"There was a time when the phrase This was the best I ever tasted! came to people as naturally as sneezing. The grace of American cooking lies in doing well by whatever grows in our back yards or presents itself in an honest and aboveboard manner. Our tongues must feel again the fresh, the delightful, the "best I ever tasted" and then there will come to us a salutary impatience with the graceless routine of eating out of packages and cans."
This excerpt is from a cookbook my grandmother had that I was looking through this weekend. It was written in 1946 and those words are still so relevant.
The beautifully written introduction is a plea. A plea to cook with real foods and to "know the satisfaction of nourishing with (our) own strength and skill those whom (we) love."
Very moving. Priceless wisdom.
From that inspiration, I decided to look up a lot of historical recipes. What did people used to eat during the holidays? What were some of the "best I ever tasted" dishes?
Interestingly enough, one historical recipe (who knew?) has been a mainstay for our table on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. And, this cranberry dish is the best I ever tasted! Sweet, but not too sweet, and sassy enough to hold its own. I serve it warm with dinner as a side/relish, then later cold as leftovers or sometimes, even hot or cold as a tangy dessert or breakfast dish. Give it a try while fresh cranberries are here and fresh apples and pecans are in the farmers' markets. Just be sure to choose tart apples that bake well and not sweet ones.
Apple and Cranberry Crunch
3 cups chopped, unpeeled tart apples (I use 3-4 McIntosh apples)
2 cups fresh cranberries, washed (I use the whole bag)
3/4 cup regular sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
11/2 cups rolled oats
1 stick unsalted, organic butter, melted
Mix apples, cranberries and sugar together and place in an ungreased baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients and crumble on top of fruit. Press lightly. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for about 45 minutes. Serves 8.
What are some of your "best you ever tasted" dishes?
Thanksgiving favorites: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Pumpkin and Shiitake Risotto, Apple and Cranberry Crunch, Kale Salad dressed with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette. Thankful!!