November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Traditions

I have spent Thanksgiving in London, in Paris, and on Martha’s Vineyard, as well as at home with my family in Baltimore. I always remember certain traditions that are carried from year to year and place to place.

One of my favourite traditions is cranberry relish for the turkey. My mother always made a wonderful cranberry and orange relish and it was always stored in a funny square glass jar with lattice-work on the sides. Cranberry-Orange-Relish-360 The recipe is so simple, even I can make it, and best of all, no cooking.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish

1 (12-ounce) package cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 unpeeled orange, cut into eighths and seeded
3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar

Place half the cranberries and half the orange slices in food processor container. Process until mixture is evenly chopped. (You can also do this in a food mill.) Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange slices. Stir in sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Makes about 3 cups.

Note: Prepare ahead of time to let the flavours mix. You can also add chopped apples or a slug of Gran Marnier.

What are the traditions that you and your family carry on from year to year?


  1. Hi Meg,
    Happy Thanksgiving to you! I wish I could join your shopping trip. My mother always made the same cranberry relish.

  2. This looks divine...I want to dip a spoon in right now and scoop some out!

  3. I used to make this exact same relish. I used a blender. My mom used a meat grinder. Now I make the pomegranate relish from the Pom Wonderful web site. It is the most divine thing you have ever put in your mouth. Pomegranate, pistachios, diced onion, dried apricots, dried cranberries or cherries, pom juice, etc, etc. You can alter it with hazelnuts or almonds. Try it. Ann

  4. My mother made this weird salad called Mrs. Klingber's salad with jello, whip cream, grated cheese,nuts, pineapple and a hint of horseradish. My sister and I have made it for guests but the only people who seem to like it are my sister and I! We could eat the whole bowl and often do. but I love it because it is something that binds us together now that our mother is gone.

  5. we always have sauerkraut, goes back to my Alsatian roots, it balances very well with all the many other side dishes.

    Recipe: drain a package of sauerkraut,combine the sauerkraut, a chopped apple, a chopped onion,a small piece of bacon or ham, a tbls caraway seeds, a tbls, sugar, a bottle of beer, cover and simmer for at least an hour....

  6. Since our parents have passed on we really don't bother too much with Thanksgiving ... but ... it used to be a full on turkey dinner with all the trimmings including the cranberry sauce. The most important thing, of course, was just being together. These days we give thanks for having had the wonderful families that we did have and for still having each other. This year I made a pork pie with my husbands favourite cabbage salad on the side. Since we are Canadian our Thanksgiving is long past, but this year, we are going to celebrate your Thanksgiving as well (we both have American roots). Actually, I think we both are just in the mood for turnkey. Our best wishes to you and yours this holiday season. Gobble Gobble!!

  7. It's one of my favorites, too, Meg! At our table, this cran relish began with my generation -- my "crunchy-granola" sister introduced it and I often make her recipe at other times of year, too. It includes the whole orange and berries, the optional Grand Marnier and also PECANS. Yum. (But I've learned to process the nuts separately, so as not to get 'peanut butter.')
    Another sister makes white bean dip and Irish soda bread and everyone counts on me for the gooey, pie-filling-like sweet potato casserole with crumble topping.
    The fourth sister is stuck with hosting us all, so she brings her sides from the supermarket, understandably. But her husband's three-day brined turkey is to die for.
    Can you tell I'm hungry???
    Happy Thanksgiving! Hope your mom has regained her vim and you can enjoy the holiday together.

  8. A dish that came from my late fil who was of Irish descent and from Brooklyn NY - sauerkraut. Oddly enough it's a Baltimore tradition too which suprised them as they lived in DC and Prince George's county.

    My maternal Nana made a barley dressing but I have no recipe for that and it died out with her. I only know she used to use my Aunt's hand cranked coffee grinder to crack the barley first. ????

  9. This was my mother's recipe, and it was put through a meat grinder. We always had the canned berry/and or jelly for the "purists." We always had a section on the table in cut glass dishes of celery, pickles, olives and my Southern uncle's chow chow (slightly hot and delicious on greens.) Thanksgiving and Christmas are full of ghosts now. I try to find happiness in the season, despite the losses.

  10. I love cranberry relish - our family recipe is similar to yours except we use orange marmalade and walnuts with the cranberrries and sugar... i can eat spoonfuls. happy thanksgiving.

  11. Meg, I’m cooking my dinner tomorrow for my children and then going to friends on T-Day. I made your recipe tonight and I think it’s going to be a big hit. I normally don’t care for cranberries but this is delicious. Thanks so much for posting it! Happy Thanksgiving.


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