November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving! Of the cranberry variety

The Book - Cranberry Thanksgiving by Harry Devlin

I wouldn't call it a classic exactly, but this "vintage" book was one of my favorites growing up. My mom still has our copy, which I snagged today to read to Little Page. Even though it's out of print, for only $45 you too can own your very own copy! No? Well, it's also available at our local library, so chances are it's at yours too.

Maggie and her Grandmother live near a cranberry bog, so Thanksgiving is extra special. Every year they each invite a poor or lonely guest for Thanksgiving dinner and Grandmother's famous cranberry bread. Grandmother is less than thrilled when Maggie invites their neighbor Mr. Whiskers. When the secret family recipe goes missing, Grandmother suspects Mr. Whiskers, but the truth reminds her of the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

It's a sweet story of family and friendship with a gentle reminder not to judge people by their outward appearances. The illustrations are wonderful with sweeping backgrounds of stormy New England and adorable drawings of tough and lovable Mr. Whiskers. The secret cranberry bread recipe is posted on the back of the book, ready for you to pass on to your own "Maggie".

The Recipe - Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 t grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups light raisins (I used 3/4 cup craisins)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. (I threw it all into my cuisinart.) Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins (or craisins!) and cranberries.

Spoon into a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.


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