Monday, November 19, 2012

For the Love of Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce

My girlfriend is in the kitchen making "cranberry sauce" and a strong citrus wave of orange has overtaken the living room. I've put cranberry sauce in quotation marks because as we all know there is only one Cranberry Sauce and it is jellied, canned, and magnificent:

Look! It even comes with evenly spaced ribs for accurate slicing. What is not to love?! It's tangy, it's cold, it's often REALLY cold, having been forgotten in the refrigerator until the Thanksgiving plates are full... But when it's remembered or frantically fetched, it is an integral part of Turkey Day.

Those of us who are life-long fans have had some adversity with which to contend.

-- And it was here I was going to tell you how long it's been since we could open both ends of the Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce can and gently push the cranberry sauce through the can until gravity took hold and sspphhluuuck the beautiful burgundy gelatinous mold would be deposited onto a serving dish -- only I can't find anything about it online. In fact, at least one person thinks that's the way it's still done!


About 5 years ago, maybe, a horrific change occurred. For whatever reason, Ocean Spray decided to create a permanent rounded seal on one end of the can, making it impossible for us to open it and gently push the tube onto a plate. Now we have to open one end and ever-so-gently slide a knife along the outside of the jelly in order to break the seal with the can. Then we turn it over and offer a bit of pre-Thanksgiving prayer. And we are thankful when that tart wonderfulness emerges from the can, but she's always got a nick or two, no matter how delicate you've been in your extraction efforts. The shame. She deserves better.

But once she's out, the party on your plate commences!

Once served, I personally like to cut my individual slice into a checkerboard pattern and eat each little piece separately. I believe Cranberry Sauce was the first thing I was allowed to cut with a butter knife. The independence! So exciting.

The leftover Cranberry Sauce is an integral party of my favorite Thanksgiving meal -- leftover turkey sandwiches. Mine are constructed thusly:

Two slices of rye bread. Add Hellman's mayonnaise to each. Cover one slice with a relatively thin layer of turkey pieces. No slices; too thick. Add a layer of refrigerated stuffing (STUFFING. Oh, that's a whole topic for another day). Then add two thin slices of Cranberry Sauce and the other slice of bread. Gently smush the whole thing together, allowing the Cranberry Sauce to create a much needed seal between the bread and stuffing (Yes, I know it's essentially a bread sandwich -- don't judge me!) so that the stuffing does not fall out of the sandwich during the inhalation process. Repeat as often as necessary or until resources are exhausted.

Fresh cranberries are fine. And I enjoy them -- I guess. But this Yankee wants her Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce. We're going out of town this year and my wonderfully thoughtful girlfriend warned our hostess (her mother) that I'd be bringing my Cranberry Sauce. I'm pretty sure we still have an extra can from last Thanksgiving in the fridge. Can't keep fresh cranberry sauce for a year or two. Nope!

Long live Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce! To the jellied revolution!!

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