A Cranberry Colored Misunderstanding

For the first Thanksgiving in my new home, we hosted the celebration ourselves. That’s something I haven’t done in about a decade. It was great fun.

I am a lover of traditions, though, so I asked our guests if there was a particular dish that said Thanksgiving to them, because I wanted to be sure we included it, if so. Thanksgiving is a homey holiday, and I wanted everyone to feel at home.

One person said cranberry sauce. I cringed, inwardly, but added that to our shopping list. I hate cranberry sauce. I had no problem providing it for others, though, just as long as I wasn’t expected to eat it myself. It turns out that my husband felt the exact same way, which is further evidence that we are made for each other.

So on the day in question, I opened the can of red gelatinous muck and shook it out of the can. (Have you ever noticed that cranberry sauce makes a distinctive schlurp sound? Shudder.) And then I sort of mushed it up to disguise the can lines. As one does.

Once that was done, I had to admit that it was pretty, sitting in its cut crystal bowl, adding color to the proceedings. (Just keep it on your side of the table, please. So I can pretend it’s not there.)

Once we tucked in to our meal, I proudly pointed out to the person in question that we had her cranberry sauce for her.

She replied, “Oh, it’s not for me. It’s for my husband. I don’t like cranberry sauce.”

Well, then. I looked across the table at him. He seemed perplexed.

“I don’t like cranberry sauce. I just eat it because it’s there.”

“We’ve been together for 32 years and this whole time I didn’t know you dislike cranberry sauce?”

“Yup.”

The sauce went straight into the compost bin. Woo hoo! Free at last!

But it makes you wonder how many traditions are only traditions because one person thinks the other person loves them. Go figure.

Cranberry Sauce

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The Great Cranberry Conspiracy

So I was eating a lean cuisine while watching the Colbert Report. Pecan Chicken. It was as good as one can rightfully expect from a TV dinner. And then I got this taste in my mouth. The dreaded taste. I gave my meal closer scrutiny, and yep, sure enough. Cranberries. Ugh!

My apologies in advance to cranberry lovers out there, but I strongly believe that there are some places that cranberries have absolutely no right to be. Mixed with gravy is one of those places. Covered in salad dressing is another.

Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy the occasional cranberry muffin. I can also tolerate it in cereal if given fair warning. (There’s nothing that irritates me more than a cranberry surprise.) And I don’t object to that gelatinous muck that seems to be a Thanksgiving requirement. It does add color. I just politely refuse to ingest it. Why would I eat something that I would never allow to pass my lips the other 364 days of the year?

Is it just me, or have cranberries been popping up in more and more prepared foods of late? A cheap way to hike up the vitamin content on the package label, perhaps? Yeah, yeah, I could go on about how cranberries are a good source of this, that, and the other thing. Hmph. Google it yourself.

I have this theory, though. I call it the Great Cranberry Conspiracy. I think some rich person stupidly invested in cranberry bogs and is now desperately trying to unload the crop on anyone whom they can strong-arm into taking it. If the Koch brothers, for example, showed up at your corporate door and told you to put cranberries into your pecan chicken or by God, you’ll never work in this industry again, I bet you’d sit up and take notice.

And of course it’s the little people like me who have to suffer the consequences. It’s a cruel and boggy world out there. Eat with caution.

cranberry

[Image credit: finecooking.com]