I have an ongoing debate going with just about everyone I’ve ever known.
Anyone who is anyone knows that the best thing about the holiday season is the inordinate, copious amounts of food folks get to indulge in. A big, fat Jennie-O, pumpkin pie, Stove Top, and the after dinner cordial are pretty well the only thing keeping some families together. While turkey, stuffing, potatoes, spinach, corn, and the rest are all a huge part of any holiday meal, the one thing which I’m in continual disagreement about (with everyone) is what kind of cranberry sauce to enjoy. Some posit that a natural, homemade cranberry sauce is the only good for civilized middle-class. I am in the minority when I proffer that the best type of cranberry sauce for your Thanksgiving turkey dinner is straight up, canned cranberry sauce from the grocery store. The cheaper the better.
This little anomaly on the radar screen of my life filled with Gap, Williams-Sonoma, and Starbucks Coffee probably has something to do with my upbringing on Pepsi and Kool-Aid. However, even my younger brother, raised on the same Budget Gourmet as I, is and has been fully against the canned cranberry sauce option. Lucky for me, when my family wasn’t splintered across time zones and states, I was able to enjoy my own can of cranberry sauce; all for me. I, of course, would open up the can of cranberry sauce and let it fall out onto a small bread plate. My mother, of course, would scowl and take a big soup spoon and mash it up to eliminate the ridges from the sides of the singular gel tube of cranberry sauce.
However, while writing this article, it suddenly occurred to me why everyone-and-my-brother has always been against this type of cranberry sauce. It’s class envy. It’s no secret that most of us are not where they want to be in the world. Even if you have the perfect job and the perfect house and the perfect family, there are always things which could be improved on. And who’s life is perfect, really? So the fact that I latched on to this cheap, industrial, annual side dish probably made my parents feel badly for me; as though I wasn’t ever going to amount to anything more than them at their most impoverished.
I’ve never confirmed this fact; I’m sure my family would just say that they don’t prefer canned cranberry to the real, homemade variety. This is their right. But as a free and able bodied American who is not spending my second Thanksgiving with any of my family, save my wife, I say that canned cranberry is nothing to be ashamed of! Live the life you live, love what you love, and let the naysayers say nay.