Today is slated for cooking, and Traditional Family Recipes rule the day! My potatoes, for a yummy potato casserole that my mother-in-law handed down (and which my children won't ever allow me to deviate from!), are almost boiling. Meanwhile I have a quick minute, before starting on my sister's delicious recipe for a spiced Zinfandel cranberry sauce, to share about a fun children's book by Wende and Harry Devlin, appropriately titled Cranberry Thanksgiving.
Cranberry Thanksgiving is the story of a young girl named Maggie who lives with her Grandmother near a cranberry bog in New England. Maggie and her Grandmother traditionally each invite a guest to their Thanksgiving feast. But this particular year, Grandmother almost loses her secret recipe for cranberry bread to one of the guests. (The book includes the secret recipe.) This classic was published in 1971 and is a traditional family read for many families each year - you can read it while the cranberry bread is baking.
Cranberries are amazing little powerhouses of nutrients and they go a long way back in the history of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Long before the Pilgrims came to North America, the Indians combined crushed cranberries with dried deer meat and melted fat to make pemmican - a convenience food that would keep for a long time. As the Pilgrims began to settle and thrive, cranberries became a staple in their lives as well.
Well, I'm off to start my cranberry sauce! Scroll down for the recipe below, or find it here (it's not a secret recipe, like the Grandmother's)...
SPICED CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH ZINFANDEL
1 3/4 cups red Zinfandel wine
1 cup sugar
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 3x1-inch strip orange peel
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
Combine all ingredients except cranberries in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain syrup into large saucepan. Add cranberries to syrup and cook over medium heat until berries burst, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.)