Cranberry Sauce, A Recipe For Disaster.

Deliciously shaped.

Deliciously shaped. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I can’t wait for you to come over, I make the best cranberry sauce. It is my Grandmother’s recipe.”

In my early twenties, my girlfriend was someone I knew from high school. We ended up at the same university and things went from there. I remember her every year around this time because of cranberry sauce.

My family spent most Thanksgiving Days visiting out-of-town relatives. These relatives and my mom did not make cranberry sauce. They got it the way nature intended – from a can. Because of this, I believed and still believe that the best cranberry sauce is cylindrical, with marks from a can imprinted in it.

Come On, She Can’t Get That Stuff Into A Can

As a result of that opinion, when my girlfriend invited me over to Thanksgiving dinner I had two thoughts. My first was that I was certain her name was not Ocean Spray so she couldn’t really be making cranberry sauce.


Haven’t Touched It Since Thankgiving, 1978 (Image by Esteban Cavrico via Flickr)

The other thought was of disaster. The last time I had tried a new food at a girlfriend’s Thanksgiving dinner was a bad scene. Gagging on asparagus on that occasion hadn’t really played well with that girlfriend.

I think her mom appreciated that I tried. Unfortunately, I wasn’t dating the mom. Her daughter was much more upset about the asparagus thing.

Fearing a repeat of that debacle, I tried to find out what I was up against with this idea of home-made cranberry sauce.

Mom Does Not Have The Answer, But I Am Thankful For Her Lasagna

When in doubt, the answer was to consult my Mom. I asked her to make home-made cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.  She asked why she would do that before announcing, “we’re having lasagna.” My last chance, destroyed by the cheesy goodness of lasagna. Damn. The garlic bread was pretty good too.

So, loaded with lasagna, I drove to my girlfriends house. Her grandfather was there. The cranberry sauce was there too. Neither it nor her grandfather were cylindrical, but her grandfather did have some lines in his face. I don’t think they were from a can.

The neon sign of Denny's in San Clemente, Cali...

I Ate Thanksgiving Dinner At Denny’s. It Was Like Being In A Blues Song (Image via Wikipedia)

In the long run, the cranberry sauce wasn’t bad. But because it was Thanksgiving, it had to end disastrously. From the asparagus incident, through the night of the cranberry sauce, to that one Thanksgiving in Denny’s, to so many more, I’ve found that Thanksgiving out equals disaster for me.

And In The End, I Talk Myself Into Trouble

Despite getting through the anticipated possible disaster of Ms. Ocean Spray’s lovingly created, and actually quite good cranberry sauce, the night did end as predicted, horribly. I tried to do my homework on the new menu item, but should have put the effort in on learning about her Grandma.

Grandma had passed a few years earlier, which accounted for her absence. All the same, in making a  joke that really didn’t have anything to do with Grandma, I managed to besmirch her memory.

All right, in the end, I guess the joke was related. That is kind of what they were upset with me about, but I had no way of knowing that until the silence started.

Pass the asparagus.

Happy Thanksgiving.


37 Comments on “Cranberry Sauce, A Recipe For Disaster.”

  1. Really…you haven’t had asparagus in 32 years? It’s an amazing vegetable, oma…it just needs to be cooked right (gently and for a short time)! Please give it another chance…it’s delicious with cheese sauce!

    Hope this Thanksgiving is “disaster free”!


  2. mairzeebp says:

    At least you went and you tried right? And how were you supposed to know about Grandma. I’ve put my foot in my mouth more times on a holiday than I care to detail. We’re all human. I do the best I can. Maybe I should just have some lasagna and garlic bread and call it a day :). Happy Thanksgiving!

    PS. I love the word besmirch

  3. KathiD says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again, and again; that’s what we old people do): Thanksgiving. The day when extended families get together with long-held grudges, simmering resentments, liberal amounts of alcohol, and firearms. A party!

    Happy Thanksgiving, Len! I am thankful for you!

  4. Todd Pack says:

    You know, I’d think spending Thanksgiving at Denny’s would be a good thing, because 1) it’s all uphill from there and 2) you’ve got a good story to tell for many Thanksgivings to come. My wife still gets a lot of mileage out the time when she had just graduated from college and started her first job in newspapers in a new city, and had to work Christmas Eve, and didn’t know anyone besides other newspaper people, so she spent Christmas Eve with a few co-workers at a pool hall, because it was the only place open.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Oma.

  5. Julie says:

    Ah, finally someone who would have laughed the year I went all out to confuse my nephews by being all homey and crafty and made a garland of hand strung cranberries. I used unopened cans and totally sealed my fate as being the crazy aunt.
    My work was done!

  6. Greg says:

    Another thing about home-made cranberry sauce is that you’re missing out on that wonderfully deplorable sound the natural, canned variety makes coming out of the can.

  7. linlah says:

    I didn’t have cranberry sauce from a can until I was in my 20, so I can relate to this a backwards sort of way, only the dinner never ends in disaster. I know, charmed life.

    • omawarisan says:

      I’ll head out your way next Thanksgiving and we’ll match your charmed life vs my potential for disaster.

      I burned my hand on a pan of potatos at my parents house this year. The motion of getting my hand away made the potatos sort of fly out of the kitchen and into the living room. How? I’m not sure. Why? I don’t know, no one manages panic like me…except when there are potatos to be thrown.

