Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Spirit Blogfest Recipe and True Story

Hello everyone.
It's time for Romantic Friday Writers Holiday Blogfest. We are to write a story either true or fictional and share a recipe. My recipe has a story, so I am combining the two. To read other stories go here.

Before I start however, I want to give my condolences to all those affected by the school shooting in Connecticut. I will say that this really was hard for me. I didn't know anyone there, but when I learned the news I had just dropped off my 5 year old grandson at school. I started to cry. There truly are no words to express what any of us must feel about this event.

As writers we spend time inventing a villain to mess with our hero. Many use real people in history and others are inspired by fictional works and what other writers have created. I combine the process. But in real life we shake our heads and wonder how anyone can do such terrible things. I haven't watched the news on this, so I don't know what any of the reports are saying, but from my chair I must say I believe there is real evil in the world that influences the weak minded.

Now dry your eyes as I am doing and read my little story.

When I was a child my mother feed the family on my father's side. They came with no gift and no help, but you would never know that my mother held any resentment. She was too busy being a good mom and cooking all day in the kitchen. This began at 4 a.m. on Thanksgiving day and she repeated the exact same meal at Christmas. I loved this day. I was the cranberry chef.  My mother would set up the grinder on a low table since I was very young and leave me to do the work. I loved it. This entailed grinding two freshly washed bags of cranberries along with three apples and three oranges into a huge bowl. To that I added two cups of sugar,  probably a couple tablespoons of cinnamon and stirred. Once all the ingredients were assembled my mother covered the bowl and put it in the refrigerator.

While we ate my mother told the cranberry story. Her parents lived on the family farm in Minnesota where she was raised. Minnesota wasn't in the Great Dust Bowl, its too far north. However, most of the relatives lived in the city and were struggling. Every weekend they came to the farm to eat including on Thanksgiving. One Thanksgiving my grandmother discovered that she didn't have enough cranberries to make the traditional cranberry sauce so she invented the recipe above. Everyone loved it. I have seen this recipe in magazines and cookbooks, but in our family it was my grandmothers creation.

1 or 2 bags of fresh cranberries
2 or 3 apples
2 or 3 oranges peeled.
Wash all, cut apples and oranges in quarters, no need to peel the apples, grind into a bowl and add 1 to 2 cups of sugar or more depending on your sugar preference and add 1 or more tablespoons of cinnamon.

My husband and children don't like this recipe so I have never made it for them. This saddens me since the story and recipe will die with me. Life goes on. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Denise Covey said...

Hi Nancy! I hope you are well. Yes, those shootings have stunned the world. Those poor families. What a Christmas for them.

I love this nostalgic, exotic story. Exotic because we don't grow cranberries in Oz. We import cranberry juice of course, but I've never seen a fresh cranberry any closer than when I googled cranberry harvest on Nantucket for a story I was writing.

Our cranberry sauce comes in little bottles. When I open one for my turkey and cranberry sandwich I'll toast you!

I hope your Christmas is full of good cheer and you find an occasion to make that cranberry sauce.

Happy Christmas!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nancy .. Connecticut - it is just so so sad ... there really aren't words to describe it or my thoughts - devastating for so many and a shock for the rest of us.

Cranberries are everywhere now - and we have tv programmes of how they're grown and harvested ...

Like Denise we open sauce bottles too - but I quite like the idea of your sauce .. sounds different and interesting.

You may find your grandchildren will enjoy your family recipe .. let's hope so ...

Have a great Christmas ... Hilary

Donna Hole said...

Well, the story and recipe will live forever on the blogs now :)

That was a fantastic story Nancy, and the recipe sounds delicious actually. I'd be one to put too much sugar in :)

I hope you doing well Nancy. Have a good week, and thank you for participating in our blogfest.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No it won't - you just passed it on to us!

Carolyn V said...

I agree with Alex. Now we can pass it on. And I love cranberries. Mmmm.

Have a very Merry Christmas Nancy!!!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Denise
Cranberries are about the size of blueberries but hollow in side. They bounce if you drop them. Very bitter without sugar.

Hi Hilary
Lots of people here eat canned cranberries too, including me.

Hi Donna
Yes, my story will live on. Scary somehow.

Hi Alex
You're right

Hi Carolyn
Thanks so much.

I spent the day in the hospital with my daughter who fractured her wrist. I hope to be able to visit everyone tomorrow.

Anne said...

As Alex said, it won't die with you. You just passed on to us a wonderful tradition your mom has left you. That's one of the better ways to pay tribute to her. And I love cranberries!

Charmaine Clancy said...

Lovely story! I don't know what there is not to like, sounds delicious!

C.M.Brown said...

We do eat Cranberry jam with our turkey at Christmas, but your recipe sounds delicious.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Anne
So I did

Hi Charmaine

Hi C.M.
It's yummy

Thanks everyone for coming by.

Sally said...

A lovely story and what Christmas should be all about - giving rather than receiving. It's a lot of work for the main cook in the house (usually the female(s) in the household) although I do delegate as much as I can.

Scheherazade said...

Enjoyed your holiday story and hearing about the cranberries. I made similar recipe this year,except it was cooked and also had nuts. Best wishes for the holidays.

As for the Sandy Hook tradgedy, let's hope people come to their senses and actually get something done to help prevent these kind of things. I hate to say the U.S. Congress is a ship of fools, but maybe there are a few of them that have the heart to do something constructive.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Sally
Sounds yummy.

Hi S.
You're right about the Congress. They are too interested in re-election and keeping Republicans in office. They are failing the US citizens big time.

Thank you both for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Lexa Cain said...

♥ Merry Christmas! ♥

Kiru Taye said...

Hi Nancy, just stopped by to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Your recipe is not going to die because now I have it and can experiment. Thanks for sharing it and your story.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Nancy,

Thank you for sharing such a lovely childhood memory. How very sweet and special. I can easily visualize that little girl in pigtails grinding up the cranberries, apples, and oranges, a smile playing across her face.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and your tradition will live on through the blogosphere. The grand kiddies will hopefully continue the tradition through your family.

Have a happy and healthy new year!


N. R. Williams said...

Thanks Kiru,
Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Thanks Michael and Happy New Year to you too.


Anna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

Dear Nancy,
Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe. I often throw apples in with potatoes or put tangerines in salads if I don't have enough tomatoes. Cajsa Warg, an 18th-century Swedish cookbook author whose moto was: "Man tager vad man haver", which means using what you happen to have, is of my cooking-muses. Many good recipes come from the culinary experiments you do when you are short of some ingredient.

I happened to be staying in a motel in Charles Town, West Virginia and turned the TV on to learn about this horrible event.

I admire that one teacher who had the presence of mind to lock the doors and windows of her classroom, and kept her pupils occupied with reading until the police arrived. She saved her 19 pupils from being shot and killed.

Best wishes,

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Anna
I'm sorry your trip to America was spoiled by such a terrible tragedy. Looking forward to reading your RFW post this year.