Tuesday, November 20, 2007

thanksgiving approacheth

in just a couple of days it'll be thanksgiving. it's one of my favorite holidays, and i don't know why. well, yeah, i do. my mom hated it, as she wasn't much of a cook. she'd complain about what a hassle it was to spend all day in the kitchen to produce a huge dinner. as a kid, i loved setting the table with the 'good' china, and being trusted to put the pretty crystal glasses at each place setting. i loved sneaking the black olives throughout the day, putting them on each finger and running around the living room pretending i was some black frog creature, then plucking them off one by one and enjoying the salty smooth taste.

sitting around the table was special. my dad always worked late, my mom never really ate a typical dinner, and my older sis was always out and about, so the majority of my childhood dinners were eaten alone. but not on Thanksgiving. my grandma would visit and we all sat around the dining room table and talk. it might not have been the most interesting conversation in the world, but it gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling just having us all together. the food wasn't gourmet, but it was yummy, simple traditional thanksgiving food, even if my mom did make the instant mashed potatoes, and served the canned cranberry gelled sauce. i still enjoyed it all.

when i was a young married gal i worked hard trying to figure out how to make standard thanksgiving food that was not out of a box or can. i mashed real potatoes and made real gravy. both were full of lumps and love.

then there was the year i discovered melinda lee. i'm a talk radio junkie and listen to it whenever i'm driving. melinda had a saturday morning radio spot and her show was all about food. oh, joy of joys. i learned how to cook by listening to her exuberant descriptions of how great it was to brine a turkey. i had to try it. then she gave me a gift. the cranberry sauce i crave. this stuff is tasty next to the turkey, awesome on ice cream, and scrumptious when sneaking it out of the fridge with a spoon.

here's my fav cranberry recipe. i doubt you'll make it, but i want to share just because.

amaretto cranberry sauce
makes 1 quart

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 full pound raw cranberries
1/3 cup orange marmalade
juice of two lemons
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds (you can used slivered almonds, too. i've done both)
1/3 cup amaretto liqueur

bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan. boil the syrup for 5 minutes. add the (washed and dried) cranberries and cook for about 5 minutes, until most (not all) of the skins have burst. remove pan from heat, then stir in marmalade and lemon juice.

transfer to plastic container. allow sauce to cool, then stir in almonds and amaretto. chill, baby.

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of friends, family and food so you get that warm and fuzzy feeling.



Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Wonderful post, McKay. It had a touch of sadness and a lot of sentimentality.

You really ate most of your dinners alone? Sniff!

Thanks for the recipe. I don't like cranberries. But reading recipes is great fun. It puts me in the mood to eat, which is a good thing, what with Thanksgiving a day away!

kat said...

Are you kidding? I am TOTALLY going to try that recipe. It sounds delish. Happy Thanksgiving - it is a wonderful holiday, no matter how we celebrate it.

Mr. Althouse said...

Hey mck!

Happy Thanksgiving. Guess what? No school today - no work either. Just a 2+ hour drive from Sacto to the Bay Area, no biggy. That means I get to visit my friends and you, of course are my bud.

Loved you recollections - kind sad but redemptive too.


BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

That recipe sounds wonderful!

Each of us has our own unique memories about the holiday, and continue to build upon them as we journey through life.

Have a good holiday.

mckay said...

bug, thanks for stopping by and the kind words :0) hope your thanksgiving was wonderful.

kat, didja?

sam!! so glad you got a real day off from school and work. i hope the day was all you wanted and needed...family, food and some rest...you working maniac!

Jamie Dawn said...

REAL mashed taters are the BEST!!!
No canned cranberry sauce for me. I made some recently, and I was the only one who ate it. I kept it in the fridge and ate it over several days on breads and whatever... it was yummy.
I wish you would have had more family dinners together growing up. It's those memories that warm the heart for many years. I sure miss my grandparents. I'd love to be able to have them around the holiday table again.
Well, it's back to normal life and normal eating.
Awwww shucks!!
My bohunkus will thank me.

Warwick Circle said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog. Hope your Thanksgiving was good and thank you for a recipe that I can try for next year's gathering.