2002.11.27 Have a berry, berry, Happy Thanksgiving

By RICH FOLEY

Have you had your cranberries yet this week? The folks at Ocean Spray are hoping so. Their website claims that 20 percent of the year’s cranberry consumption will occur during Thanksgiving week. And they’re looking to sell more, whether you care to eat them or not.

The cranberry growers cooperative has a list of “Cranberry Fun Facts” on their site, such as “Legend has it that Pilgrims served cranberries at the first Thanksgiving.” Over two hundred years of strife between Indians and settlers followed, but that can’t all be the cranberry’s fault, can it?

Or there’s the claim that “During World War II, American troops required about one million pounds of dehydrated cranberries a year.”  What the troops required them for, we can only guess.

I also learned that fresh cranberries bounce. So if you have pet hamsters, give them a few cranberries, a small backboard and basket, then sit back and watch the fun!

And finally, “If you strung all the cranberries produced in North America last year, they would stretch from Boston to Los Angeles more than 565 times.” And some people would say that’s exactly what should be done with them.

I really shouldn’t be making fun of cranberries. I have some in my refrigerator right now. And some cranberry juice as well, that I would enjoy even if their ads didn’t make me feel I’d get a urinary tract infection if I didn’t drink it.

But the Ocean Spray people obviously realize that many folks would prefer not to ingest their product as they are now offering a series of ideas  using cranberries in crafts instead of as food.

For example, the cranberry flower arrangement, where you fill a clear vase 3/4 full with cranberries, add water, then your flowers.

Or floating candles with cranberries, where again you add cranberries to your dish, then water and floating candles.

There are several other crafts and children’s projects presented, all designed to get you to buy more berries, even if you have no intention of actually consuming them.

And they still list ideas for edible gifts such as Tex-Mex Cranberry Salsa. Drink enough tequila first and you’ll never notice the cranberries.

I’ll admit, I’m not all that handy with craft projects and my culinary talents stop short of making my own salsa. But others with more expertise than I in these areas could probably have some fun with these ideas.

 Of course, some people are recognized experts at this sort of thing and are liable to get jealous when they think someone else is butting in on their territory. So, as a service to readers, I’ll leave you with the top ten signs you’re being stalked by Martha Stewart:

10. You get a threatening note made up of letters cut out of a magazine with pinking shears and they’re all the same size, the same font, and precisely lined up in razor-sharp rows.

9. You find a lemon wedge in the dog’s water bowl.

8. On her television show, she makes a gingerbread house that looks exactly like your own, right down to the licorice fallen down spout and the half-open graham cracker garage door.

7. You find your pet bunny on the stove in an exquisite tarragon, rose petal and saffron demi-glacé, with pecan-crusted hearts of palm and a delicate mint-fennel sauce.

6. The unmistakable aroma of potpourri follows you even after you’ve left the bathroom.

5. You discover that every napkin in the entire house has been folded into a turkey.

4. No matter where or what you eat, your place setting always seems to include an oyster fork.

3. Twice this week you’ve  been the victim of a drive-by doilying.

2. You wake up in the hospital with a concussion and cranberry stuffing filling your ears.

And the number one sign you’re being stalked by Martha Stewart...

1. You awaken one morning with a glue gun pointed directly at your head.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Eat your cranberries, and watch out for Martha.

    – Nov. 27, 2002 
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