I wonder who exactly it is that I need to apply to if I want to borrow a national holiday?
Thanksgiving, I mean. It’s an event that generally passes us by on this side of the Atlantic but, having enjoyed several Thanksgiving dinners in the company of American friends and family, I’ve become quite partial to the event.
Finding no guidance on the matter of who to ask, I thought it best to go straight to the top.
Dear Mr. President,
I would like to borrow, if I may, your Thanksgiving holiday. Given that it has its roots in celebrating harvest bounty and involves eating lots of nice food, it seems like rather a good one to me.
May I remind you that you seem to have Paddy’s Day out on permanent loan, it seems only fair to claw one back.
P.S. Hope you like the cranberry sauce
In anticipation of a positive response from the powers-that-be, I made some of this sauce, adapted slightly from a recipe by Rachel Demuth, which I first came across when I attended a course at her lovely cookery school in Bath. This always gets a whirl at Christmas along with this cheese and nut loaf and is, of course, perfect for Thanksgiving too.
- 350g cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 6 cardamom pods
- 3 cloves
- 3 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick, around 7-8cm long
- 1 large lemon
- 150g caster sugar
- Cut the peel of your lemon away in thin strips.
- Place the cranberries in a saucepan over a medium heat and pour in around 250ml water – the level of the water should be below the tops of the berries. They’ll release a lot of juice when they’re cooked, especially if they’ve been frozen.
- Add the cardamom, cloves, star anise, cinnamon and lemon peel.
- Bring the cranberries to a boil, then simmer slowly until around half of the berries have burst, maybe 10-15 minutes.
- Juice half of your lemon and add the juice and the sugar to the cranberries. Simmer on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and add more lemon juice if you like.
- Allow to cool – the sauce will thicken a bit as it does so – and then refrigerate until needed. It should keep for at least a week in the fridge, only assuming that you haven’t found some meats or cheeses to enjoy it with.
- I generally make this version but it occurs to me that if I substituted orange peel & juice for the lemon and just added cinnamon and cloves, that would make it rather Christmassy indeed.
- Makes around 500ml or a little more than that.