Quick! Stir this while we take a sec to give thanks for dear Ruth Siems, who is credited with inventing Stove Top Stuffing in 1972, of which tens of millions of boxes are eaten every year. (Instead of potatoes.) She died last week, but somebody neglected to run her obituary until today, which is such a holiday-rush kind of thing to do.
Siems, 74, died Nov. 13 after having a heart attack at her home in Newburgh, Ind., according to news reports. She was part of that spunky generation of home-ec majors who set about making the world faster, more powdery-instant. She worked at General Foods (later subsumed by Kraft) for a few decades, first in the cake-mix end of things, then at the super-secret labs. Stove Top Stuffing was what she brought to the table, and no small gift that.
Even now the food snobs sneer. They and their wild-rice-with-steamed-chestnuts obsessiveness and homemade cornbread-and-oyster dressing fetishes. Every year you try some new twist on it. And when it goes wrong, who saves the day? Who wins the taste test with any 10-year-old? (Hint: not the Barefoot Contessa.) It's Ruth Siems, that's who -- in five minutes flat, after a hearty appetizer of Chex Mix and cocktail weenies. You live in America, people. Give the woman her due.