Many memories of Thanksgiving are tied to food. The big turkeys, the stuffing, the cranberries.
Yesterday I made a batch of cranberry sauce for Thursday’s feast, and as I do every year as I watch the sauce come to a boil and the berries start to pop as they heat up, my thoughts wander back to another Thanksgiving, either 2000 or 2001.
The computer was on in the library, connected to the internet, and email open. We designed the corner desk to be visible from the family room and kitchen with the intent that I could monitor the kid’s activity on the computer from the other rooms. The added benefit was that I could also monitor for incoming email – genealogy email.
As it was the week of Thanksgiving I was starting the cranberries while the kids were doing homework and just hanging out in the family room. Just as the berries were coming to a boil, I heard the tell-tale signal that I had just received an email. Forgetting to set a timer, and after one last glance at the pot, I hurried into the library to check my email. And that is where I got into trouble.
I had heard from Germany!! I had recently connected with a gentleman in Bonn who was helping me with my Fassbender line. He was retrieving birth, death, baptism, and marriage information for me from Schloß Augustusburg in Brühl. The best part is that he was also helping me with translating the documents, plus providing invaluable insight into the Rhineland in the late 1700s to early 1800s.
I got distracted. I was jolted out of my excitement by the kids yelling that the cranberries were spattering all over the stove. I had not yet burned them, just created a sticky mess on the cooktop.
So each year as I watch the cranberries bubble in the pot, I am taken back to the early days of “online” genealogy when there were real people at the other end of the discovery of a document. I love the ease of Ancestry, but miss the connection with people all over the world.
I make cranberry sauce the way my mother-in-law taught me many years ago. I shared this recipe last year, but it is worth sharing again.
Marie’s Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
- Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour sauce into a bowl. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups
To make strained cranberry sauce:
Follow directions in step 1 as written. After boiling the cranberries for 10 minutes, remove pan from heat and strain. Return sauce back to the pan, adding an additional cup of sugar. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
Pour sauce into a bowl. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.