 8.5g C; 1.9g Fiber; 4.5g P; 6.6g Net Carbs.

Nutritional Information with Pomegranate Seeds: 143 Cals; 11.1g F (67% Cals from Fat); 8.3g C; 0.1g Fiber; 4.7g P; 8.2g Net Carbs.

If you feel creative and want to up fiber, feel free to add a spoon of chia seeds or flax seeds (if you don’t have a hormone positive breast cancer, or if you don’t have thyroid problems).

Check Also

Fresh Zucchini and Cucumber Ribbon Salad

Top 10 Tips to Quickly Spring Clean Your Low-Carb Meal Plans

Spring is a magical season. It feels fresh and new and like rebirth. Spring is filled with possibilities and motivation and a sense of anticipation. In Texas, spring is just a glorious three-day precursor to a miserable nine month extravaganza inside the humid oven we Texans like to lovingly call the Texas Gulf Coast. Join Susie T. Gibbs as she shares her top 10 tips for keeping your Spring meals low carb, light, and satisfying!


  1. Is it really that time again already? Several years ago, I dreamed up a stuffing recipe using chia seeds that is low carb and yummy: It works great for one person who is eating low carb when everyone else isn’t. I stuff it into the wishbone area of the turkey and the carby stuffing in the main cavity.

    My Poultry Noodle Bake ( using shirataki noodles is a great way to use up leftover turkey. Let the low carb feasting begin!

  2. Hi DAR! Great to see you here! Thanks for including your chia dressing recipe. What a creative use of low carb and nutritious chia! The noodle bake sounds like a winner for leftovers, too.

    We’ll be addressing Thanksgiving Leftovers in the Budget Low Carb Cooking Thread coming this month! I’m thinking we will do Low Carb Turkey HotBrowns and my yummy Turkey Curry Soup! They are both such comforting dishes and your “turkey tetrazzini” will go great with that thread. Maybe you will post on it when it’s done?


  3. We are looking forward to the roasted winter mash! Thanks for the recipes and the links!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.