I can't abide cooked, overly sweet cranberry sauce - you might as well put a jar of strawberry jam on the table with your turkey. I have no time for the cranberry sauce that plops out of a can, ridges and all. The raw cranberry orange relish? It's the only kind of cranberry sauce that graces my table. Cold, tangy, a nice biting edge, a good texture, it's the one I grew up on. See? Here's the recipe, in my mother's hand:
See her penciled notes? I can only assume - because I can't ask her - that once upon a time, cranberries came in a one pound bag. She had to adjust the recipe when they got downsized to 12 ounce bags, but you'll note that she dialed the sugar way back, catering to her own not-sweet tooth. It's better that way - brighter, bracing, an anti-dote to the heavy, rich gravy-mashed-stuffing-turkey assemblage on the Thanksgiving plate. It's why I like salad with my turkey - a bitter watercress and endive salad, dressed lightly with my favorite moscatel vinegar and some good olive oil, Sam Sifton be damned. (Also, Sam Sifton has never had Julia's purée de pommes de terre à l'ail or he wouldn't be all NO GARLIC IN THE POTATOES. I like a person with opinions, but I think he's got some funny ideas about Thanksgiving.)
Back to my mother and her cranberry recipe. Nowadays, you'd use a food processor, whirling electro-powered blades. But she says "food chopper". And what I remember is that she used an old-fashioned hand-cranked screw-onto-the-countertop meat grinder to make this, back in the day. If I were making the cranberry sauce, I might be tempted to dig out the meat grinder that attaches to the KitchenAid mixer, just to see, except that our mostly white kitchen would probably look like a crime scene afterwards. But I've no need, because my mother-in-law is bringing the cranberries - happily, she has no truck with the cooked stuff either.
Here's to you, and you, and you too. I'm grateful for all of you.