Thursday, November 21, 2013

Turkey Day and Tradition

Are you a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, or do you like to mix up the menu every year? Like more and more people these days, I’m generally of the to-hell-with-tradition persuasion. But when it comes to Thanksgiving, I want the usual. Save the experimentation and creativity for the other 364 days of the year. Just give me my big turkey dinner with all the trimmings. And don’t dare try to change a thing.

Unfortunately for me, my family is a bunch of turkey bashers. They don’t even want to consider the possibility of having the prescribed meal on the fourth Thursday of November. Because of the anti-turkey contingent, we’ve had Thanksgiving dinner starring pork, beef, lamb, game hens, duck, and even goose. It may be delicious, but it’s not right.

Why must they be so staunchly opposed to turkey? It’s not like I’d subject them to overcooked, desiccated white meat turkey. Even if it’s not their favorite, would it kill them to eat a turkey dinner just once in the course of a year? I mean, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without the roasted turkey in the center of the table and the tryptophan-induced drowsiness at the end of the afternoon.

Turkey or no turkey, there’s one traditional thing that’ll be on our Thanksgiving table no matter what anyone else has to say about it.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Printable Recipe

3 cups sugar
2 ¼ pounds (3 12-ounce bags) cranberries

Combine the sugar and 3 cups of water in a large, heavy pot. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries, bring to a boil, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 18 to 20 minutes, or until thick. Puree in a food mill using the finest disc. If the puree has seeds, strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove them. Transfer to jars and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or until set.

Makes a large batch, about 7 cups. This sauce is less sweet than the ubiquitous canned stuff, and it’s also slightly softer. If you’d like a thicker sauce suitable for molding, simply cook it a few minutes longer. Keeps for several days tightly sealed in the refrigerator.
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