Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


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.

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. Instead, they grow on vines in impermeable beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. These beds, commonly known as "bogs," were originally made by glacial deposits. Normally, growers do not have to replant since an undamaged cranberry vine will survive indefinitely. Some vines in Massachusetts are more than 150 years old! (Cranberries are also grown in the Pacific Northwest.) Photo sources and more information here.

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)...


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.)


  1. I hope you had a good one!

    Hooray for real books, just read your last post.

  2. Just found your blog (from FB listing of CFA); love books, but had an unexpected treat as a traditionally invited guest of a mother and daughter from New England near a cranberry bog for dessert of - cranberry cobbler! Delicious and most delightful! then ran across your blog with this being the first post I've seen - thanks!

  3. Isn't it funny how things happen like that in pairs - something random like a cranberry bog showing up in a blog after you are right near one in New England! Wow! I'm glad you found my "Good Books" blog. :)

  4. How neat it would be to visit a cranberry bog...they are such beautiful little fruits. Like little pomegranates (which I also love)!