If it’s cranberry salad, and it’s not Christmas, it must be Thanksgiving.

Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat. Four and a half pounds of cranberries is not excessive for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I don’t think.

Yes, friends and folks, I have been through, in the past week, six 12-ounce packages of the tart little red berries that just scream out “Thanksgiving!” I mean, can’t you hear them? (If you can’t, it’s because yours are probably in the can reposing in the fridge, awaiting tomorrow’s turkey and dressing. The real live berries scream, I promise you.”

How it was, was, like this. I was in at Aldi a couple of weeks ago and they had cranberries for 99 cents for a 12-oz package. I knew that to be a good price, and I like to use cranberries to cook pork with, so I bought a package, on the vague plan I’d do something porky with them. Nothing porky ever got done.

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Thanksgiving: The recipes

November 16, 2017

It occurred to me, after looking back at the annual pre-Thanksgiving post, that it would be a worthwhile endeavor if I were to post for you the canonical Thanksgiving dish recipes. Because, well, if you want to follow the canon, you need the instructions, yes?

I may, in fact, have posted these recipes previously (in the case of the cranberry salad and the rolls, I KNOW I have), but hey, repetition is not necessarily a bad thing, and besides, here they all are in one spot.

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The Turkey Day countdown

November 15, 2017

It’s mid-November, which means….

It’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving!

Anyone who knows me well knows that Thanksgiving is my very favoritest holiday of the year. I think because it’s such a paean to excess (and ain’t NOBODY loves excess the way I love excess) and good food (and not very many people love good food the way I love good food) and family (and I know lots of people love their families very much, but y’all, mine are just special, that’s all). Besides, it was my mama’s favorite holiday, and that apple did not fall far from the tree.

Well, it did, but over the years, it’s rolled back toward it. I think. I hope.

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Fifty years plus worth of Thanksgivings and Christmases...that I can remember.

Fifty years plus worth of Thanksgivings and Christmases…that I can remember.

The cooking has begun.

Reposing in my refrigerator as we speak are three, count them, three dishes of cranberry salad.  One will go to church with me tomorrow for the Thanksgiving potluck. One is stashed for next week’s dinner. And what wouldn’t fit in either one is in the fridge for me and Child A to eat between now and then, because she and I? Will eat that stuff like it’s ice cream.

Also made a sweet potato casserole; not the family T’giving one, but the church T’giving one, because I didn’t have as many sweet potatoes as I thought I did. No matter. That’s relatively simple to make, and I’ll get to it next Wednesday or so.

As my annual holiday gift to you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em, in case you didn’t record it last year, here’s my cranberry salad recipe. Gen-you-wine Atchison family heirloom, it is, and well over half a century old.

  • 1 12-oz bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 red apple (I like to use Fuji)
  • 1 green apple (I like Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 orange
  • 1 small box cranberry or raspberry jello
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water

Chop cranberries in food processor. Core, but don’t peel, apples, and chop those. Zest orange, then peel and puree orange flesh. Combine all the fruit and nuts in a bowl. Make a simple syrup of water and sugar; when sugar is completely dissolved and water is nearly boiling, remove from heat and whisk in jello. Pour syrup over fruit and stir to mix well.

This doesn’t make a congealed salad, but rather, forms a sort of syrupy “dressing”  for the fruit.

Make this. It’s more important to my holiday table than anything else.

I have in my head a general schedule for cooking this week, which should involve me not half losing my mind on Friday. Having a late dinner will help.

Monday, himself the turkey will be delivered around 3 p.m. He’s 23 pounds. He will reside in the fridge overnight, and go into a two-day brine on Tuesday afternoon/evening. Also Monday, if I can get in touch with my knife-sharpening fellow, I’ll take my knives to have them sharpened. They’re due. And I’ll make cornbread for dressing; having forgotten to order dressing, I’m imploring a good friend for her recipe for crock-pot dressing that she says everyone swears by.

Tuesday, I’ll bake my coconut cake and get it in the fridge to start the “getting-right” process.  Will also most likely make the cheesecake. I think it’s going to be a peanut butter cheesecake with a chocolate topping. Because that sounds good. Because Child B is gluten-intolerant, the crust will be made from granola.

Wednesday, I’ll probably make the sweet potato casserole, to the point of getting it ready to go in the oven. Will stuff and wrap some dates for baking Thursday.

Thursday, since Child A and I won’t be doing a big T’giving dinner, I think I’ll make us a big T’giving brunch. With waffles. Because we love some waffles. I’ll get the bird out of the brine and let him dry overnight in the fridge. May mix up the dressing. Will thaw and slice the gravlax, make a relish tray (I have some pickle-eating children!).

Friday morning, I’ll get the bird on to roast moderately early.  I’ll put the dressing in the IP to cook. Will have brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes to make midafternoon, and rolls to make, though I could make them Thursday and par-bake them.

If all goes as planned, I should be relatively non-exhausted when we sit down to eat Thanksgiving dinner. There’ll be eight, possibly 10, adults and three munchkins, who’ll be dining on beach towels in the floor because that’s how they roll. My table has two leaves and I have plenty of chairs (though they don’t all match). You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em come on.


An image-less Thanksgiving

November 25, 2012

Well. It was Thanksgiving. I cooked. We all ate a lot. It was good. The end.

OK, OK, not really. Not really the end, I mean. But it’s just a shame to cook a great, traditional Thanksgiving meal, and not have a single stinkin’ photo of it. I’m not sure why I don’t; it was just that every time I started to fetch the camera, I got busy with something else.

As usual, my Thanksgiving was strictly along traditional lines. I cook this dinner once a year. I’ve got it down to a pretty fine science, and it’s all the stuff we like, and I don’t see much need in messing about with the menu.

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In other words, a post with little cohesiveness.

I finally found the cable-that-was-lost, so I’ve downloaded the last week or so’s worth of photos, with the exception of tonight’s dinner, which is split pea soup, which is not yet done.

If there is one quintessential holiday dish for me, this is it.

This says Christmas. Despite the tacky dishtowel behind it, which is hiding the microwave, in front of which is the only piece of countertop where I had room to set the bowl for a photo. I’ve GOT to straighten up my kitchen.

Anyway. This is cranberry salad. It has been on every Thanksgiving and Christmas table I can remember, and I’m 54, and that’s a lot of Thanksgivings and Christmases. Read the rest of this entry »