Welcome back to an encore Noshtalgia post! I had so much fun writing about (and recreating) food memories for this year's VeganMoFo, that I've decided to make it an ongoing series.
helping out with cranberry sauce, when I was just a little rascal
I am the kind of person who really enjoys tradition. I like doing the same special things every year. They become little emotional markers, and the more times you do them, the more memories get packed into the experience. I have lots of things like this that I can think of: going to Yosemite with my family every summer, making my little Christmas-time cookbooklette, having family brunch on Easter, making a big feast on Persian New Year. For all of these activities, it's the whole process that feels special, not just the final product. Some of these traditions have been around since I was born, and others have come along later... but I love them all.
helping out with cranberry sauce, when I was a teenager, in a non-surly moment
One tradition that goes back before I ever came on the scene is my mom making her Cranberry Sauce. By the time I have any conscious memory, we always had our family Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners at my parents' house. One of my mom's favorite things to make for the dinner has always been the Cranberry Sauce. I seem to recall that this was often done a day or two ahead of time (my mom has good time management skills!), and also that it was usually sort of a late-night/after dinner activity.
helping out with cranberry sauce, as a grown-up
What I really remember though is that she would always invite me to help her. When you are a kid and you can tell that the grown-ups around you think something is special and fun, it really seems magical. 'Cause let's face it, most of the time grown-ups can be pretty blase' about life. So, I really remember my mom's enthusiasm about the whole process of making Cranberry Sauce as something fun and special and festive.
so beautiful and so delicious!
First, we would put all the ingredients in a big pot and turn up the heat and stir, and wait and stir and wait... until finally we would hear the fresh cranberries succumb to the heat and start to pop and fizzle and sigh. She showed me how to take the backside of a wooden spoon, and smoosh the whole berries against the side of the pan if they still hadn't popped. This is as fun and wonderful as popping bubble wrap, just to give you an idea. The whole experience was just so neat... the loving warmth of being with my mom, the actual warmth of being in the kitchen, the beauty of ruby-red cranberry sauce, the amazing smell of orange zest in the sauce, and the joy of doing something special that only came around once or twice a year.
making it all by myself!
Recently my pals and I had a little Friends Thanksgiving Potluck (more on that soon), and I decided to make cranberry sauce. I had to ask my mom how to do it... but once I got started I was quite touched and amazed at how I knew what to do. I thought "I wonder when I should stir it," but then I realized that I already knew when to stir it because I had been doing it all my life. It turned out so beautifully, and making it all on my own made me feel like such a grown-up -- but, not a blase' grown-up, because it felt very special!
Mommy's Cranberry Sauce
1 12-oz bag of fresh cranberries
2/3-3/4 cup sugar
Zest & Juice of one orange
Put it all in a medium sized pot over low heat. Cook until the sugar is liquified and the cranberries start to explode and fall apart, stirring occasionally (you can smoosh the un-exploded ones up against the edge of the pot if you want). It's that easy. You will be happy.
~~~~~ Cookbooklette Winners! ~~~~~
Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway for one of my 2013 Cookbooklettes!
Here are the winners:
Congratulations!! Please send me your mailing address (ameyfm at yahoo dot com), and I will pop your cookbooklette in the mail!