Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bittersweet Thanksgiving

This is the holiday where I will always miss my Grandma S the most.

This is also the first Thanksgiving that Grandma S will celebrate will Grandpa S in 8 years. My sis-in-love pointed this out to me today while we were standing in the kitchen, reminiscing about food traditions. There are quite a few from Grandma S that I will continue on at my own holiday table.

Grandma always had three kinds of homemade pickles: bread-and-butter pickles, mustard pickles, and crystal pickles (sweet pickles made from tiny cukes and sliced so thin that they looked like crystal). I don't have the recipe for crystal pickles yet (Mom has promised that I can look through grandma's cookbooks). I went to the store this morning to buy bread-and-butter pickles and mustard pickles (sometimes called mustard chow-chow). None. Nada. Just dill and one lonely bottle of sweet. I was so disappointed. Next year I won't be caught without them. I doubt I will make them all myself, but I will have them in my pantry.

Celery stuffed with Old English Cheese spread. This is such a huge part of my childhood food memories. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and quite a few Sunday dinners, this dish would appear on the table. I have been known to scarf the leftovers.
I have to admit that I have graduated from Food Snob to embracing everything homey, homemade, and totally un-gourmet. I've shared with you before that my Grandma was a true salt-of-the-earth woman. Her recipes are the kind you would find it the old ward cookbooks (cookbooks of family recipe put together by various congregations in our church).

Grandma was famous for her Yucky Rolls. They were actually just Parker House Style rolls. My mom uses frozen Rhodes dough, flattens them out a bit, dip in butter and folds in half. then they finish rising and bake. So easy. Sooo good.

The last must have dish is Grandma's Cranberry Salad. Do not leave out the whole orange. Yes, you do have to grind it up, peel and all. Trust me, its good.

I grew up with this sauce. I had no idea that cranberries came any other way. My first Thanksgiving dinner at my in-loves, I marveled out loud when they brought out a cylindrical shaped cranberry sauce mold (at least that is what I thought it was). Mr. Wonderful was embarrassed. Mother-in-love looked at me strangely when I asked her where she found a gelatin mold of that shape. Mr. Wonderful took me to the kitchen to show me the empty can of cranberry sauce. I wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there, thinking that his mom must hate me.

So I give to you the recipe for my Grandma S's Cranberry Salad. Don't wait until next Thanksgiving to try it. Be sure to try it on a leftover turkey or chicken sandwich. I have also been known to scarf all leftovers of this.

Grandma S's Cranberry Salad

1 large pkg cherry jello (I use cranberry)
1 Cup water
1 pkg fresh cranberries
1 Cup sugar
3 apples (granny smith or golden delicious) Core, but do not peel. Grind up
2 oranges Grind up peel and all. I usually chop into eighths and use the grind
button on my blender.

Dissolve sugar in boiling water. Add the cranberries and cook until they pop. Stir in jello until dissolved. Add apples and oranges. Chill until firm. (Sorry, when I originally posted this I forgot the cranberries. I just added it today 11/28. If you want, you can cut the cranberries half and cook them before adding the jello.)

You can add nuts to this.

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