Below is a photo of our first Thanksgiving in the U.S. spent at my cousin Manolito's house. The lady on the left is a friend of the family. The food was absolutely wonderful - Manolito and his wife, Gladys, were known for their lavish, delicious dinners - but the meal could hardly be called a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, not with so many Cubans expecting their rice and beans. However, I do remember that roasted turkey was among the dishes served; and there was pumpkin pie.
Forty years later I'm still trying to figure out what constitutes an authentic Thanksgiving dinner. I suppose it's a little bit like trying to define what constitutes an authentic American. However, I've come to believe that cranberries must have a place somewhere on the menu. It appears very likely that those early settlers feasted on them, but, more importantly . . . I just love them.
Cranberry sauce made from scratch is simply marvelous, and, thankfully, very easy to make. I add oranges and Grand Marnier to mine, although it's doubtful the pilgrims had those ingredients at their disposal. I feel so sorry for them. And then, there's Cranberry Bread . . . This recipe, which calls for golden raisins added to the batter, balances beautifully the tart with the sweet. It is so good! But there are so many other variations to try out. Do I stop now or do I continue on this happy quest?