Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving, a time of reflection. I was conjuring up some memories of childhood Thanksgivings and most involved my grandparents on my mother’s side. My only living grandparent was my mother’s father, Harold, and he had remarried to the only grandma I ever knew, Jane. We traveled to see them in Port Townsend, Washington, where skies are grey and the sea is speckled with islands. I always thought of it as a mystical place. My grandfather built the house they lived in and we stayed in the finished A frame attic where my mother and father would curse every morning when they bonked their head on the ceiling. We would leave leftover food out for the racoons to scavenge (I know, really?) and split wood for the fireplace. Since baseball was the only thing my grandpa ever watched on television we found other ways to pass the time. Puzzles, walks, conversation, bickering with my brother. It’s a good thing because otherwise my memories probably would involve sitting glossy eyed in front of the television.

My grandma made the most delectable gravy and rolls. I honestly don’t remember the rest of the food from those days. Just slop that roll in the gravy and enjoy! One dish my mom never made until I was grown was her mother’s Cranberry Relish. Why on earth she chose to slide out the canned rubbery version each Thanksgiving before this is a complete loss to me. This relish has become the highlight of my family’s Thanksgiving meal each year. I delight in knowing that my grandmother I never had the privilege to meet is looking down on me smiling that her recipe lives on. Fresh cranberry relish, it goes with everything! (It really does.)

Grandma’s Cranberry Relish

Grandma’s Cranberry Relish

1 pkg fresh cranberries

one whole orange (rind and all), cut into chunks

juice of one lemon

1 – 1 1/2 C sugar, add more or less depending on how sweet you want it.

Put all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until desired consistency. Let marinate at least one day before serving. Will store for one week refrigerated.


8 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Traditions

  1. You remember more and different details than I do Ashley! I didn’t remember that Grandpa built that house and Mom and Dad waking up in the morning banning their heads.:) I do remember, though, making things out of Construx, going fishing with Grandpa & Dad, and I do remember the wood-chopping and racoon stuff too!

  2. I’m so glad you love the cranberry relish. I did make it earlier too, but as a very young child it was too tart for your liking. Also when I make it I use the WHOLE orange, peel and all. I was a little shocked at the things you remember, I’d forgotten about that dastardly ceiling and miserable stairway down into the garage. Bathroom downstairs too, I remember that! AAAH and the TV and baseball, it was soooo hard to get him away from it, I would beg to take him for a drive or some kind of outing. I persevered because I loved him so much and thought it important to overlook his habits because I wanted my children to know their only living grandparent. If you remember when I had the chance I rented the cottage on Discovery Bay where we could be more comfortable and visit daily. On the canned rubbery Ocean Spray kind, I think it was one of those things lots of people used then, like green beans and mushroom soup casserole, YUK! Also, at our house I was a ONE woman show for cooking, there were no other adult females to cook, I did work full time too. by the time I made it through the turkey, dressing side dishes and pie that was perhaps all I had energy for. Dad and Jane would arrive the day before Thanksgiving and she always brought her rolls which were devine, but that was all, I was on deck for the balance. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • I was thinking to put the whole orange in but then second guessed myself! Thanks! Of course I remember Discovery Bay. Some of my most fond summer memories were of there. I didn’t do YOUR Thanksgivings justice on this post because I was talking about Cranberry Relish but you know I always loved your cooking and can’t even imagine doing the one man show every year. You are amazing, Mom.

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