It Must be Thanksgiving

Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish should be thick, creamy and shocking pink. Photo Credit: Avie Schneider/NPR

How do I know this? Because this morning an annual tradition occurred on my radio. That’s right  Susan Stamberg clues me in annually, on NPR, that Thanksgiving is upon us when she (and her guests) recite “Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish.” The tradition has been ongoing since before I was born, more than a decade before actually and while the recipe itself sounds awful, even Stamberg admits this, it is something I always look forward to. By the way, the relish doesn’t look so hot either, but Stamberg insists it tastes fantastic.

Each year the flamboyant radio personality (if there can be such a thing) does her best to repackage her annual tradition of passing down Mama Stamberg’s recipe, and she does a stellar job. Read more of this post


Please Pass the… Jellied Cranberry Sauce

November is already off to a brisk start. This morning’s wintry mix winter preview started to psych me up for Thanksgiving. Not that it takes all that much convincing to get into a holiday that involves food and more food (and some thanksgiving as well). It is more about the realization that once Thanksgiving hits you barely can get your wits about you and Christmas is upon you. While in its purest sense Christmas is a blessed event, the man-made hype around it can be slightly overwhelming, even for the best-intentioned among us.

Between the winter weather that arrived a wee bit early and hearing Susan Stamberg on NPR this morning, I’m just about mentally prepared for turkey day. Hearing Susan’s voice, I’d like to think of us as friends (friends in my head as Wendy Williams would say) so I call her Susan. At any rate, hearing her voice brought thoughts of her annual recitation of “Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish.” It has been a Thanksgiving tradition around NPR since a decade before I was born. Listening to Susan recite the recipe it sounds awful, doesn’t look so great either, but annually Susan assures me it tastes fantastic.

Each year right around Thanksgiving I somehow manage to be listening to NPR when Mama Stamber’s recipe is featured. And each year it is more delightful in story telling than the year before. Take Susan’s 2008 election year themed recitation for example or the 2007 football fake out. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, reminding me that family goodness is around the corner, not to mention delicious food. Apprehension aside, Thanksgiving is the true kick-off to a spirited month of celebrating with family and friends. When all is said and done, all the hype, late nights wrapping gifts, fighting long lines at the mall and the delicate balancing of your social calendar during the busiest social season of the year, its worth it and you’re left with nothing but happy memories.

Get Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish Recipe here on NPR. Try it out, let me know!

Update (11/20/10): This year Mama Stamberg’s recipe is experienced by Coolio, who offers Susan a new serving suggestion. Listen to the “Ghetto Gourmet” Coolio recite Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish Recipe, which Coolio has re-dubbed it Mama Stamberg’s & Coolio’s Wild Cranberry Pink Out. That’s a ‘rap.’

(Photo by Avie Schneider/NPR)