This post is part of our Sinclair & Co. for the Holidays series.
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My maternal grandmother, Imogene Nance – Mama Jean to us – was extremely devoted to her mother and sister. There’s a long back-story there; for brevity’s sake, let’s just say that Mama Jean was destitute growing up, and her mother and her sister were all she had.
After Mama Jean and Aunt Kat grew up and started their own families, they would gather together for holiday dinners. My great-grandmother, Margaret – Other Mama to us – contributed the cranberry salad. It was her signature dish.
My mother inherited Other Mama’s old-fashioned food grinder. Here’s a photo of what it looks like:
As a child, I loved helping make the cranberry salad. I loved smelling the orange as the food grinder released the peel’s fragrance, and I loved hearing the pop and crack of cranberries in the blades.
My grandmother once tried using a blender on the cranberries and orange peel, reporting that they came out too mushy. We’ve never tried a food processor, but I would imagine a coarse setting would work.
Here’s the recipe, handed down in my family since the 1930s.
1 package fresh cranberries (12 ounces)
2 small packages lemon Jello
1¾ cups sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
2 naval oranges, peeled and sectioned (remove all white pith)
Coarsely grind cranberries and orange rind through food processor. Dissolve Jello in 2 cups of hot water. Add sugar and stir until thoroughly dissolved. When thickened, add cranberries and orange rind, nuts and sections of orange. Place in mold and refrigerate to congeal. More orange sections may be added if desired.
Here’s a picture of the salad:
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