Miss Manners has placed a damper on a Thanksgiving Holiday Tradition in our family. In today’s paper she states that Jellied Cranberry Sauce must be sliced and lain down horizontally before being placed on the table.
For years, at least 60 that I know of, nearly every Thanksgiving table has been graced by an upright cylindrical quivering blob of Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce. Pushed with gentle care out of a can with both ends cut off and after heating with hot water to allow the preparer to remove it from its can while preserving its scientifically wonderous geometrically pure essence. The impressions of the steel can’s ribs subtly marking its sides with monochromatic holiday emphasis.
Miss Manners in her article then compares eating jellied cranberry from the can to eating turkey cooked with its feathers on. How ridiculous! Nobody would do that because the feathers would tickle the throat with each swallow. While the smooth deliciousness of the cranberry sauce soothes and cools the throat with each bite.
She obviously never watched as my father and/or father-in-law at every Thanksgiving with great deliberation scooped out a corner of the joyous monolith sitting upright like some ancient red stela in a dish in the center of the table. Both men having grown up with few sweet things in their youth, savoring its sweet but tart taste(they both liked mincemeat pie as well). Alas both men are now gone from our Thanksgiving table this year. It will be the first time without one of them being present.
I was intending to hold a lottery to see which of the children / grand-children would honor the grandparents by carrying on the tradition of the cranberry sauce scooping. I was thinking of marking a straw or piece of spaghetti with Cranberry juice and then having all draw straws to see who would get the honor (or if necessary be coerced) to eat some of the ceremonial cranberrial sacrifice with the first bite of turkey.
Strangely, like many traditions the vertical “un-sliced” tower of cranberry sauce has been one of the comfortable constants in our lives that all of my children have come to expect and often discuss at length each Thanksgiving. I guess to us, it doesn’t matter how Ms. Manners slices her traditions, ours is still going to appear standing upright in all of its unaltered simplicity and beauty on our Thanksgiving Table