Funny story. Back in my Boston days, the Roomz initiated me into all her food obsessions (And I her. I’m sure she’ll never forget the time I tried so hard to make chestnuts a thing.) There were her pumpkin cookies. There were her molasses cookies. Her zucchini bread. Her dad’s coleslaw. Beef and barley stew. All unquestionable winners.
Then, there was her cranberry sauce. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious. The strange part was that she expected us to eat it as a side dish. I remember what it was like as it slowly dawned on the Roomz II and I that she was going to eat the sauce alone. Like, as a soup. In a bowl. With a spoon. We just sort of narrowed our eyes and then decided to let it go.
It got really funny when the Roomz had her boyfriend over. With her usual hospitality, she ushered him into the kitchen and sat him down while she whipped out her cranberry sauce and began heating it in a saucepot. I watch as her boyfriend looked around nervously…where was the chicken? What was the cranberry sauce for? In perfect form, he didn’t say a word. When Roomz put the bowl of cranberry sauce in front of him with a spoon, her eyes gleaming expectantly (she couldn’t wait to share the joy she finds in cranberry sauce with him), the man took a gulp. Then another gulp.
“Yeah!” he’s nodding, “It’s good! It’s really good.” He’s nodding fervently.
“It’s not your favorite though?” Roomz is asking, almost dismayed.
At this point, my wise ass self couldn’t resist. I burst into laughter and said, “This is is so sweet! He’s probably not used to eating cranberry sauce as its own dish! It’s more of a…condiment. To most people, I think.”
I’m not sure anyone ever found the whole situation as funny as I did, watching them both trying so hard to please each other and not seeing the misunderstanding. The funniest part is that the Roomz still eats cranberry sauce on its own, and I admire her fortitude.
This recipe isn’t the Roomz’s, but it’s easy to throw together right before a holiday gathering or several days in advance. It freezes well, and can be served warm or chilled. And you’re free to eat it as a condiment OR a side dish. Take your pick.
Holiday Cranberry Sauce
Makes a bit more than a pint of cranberry sauce
12 oz. cranberries
¼ cup orange juice
¾ cups water
½ cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, dissolving sugar. Reduce to simmer and cook 10-15 minutes, until all cranberries have burst and a thick sauce has formed. Serve immediately or store for future use.
Optional: Cook slightly longer (15-20 minutes total), strain sauce, and pour into molds. Refrigerate to make fancy impressive individual cranberry sauce shapes.