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BETTER THAN CRANBERRY SAUCE THE PERFECT THANKSGIVING RECIPE
I’ve always loved to cook. It’s a form of therapy for me. My folks enjoyed it too, although I draw the line at some things my dad used to make (calves’brains and liver — yuck!). There’s something relaxing about prepping all the ingredients and creating a meal. Years ago, I took several cooking classes at Lazarus, the old department store. The classes were run by a lady who did a cooking column in The Dispatch. Either she or local chefs would teach and we made everything from barbecue to Cajun dishes to Christmas cookies. One of the best things I ever learned how to make there was cranberry chutney for holidays. One year, shortly before Thanksgiving, they put on a class dedicated entirely to cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner, but just learning that one recipe made attending all of those classes worthwhile. If your stomach is turning, I have to assume you’ve had only that canned cranberry jelly nonsense at Thanksgiving. Forget about that monstrosity. This cranberry chutney is made from fresh cranberries, simmered on the stove with sugar, orange zest, and some other ingredients, turning it into a perfect sauce. It’s fantastic! Even people who don’t care for cranberries really like it. I make my cranberry chutney every Thanksgiving and Christmas. No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without it. Though I still love to cook, these days I find I do a lot less cooking around Thanksgiving. My kids have gotten to the age where they’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I suspect my daughter Whitney will be having Thanksgiving at her house this year. It’s nice to be at that stage where the kids are hosting holidays. Generally, it’s a lot less stress for the rest of us! I’ll bring the chutney, Amy will make her amazing garden salad, and we get to come over and be the grandparents. The kids do most of the heavy lifting. Someone will bake or deep-fry a turkey, there will be sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes, and my son, Pete, and his bride, Carlie, will likely bring a roasted Brussels sprout dish. My daughter-in-law, Holly, makes an
obscenely good Oreo chocolate pie. Sadly, this year, Garret and Holly may not be able to make it out from Virginia, but we’ll see. If they do, I’ll be happy even if they only bring themselves! The food on Thanksgiving is great, but the best part by far is getting to spend the day with my family. It’s great to see traditions being passed on around the holidays. With the kids all grown and in their own busy lives, such moments are rare these days. It’s wonderful to sit around and share a big meal with everyone I love. As the kids take over, I’m proud to see how they’ve made their way and have done their own stuff. There’s something satisfying about walking into my daughter’s home to be greeted with the smell of turkey and the sound of the grandkids rushing to meet us. It’s a mark of success as a parent.
I want to wish a happy Thanksgiving to you all. May you have great food, make great memories, and enjoy a great deal of time with your loved ones this year.
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