Sunday, November 23, 2008
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I am a compartmentalist. What I mean is I cannot allow certain side dishes to intermingle. Understand, it is not that I am specieist when it comes to my food, its just that I am particular (see: crazy) and will not stand for the sullying of an annual meal, especially one as momentous as that which celebrates our total victory over those evil buffalo-humping savages who so callously stole all our small-pox blankets. Under no circumstances can sweet potatoes commingle with mashed potatoes, and likewise interact with my grandmother's orange/carrot Jell-o (Its better than it sounds - trust me). Bread is cool - it pretty much keeps to itself unless it's services are enlisted in some form of dipping or sopping. Gravy is one of the exceptions to the rule, as it effortlessly traverses the side dish barrier (see: Bread), thus bringing corn, stuffing and potatoes together in a thick slurry of carbo-goodness. And then there are cranberries...
Cranberries hold as special place in the hearts of New Jerseyeans. Much like corn, eggplant and tomatoes, Cranberries are a crop which is quintessentially 'Jersey' in nature (Sorry middle America, but your corn sucks). After all, cranberries require the down home charm of a bog for cultivation, and what is New Jersey besides a loose confederation of criminal enterprises separated by vast stretches of swamp.
As such, we of the garden State take cranberries very seriously. Nary is there another side dish, neither fruit nor vegetable which required its own separate plate, less it's acidic goodness spoil so much soul-food. Should one fail to observe such ritual, they would surely find themselves cursed with pink potatoes (not to be confused with mashed turnips) or - worse yet - fruity gravy...and that my friends is the very definition of Cranberry blues.
Cranberry Blues - Robert Williams & the Groovers