The Ghost of Thanksgiving Past

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Thanksgiving is still a week and a half away, and for most people I know it's just now popping up on the radar screen. And truth be told, that Norman Rockwell painting of grandma smiling with the perfectly bronzed turkey while the whole family sits around the dining room table beaming with admiration is a fantasy.

Today’s family is very different than in our grandmothers' day. We are the digitally and technically savvy generation. You need a recipe for turkey stuffing? We used to call up grandma and connect with her about recipes and holiday traditions, ask about her life and tell her about ours;  now we call up apps on our phones to get the latest and greatest stuffing and talk to no one.

We used to start preparations for Thanksgiving a couple weeks ahead of time, designing a menu, shopping for staples and making cranberry sauce.

Now we don’t have to do any of this as our local grocery store will prepare and cook an entire meal for you -- and even deliver it for a price! So personal.

We used to sit around the table with uncle Joe and aunt Jane and crack open hot chestnuts and laugh and tell stories.

Now we sit around the television and watch the endless football games and eat from TV trays and paper plates.

On a day when we should all be together in the comfort of our own homes and grateful for all that the Divine has given us, we crowd into restaurants and all eat the same placid turkey dinner “with all the trimmings” with a bunch of strangers. So personal.

My wish to you is for a truly memorable Thanksgiving shared with your family and friends and one that has come from your own hands.

This cranberry cornbread recipe has been in my family for generations, and I am happy to share it with you.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Cornbread

Serves 8

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fine grind cornmeal
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh cranberries or ½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375F

Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square pan with foil and butter the foil. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter with the sugar until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended.

In a small bowl combine the buttermilk and baking soda. Set aside.

Place the cornmeal in a food processor and pulse to grind it until it is fine. Add the flour and salt and pulse a few times.

Add half the flour mixture to the bowl with the butter mixture and beat in. Add half the buttermilk and blend in. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat in. Add the remaining buttermilk and blend in. Stir in the cranberries.

Pour into pan and bake 35-40 minutes until set and cake tester comes out clean. Cool. Serve warm cut into squares.

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