November 25, 2019

Is Stove Top stuffing on the Thanksgiving menu this year? You can thank a Purdue alumna for that.

stove top Ruth Siems, a 1953 home economics graduate of Purdue University, is credited with the invention of Stove Top stuffing. (Purdue University image/Greg Simmons) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — You can thank a late Purdue alumna for the idea behind a classic Thanksgiving side dish.

The late Ruth Siems, a 1953 home economics graduate, is credited with the invention of Stove Top stuffing. The product hit shelves in 1971 as a dish appropriate for Thanksgiving but also for weeknight meals. The secret behind the dish are the dimensions of the bread crumbs, which General Foods patented in 1975. Siems is listed first of the inventors, followed by Anthony Capossela Jr., John Halligan, and C. Robert Wyss.  

Siems’ invention came at a time when there was a high demand in America for more convenience foods. She worked on developing Stove Top stuffing while working at General Foods, and the invention quickly became a Thanksgiving staple.

Siems grew up in Evansville, Indiana, and died in 2005 at her home in Newburgh, Indiana, according to her obituary in The New York Times. She worked at General Foods almost 35 years. Kraft Foods now owns Stove Top stuffing, which sells about 60 million boxes a year. The dish comes in a variety of different flavors.

Purdue Archives and Special Collections has information about Siems’ work on food inventions as part of the Gertrude Sunderlin Papers. Sunderlin was an early foods and nutrition professor at Purdue.  

Writer: Abbey Nickel, nickela@purdue.edu, 765-496-1325 

Source: Sammie Morris, head of Archives and Special Collections, morris18@purdue.edu 

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