Stuff and Stuffing

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Stuff and Stuffing the process of filling cavities in meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, and the substances used for this purpose.

In English, the use of the term ‘stuff’ in cookery emerged from a mass of generalized meanings to do with victuals (preserved in the expression ‘foodstuff’) and non-edible possessions, to become, sometime in the 16th century, attached to mixtures for filling pies. It developed, a little later, into the idea of ‘stuffing’ the cavity left by the removal of a bone before meat is cooked. The French word farce (still in use as their word for stuffing) also carries other meanings, including that of padding out. It is recorded in English from the late 14th century onwards and eventually gave English the term ‘forcemeat’, applied to fine-textured, elaborate mixtures used especially with meat and fish.