A cranberry sauce manifesto
David Kwiatkowski, Culture & Entertainment Editor
For too long, I have felt silenced about my favorite part of Thanksgiving. And to be honest, I hate most of the food on Thanksgiving. Turkey is repulsive. Hand me a casserole and I will leave. Also when did it become customary to put bacon into every meal including the vegetables?
The overall meal to me is very boring and oftentimes not made well. However, there is always one glimmer of hope for me that I hesitate to bring up whenever the oddly inevitable question “What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?” comes up.
Not anymore. Today is a new day.
I love cranberry sauce. A lot. So much in fact that I would say that I look forward to it.
I can see the grimace on your face from here and feel your judgement, but let me make my point.
Cranberries are simultaneously everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I have never seen a cranberry in person in my life except for in the Ocean Spray commercials where they used to have men stand in ponds of them.
I think it is the best berry, but it has been exclusively marginalized as a Thanksgiving food in our everyday society. Whereas I could drink cranberry juice with every meal of the day, people have such adverse reactions to that, and it bewilders me. Cranberries are also a really good addition to baked goods.
For starters, cranberry sauce is one of the rare foods whose primary function is to be mixed with everything else. Yes, there are condiments. Would we consider cranberry sauce a solid condiment? Food for thought.
There is absolutely nothing like the combination of stuffing and cranberry sauce. I think it rivals mashed potatoes and gravy. I said what I said.
Finally, cranberry sauce also has another distinction of being one of the only foods equally as good homemade as it is store-bought. I don’t care if it’s someone’s Aunt Linda’s special recipe or if it’s in a can bought from the dollar store — it is a classic that cannot really be done incorrectly.
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So if we ever happen to be at the same table on Thanksgiving and you roll your eyes in disgust while passing the bowl of cranberry sauce, I will have nothing to say except a resounding “Thank you.”
An awesome air fryer
Rebecca Wolff, Opinion Editor
I just got an air fryer.
Actually no, my roommates did. But, it’s taking up space in the corner cupboard of my kitchen, so I am allowed to use it by association — right?
Do you know what you can make with an air fryer? Like, literally anything pretty much. Mainly though, they’re used for cooking things that you would normally want to fry up, but you can do it inside this machine faster, and it fries the food with actual air.
I mean, this sounds like either not a real thing or like it is real but totally sucks, but I’m telling you — that shit rocks.
Potatoes were first. Sweet, sweet air fried potatoes. They were tater tots and tasted like they could've just been brought out to our table at some five-star restaurant where the cost is $12 for an appetizer.
But there’s so much more you can do, especially with the holidays approaching.
Those green beans that always seem to be that last thing left on the table every Thanksgiving — pop those babies in the air fryer with some salt and pepper and boom, you’ve got a hit.
Sweet potatoes. Dude. I know you can see it: slicing a few yams in half, throwing a little butter, some cinnamon and maybe a pinch of salt on top and just let it simmer in there for 15 minutes? Forget it! That sounds literally amazing.
Yes, I have a potato obsession, but I’ve accepted it, so you should, too.
Maybe one night you’re feeling like a sweet treat, but you want something different to satisfy you. So, you take a peach, slice it up, sprinkle some brown sugar on top and place it in the air fryer for five minutes. You get a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream, pop your peach slices right in there, and just like that, you’ve made yourself a gourmet dessert with minimal effort.
Just put an air fryer on your Christmas list people; you won’t regret it.
An ode (and a how-to) to soup
Julia Arwine, Managing Editor
My mom always used to say that soup was one of her favorite types of food, and as a kid, I thought she was crazy. At the wise old age of 9 or 10, I thought there was no way a liquid mush of vegetables could ever be better than chicken nuggets or Hot Pockets.
A decade later, I’m happy to say I’ve come around — when the weather gets cold and the nights come on faster, there’s no better mood lifter than a thick, warm soup. The first day the temperature drops below 60 degrees each year, I find myself craving potato and bacon soup, made with a whole cow’s worth of butter and cream and cheddar cheese. It is definitely not the recipe to be counting calories, especially this year when I need every ounce of self-indulgent comfort I can get.
What’s really great about soup is that it is difficult to mess up beyond repair, so you can improvise however you want as long as you have a good base — whether it be chicken stock, vegetable stock or cream-based. Beans? Veggies? Meat? They’re all fair game. Saute and sizzle your vegetables, meat and spices in the bottom of the pot, deglaze the browned bits with something acidic (I’m partial to wine or cooking sherry) and add your liquid ingredients. Then let it simmer away for as long as you need.
Got ingredients on the verge of expiring that you need to use? Go ahead and throw them in the pot. What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe you’ll discover a new favorite, all the more special because you stumbled upon it on your own.
Plus, in a time where we’re staring at the same walls all the time, getting adventurous in the kitchen is a perfect distraction. And it’s nice to have something slowly bubbling on the stovetop, filling the house with its warm and delicious smell, prompting your roommates to ask, whatcha making?
Go ahead and share with them. Curl up on the couch with a warm bowl full of your own creation, dip in some crusty bread and maybe watch “Over the Garden Wall” one more time before the last of fall slips away.