Cranberry sauce is the emblem and the badge of Thanksgiving dinner. Without the sauce, it isn’t T-day, it’s just another turkey dinner on a Thursday.
But in the Treasury of Great Recipes, there isn’t a single instance of cranberry sauce instructions. It does appear on the menu for Longfellow’s Wayside Inn but you’ll have to figure it out for yourself.
If you want to get all super authentic, then know that the pilgrims had a choice of berries in November in Massachusetts. Partridge Berries are a wild edible that may be kind of tasteless but would fill up a pie with some color. Purple chokeberries might also have been left on the bush.
New England berries are plentiful in the summer and early fall. The pilgrims ate blackberries, elderberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, and shad berries which I think are called Juneberries elsewhere and look like obese blueberries wearing a Jughead hat. Their friendliness with the Wampanoag landowners meant the pilgrims may have had some instruction in which local fruits were good. They probably dried them and may have put them into pies and breads like the one below.
No cranberry sauce, but cranberry bread
However, this series is about bumping your Thanksgiving Dinner game to next level so here’s a cool recipe from the last section of the Treasury, titled “Specialties of the House,” which were the Price’s faves and a quick list of their go-to dishes.
On page 439 is a recipe for Breakfast Breads, which offers a basic sweet bread followed by a short list of variations, one of which is cranberry bread which you bet your ass I’ll be baking this November.
Really Vincent Price? Really?
Weirdness obtains in this recipe in two ways. First, what the hell is ‘double-acting baking powder’? Why is it hyphenated? Secondly, is there really a difference between streusel bread and cinnamon bread? Thirdly, (did I say two?) the recipe says to divide the dough into four pans then tells you to pour it OVER ingredients for the last two breads which you couldn’t do if you’d followed the directions. Obviously, an editing mistake. Be careful. Follow the recipe I’ve adjusted below and not the one in the book.