November is a personal favorite time of the year because of the Thanksgiving holiday. I have very fond memories of getting together with family at my Grandma Gene’s house. Her first name was actually Rogene, but she didn’t care for the name at all. We lived just a few blocks from her house in Illinois , so thankfully, the trip was quick. I can still recall how Grandma opened the door to let us in from the cold; we would be bathed in the warm, delicious air from her kitchen. Nothing ever smelled as good as Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving! I remember how Grandma would greet us with kisses and hugs. I can recall wanting to eat right away…and wanting to eat a lot, but then having to wait until the appointed time. It felt like dinner time was never going to arrive; much the way it feels when waiting for springtime to arrive here in Wisconsin.
There was always a lot of great food, a lot of talking and laughter. I remember how my mom would help Grandma with preparations and how they would chase us out of the kitchen; we were like vultures picking an nibbling on anything left out unguarded. And though football would be on TV, I wasn’t very interested in watching football back then. I was more interested in playing the pinball machine in the basement; It was a “Roto Pool” machine just like the one shown. We all had some good times around that machine on holidays; I so wish I had that machine in my basement.
When it was finally time for dinner, I recall there were too many people to fit around the kitchen table, so my brother and I (being the smallest) got to site at the ‘kid’s table’ which wasn’t really a table at all. There was a small alcove built into the kitchen wall; it had a small counter top on which sat small black and white TV, a telephone, some stationary and a calendar; it’s where the bills and other mail was collected. That stuff was cleared off so my brother and I could sit (more like squish) together at the counter…facing the wall…and it’s where I had the best meal of the year!
Personally, my Thanksgiving meal has to have the following: brown and serve rolls, ham/ham gravy, dressing, pumpkin pie (lot’s of Cool-Whip) and my Grandma Gene’s Cranberry Salad. This recipe went to my mom and then to me; I have been making this for Christmas and Thanksgiving for years. You probably haven’t heard of Cranberry Salad, and it’s not for everyone (it’s a unique mix of sweet and tart), but I’m going to share the recipe today in honor of Grandma Gene and all the memories this holiday has for me, and no doubt has for you, too.
- 2 bags of fresh cranberries, washed and removing the soft berries
- 2 one pint cartons of whipping cream
- 1 cup of granulated cane sugar
- 1 and a half 20 oz. cans of crushed pineapple – drained
- 2 one lb. bags white miniature marshmallows
- Chill a mixing bowl and beater in freezer for 30 minutes
- Chop cranberries in a food processor to suit your taste (I like my pieces bigger, but it’s up to you)
- Whip the whipping cream in chilled bowl with chilled beaters until the whipping cream thickens
- Mix in berries, marshmallows, pineapple and sugar; stir completely
- Cover the bowl and chill in refrigerator overnight
- Serve and enjoy
I’ve heard some people who have alternatively added small apple chunks, pecans, or walnuts, but personally haven’t tried those variations. Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it in our comments field below. We’d love to hear from you!