Preparing for Thanksgiving



Up until this year, for every Thanksgiving and Christmas, my family has had the same traditional Thanksgiving feast, including: turkey, turkey gravy, stuffing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry jelly, buttermilk biscuits, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream– essentially, the standard American Thanksgiving feast.  It has always been this way because of the influence of my Grandpa Floyd, the only grandfather I’ve ever met (my grandmother’s twin’s husband), who grew up in the South and midwest.

When my father arrived in the United States from the Philippines in the 1950s by way of the US Navy, he would often spend time with my Grandpa Floyd and Grandma Rosie in Missouri, at the Missouri State prison, where my Grandpa Floyd performed as warden of the prison.  They actually had a home within the prison.  Anyway, they eventually moved into a house and that’s where my mother learned about Southern cooking, through Grandma Rosie who learned from Grandpa Floyd’s mother.  Who knows how long the traditions had been passed down, but I’m glad my family inherited them. I had loved and was proud of our family’s traditions.

This year is a little bittersweet, though– I’m not going to practice that same Thanksgiving tradition.  This year, I’m spending Thanksgiving with my Iranian-American in-laws, and this year we are vegan and don’t eat gluten.  My brother-in-law is picking up an already made turkey (since they eat meat still) at Whole Foods and I’m making the sides.  Since Peyman and I will not be eating turkey, I’m making a “meat”loaf.  I’ll also be making a potato mash, candied sweet potatoes, persimmon muffins, green beans, mushroom gravy, and instead of having cranberry jelly this year, I’m making cranberry sauce.  With this sauce, I think I’m starting a new family tradition.  As with anything sweet, please remember to eat in moderation!

Here’s my recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!


Cranberry Sauce

Time: about 30 minutes


1  1/2 pound fresh cranberries, washed and dried

2 cups coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup filtered water

1/2 + 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 small orange, zested and juiced



1. Wash and dry cranberries.


2. In a medium saucepot, combine the coconut sugar, filtered water and cranberries.  Mix.


3. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Stir to combine and simmer for 7 minutes.  Some cranberries will remain whole and some will burst.

4. Add zest and juice to taste.  Cool and chill to thicken.  As the sauce chills, the natural pectins in the fruit will thicken the sauce.

5. Serve chilled and enjoy!   This can be made a day in advance.


cranberry sauce

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