One of the many things that are out of character for this wise guy, considering what a tomboy I’ve always been, is the fact that I love lace tablecloths. There’s just something about all that intricately woven thread, looking like delicate, filigreed flowers that I love. I am blessed to have a couple of pretty lace tablecloths that I pull out on holidays. Only they are so old, so stained, and even so torn in several places that my heart sank the last time I pulled them out.
Apparently, the thought had been percolating in my brain, because long after they were washed and put away, it came to me that while my lace tablecloths are far from picture-perfect, I adore them as they are with bright red stains from the sweet-tart cranberry sauce I make that my family loves and with the grease stains from the rich gravy they enjoyed as an accompaniment to meat and mashed potatoes or from buttery petite peas that flew off someone’s fork. There are even a couple of chocolate stains on them from some long-forgotten treat I made.
So, while they’ll never grace the cover of a magazine, and while they may need to be replaced sooner rather than later, the role that these graceful linens have played in the bounty and pleasure of my family makes them beautiful to me!
My Favorite Cranberry Sauce with Strawberries:
I’ve been making this recipe for so long I don’t really remember why I came up with it. I’m betting it must’ve been because somebody didn’t absolutely love 100 percent cranberry sauce, and so, as a way to change it up a little while maintaining the integrity of the sauce, I added some strawberries. But in all honesty, that’s just conjecture. What I will say is that I’ve had rave reviews over this sauce. People eat it by the bowl full, pouring it over vanilla ice cream or using it as a topping for cheesecake!
Yields approximately 4 cups
1⁄2 pound frozen (unsweetened) strawberries, slightly thawed
1 cup water
1-1⁄4 cups sugar
1-12-ounce bag frozen cranberries
-Take the frozen strawberries out of the freezer. Believe it or not, this really is the first step you should take in this recipe because, if you do it this way, the strawberries will be of the perfect semi-soft consistency to work with by the time you’re ready for them.
-Combine water and sugar in a medium pot, give it a stir, and then bring it to a boil over high heat.
-Add the frozen cranberries, stir again, and return to boiling.
-Reduce the heat and boil gently (just above a simmer) for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll hear the pop, pop, pop of the cranberries as they pop open.
-Meanwhile, take your slightly thawed but still frozen strawberries and chop them into small chunks with a chef’s knife.