  8. planetross says:

    Cranberry sauce is a delicate subject with some people. I think I mostly eat cranberry sauce from a can … when available.
    … and when I’m not, I’ll eat it anyway. hee hee!

    note: it’s good for your body and liver/kidneys/gall/ … whereever those stones come from!
    I may have said it before, but I can’t reiteratatatatated enough: cranberry is the answer!!! hee hee!

  9. spencercourt says:

    Cranberry sauce – si! Asparagross – no, no, no!

    As for Thanksgiving, we always leave town and have a meal in a restaurant. Usually, it’s Vegas but this year we stayed closer to home and went to Panama City, where we dined at a local Chinese buffet with a special Thanksgiving spread for a ridiculous $11.

    Round 1 was oysters on the half shell, crab legs and chilled shrimp. Round 2 was more oysters, shrimp sauteed in chili sauce, and Peking duck. Round 3 was frog legs, more Peking duck and more shrimp in chili sauce.

    After that, and 3 hours of the World Poker Tour on TV, I blacked out….but awoke early Friday to continue to Destin’s Silver Sands Outlet Mall where I contributed to the health of the economy by using most of a $175 rebate card I received from the federal stimulus for buying an energy efficient dishwasher (which was already marked down $125 for a “federal stimulus rebate sale”).

  10. omawarisan says:

    Wow, I’m thinking the buffet owners were watching you and thinking they might have miscalculated. Well done!

    Asparagross! I love that! The word, not the food.

  11. Katybeth says:

    Oh…Lasagna with garlic bread sounds so darn good after a weekend of turkey. I want some, right now.
    We made our cranberry sauce but the kind in the can is just so much better…on the other hand my 14 year old wanted to find out if our cranberries were fresh enough to bounce 4 inches–so we produced a bouncing (or not) cranberry video–harder to do with Ocean Spray….

  12. It’s so funny that you mentioned asparagus. I just tried it for the first time ever last night. Not tasty.

  13. Kate says:

    Asparagus makes me gag, too. The only way I can eat it is roasted with balsamic vinegar and tarragon — a recipe lovingly given to me by a blogger friend who wants me to eat my veggies.

    Cranberries, on the other hand, are yummy. This Thanksgiving weekend I ate my weight in my MIL’s amazing cranberry bread, and managed to score the family recipe, too. Whoop whoop!

  14. omawarisan says:

    Cranberry bread sounds great! She’s handing over recipes? You are so in.

  15. Huuuuuuh, (*shudders*) cylindrical sauce. I thought that sauces, by defenition, were liquid. And I’ve never heard of them coming out of tins (sorry, cans). Weird.
    Actually, though, I take it back on the liquid thing: my cheese sauce always turns into a milk-cheese-flour suspension. Not great on lasagne.
    But seriously, that cranberry sauce is NOT cranberry sauce. It’s cranberry jam. What do you do, spread it on your sprouts?
    Although, does one eat sprouts during thanksgiving dinner, or is asparagus– lovely, fresh, grassy, delicious asparagus– token Veggie Of Shame?
    And I’ve also heard that you eat marshmallows with your Thanksgiving dinner. What’s up with that?
    You and your crazy American festivals…

    • omawarisan says:

      Hi Eric.

      In truth, I’ve never understood how something that could stand without support could be called sauce, although the home made stuff is a bit less substantial.

      Thanksgiving dinner is usually vegetable laden. Asparagus and sprouts are options I have seen, but other than the one incident mentioned, I have not partaken in either of them. Marshmallows are included in some people’s sweet potato preparation…I’m not against it, but I’m happy with sweet potatos without the marshmallows.

      We like a good festival now and again…and again.

      • 5 points for initiative… but my name’s not Eric. It’s Josie, actually. Hi. I just throw that curveball out there and see what comes back. Often I get called Eric, which, I suppose, should be no surprise.

        I’m glad that the homemade cranberry sauce is liquid, and not a… supersolid (sic?) or some other obscure state of matter, known and understood only by martians and physicists. Or Martian physicists.

        I’m still struggling to get over the idea of marshmallows in a main meal. Marshmallows. What if one got gravy (or something) on it? The taste I can only imagine. I imagine it would be gag-inducing.

        And good for you, liking festivals. We only get the occasional Bank Holiday, a misnomer for sure, as the banks aren’t anything to celebrate.

  16. Pammy Girl says:

    I went to a roommate’s home in college and her mom made homemade stuffing. I choked it down because even though I was raised on Stove Top and taught it was manna from the heavens, I am a polite person. I coughed most of her mom’s stuffing into my napkin.

  17. […] For those who need a refresher, or those new to the party, the first post in this sad tale is available here. […]

  18. robincoyle says:

    We do both . . . homemade and canned. Guess which one gets thrown out a week after Thanksgiving.

  19. […] I mentioned in a previous post, Thanksgiving dinner was to be my introduction to the girlfriend’s version of home-made […]

  20. […] Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Cranberry Sauce, A Recipe For Disaster. […]

  21. Debbie says:

    Oh, dear, I’m right there with you on the canned cranberry sauce! Some of my relatives linger long and hard over the stove, whipping up homemade cranberry sauce. I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but the canned variety is just as good. No, it’s better! And lasagna sounds like a worthy replacement. (Sooo much better than asparagus!)

  22. Did I miss the joke? What was the grandma joke? Everyone loves a good grandma joke.

So, what's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s