After sleeping for an entire day and putting myself on a Special K and fruit diet, I think I may have finally recovered from the gastronomic assault of Thanksgiving. If I had gone back to Minnesota, I suspect I could have excercised much greater control, but this Thanksgiving was my first foray into the strange and awkward world of Holidays with Your Significant Other’s Family. But let’s not get into that. There are enough holiday family movies that pretty much cover it.
This was also my first Thanksgiving travel experience, and, I have to say, what really makes traveling insufferable (aside from my proclivity to motion sickness) are other travelers. People who pack three suitcases for a weekend trip. People who stare in confused horror at the self check-in kiosk, even though the touch screen could not get any more basic. And now, the people who hold up the entire security line because they packed 18 different liquids in their carry on and then realize they were supposed to put them in a plastic bag. There are signs all over the airport and TSA people passing out baggies at every entrance, yet the woman in front of me stops the entire line because she has to dismantle her suitcase (on top of the stack of metal detector trays no less) and then can’t figure out if her lipgloss is a liquid or gel. I know where I wanted to put her lipgloss, and it wasn’t in a plastic bag.
While I’m being peevish, there is one more thing that always perplexes and upsets me about Thanksgiving:
In my world, sauce is not shaped like a cylinder, and it is definately not sliceable. Cranberry sauce is actually made of cranberries, not high fructose corn syrup, gelatin, and red #5. Frankly, there is no excuse for fake (and that’s what this is, fake) cranberry sauce. While I cannot account for anyone who actually prefers this bland, Jello-like substance to the real thing, if you are going to go to the effort of roasting a turkey and making at least 12 side dishes involving squash, marshmallows, and those crunchy onions in a can, you can most certainly make homemade cranberry sauce.
Cranberry sauce was one of the first things I ever learned how to cook–you put cranberries into a pot, add enough water to cover the berries, and simmer the berries have popped and become mushy. Add sugar, and, if you’re feeling fancy, some orange zest and you’re done. Of course there are endless variations on this; cranberry sauce is really a very versatile thing (as evidenced in Iron Chef America Flay/DeLaurentiis vs. Batali/Ray Cranberry Battle). Try it–really. Because I just can’t stand this tyranny of jellied cranberry tubes. The sauce keeps forever in the fridge and goes great with all sorts of foods, not just turkey. And, when traveling this holiday season, remember: Real cranberry sauce is definately a liquid or gel, so be sure to put it in a ziploc baggy. (I’m pretty sure that other stuff is actually a solid. And that’s just not okay.)