APPLETON, WIS. (WFRV) – As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, there is one question that remains unanswered: Do you call it stuffing or dressing?

Whether you’re around the dinner table or the computer screen this holiday, the question leaves many wondering what the side dish is actually called. According to reports, the southern part of the U.S. commonly refers to it as dressing, while the northeast calls it stuffing.

Juan Hernandez, the executive chef at River’s Bend in Howard, says the difference between the holiday favorites is simple, but what sets the dishes apart is how they are prepared.

“The stuffing is what you stuff another food with. It should be the poultry most traditionally, and then you add your ingredients to it, and then you cook it. The stuffing is the same ingredients but you cook it in a separate pan in the oven.”

Stuffing and dressing recipes are passed down from generations, each family making their recipe a little differently.

“Some people like to stuff the turkey with rice, onions, celery, and all those other ingredients,” says Hernandez.

In Hernandez’s family, he takes a break from the cooking on Thanksgiving and is put in charge of the drinks.

“My wife usually does the cooking for Thanksgiving. My family comes over. We start with the onions, celery. We do the traditional bread, sage, chicken broth, and so on.”

Stephen Lehman, the executive chef at Fratello’s in Appleton, is thinking out of the box this Thanksgiving, since this isn’t a typical holiday season due to the pandemic.

Lehman created two new menu items, a Thanksgiving pizza, and a Turkey Stuffing burger. It took a couple of attempts to perfect both recipes.

“When we have an idea, we’ll put it together and the general manager and owners will come in and get everybody’s opinion. We’ll have the staff try it and decide what we need to change and go from there.”

Sticking to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, there’s a cranberry element included in each dish.

“It’s definitely got a sweet and savory effect to it. You get the sweet from the cranberry right away, and as you dig in you really get that savory from the turkey and mashed potatoes.”

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