While we’re on the subject–sort of–of cranberries, Mel has this to contribute:
The other day I overheard Laurie and Hazel discussing cranberries and cranberry sauce. I heard only one side of the telephone conversation, but it seemed to me that Laurie was surprised that Hazel wanted to purchase cranberry sauce when the real super-making stuff was so easy to make at home. (As it turns out, this was a misunderstanding arising from a bluetooth that had fallen in a rain puddle once too often.)
Being no expert on the making of cranberry sauce, I have no opinion on its difficulty, but I do have vast experience eating the stuff. And thinking about it dredges up many happy memories.
I must have been very young when my mother made her own cranberry sauce. It looked and tasted too weird for me to eat at the age of five or six, as I was then, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t interested. Mom would bring home a few plastic bags full of cranberries and begin to do whatever one does to make sauce. The good part was that she let my brothers and me pick out the unacceptable mushy berries to stick together using toothpicks. We constructed animals and people and Martians and space ships.
But the really good part was that Mom would part with a very few firm cranberries so that each sculpture would have a good cranberry for the head. To this day I am not sure why that was important, but it was. Maybe it has something to do with the observation that many public figures would be a little better off if only they had a firmer head. I’d be better off myself.
Apparently Mom eventually gave up making her own cranberry sauce because I also remember the jellied canned variety. I remember opening the can and shaking it upside down over a bowl, trying to get the dark red cylinder to fall out. Frequently I had to punch a hole on the bottom of the can, allowing air to get in behind the cylinder, thus making the whole process simpler. I suppose I could have spooned the sauce into the bowl, but where would be the sport in that?
Once it was lying in the bowl, the shimmering log could easily be cut into slices. I loved the consistency of it, and I even got to like the flavor.
These days Laurie sneers at commercial cranberry sauce, so I haven’t had the need lately to open a can. Laurie’s sauce may taste better, but I still miss the whole jellied cranberry sauce experience. Some day I will tell you why I miss iceberg lettuce.