Just the words cranberry relish evoke an emotional response out of me, this was a ritual that me and my mom had first thing every thanksgiving day morning.
Starting at the age of 6 yrs, I would get up with the rooster crowing and go into the kitchen where mom already was, cooking and baking getting ready for the feast of the day.
She would sit me down at the old wooden table, where I would already find the metal grinder attached. There was always a bowl of oranges and cranberries sitting there waiting for me to start grinding them
When I was very young mom would have the oranges cut into wedges for me in the bowl, as I got older I was trusted to cut my own, this was a big deal for me, I took immense pride in my part of the Thanksgiving day production.
This was a very messy job; the juices ran right down the grinder handle and dripped into a bowl. My best dog “tasha” was always by my side, and she would luv to stick her head under the stream of oranges juices which made her sticky for the entire day.
I alternated between oranges and cranberries, grinding them into the glass dish, as one dish became over-flowing another empty one was put in its place. We always made 3 glass pie plates full, mom was a big believer in left overs and making sure each family had some to take home.
The year that there was an empty seat at our Thanksgiving day table, I arrived very early at the homestead, entered the kitchen which hadn’t changed in 50yrs, I put on the biggest shoes I ever wore, grabbed the tattered apron, rolled my sleeves up and began preparing the cooking tradition.
I found time to sit down at the old wooden table attach the grinder cut the oranges and fill the bowl with cranberries, to make the cranberry relish, perhaps a tear or two fell into the juice bowl that year as I pushed and pulled the cold metal handle back and forth.
Tasha was no longer with me, in her place was Dori, now my best dog, and she too ended up with a sticky head from trying to taste the orange juice.
I still have that grinder, I spent many years using it, until it began to rust a bit, and turn very easily at all.
Nowadays, I make the relish using the food processor with the chopping blade.
The best part, the dogs heads are not sticky during the holiday.
Wash the orange, cut into wedges Wash the cranberries Add to the grinder (or food processor) and chop, chop, grind Transfer to the serving dish of your choice, sprinkle on the sugar to taste, mix in. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for a few hours.