My husband Michael comes from a family of savers. They save everything. Typically, this is problematic for me, as I am a thrower-outer. I throw out mostly everything. After we got married and bought our first house, my mother-in-law began to bring over the various boxes and bundles of things that Michael had saved over the years, as well as the things that had been saved for him. There was the bowling ball and bag (had I found that earlier, it might have been a deal breaker), and the concert t-shirts, which I had previously been accused of throwing away, and a myriad of other items that were somehow crucial to his existence. Now, I will admit that there were some things that were sentimental, and therefore, worth saving.
One thing that Connie wisely held on to were a collection of classic children's books that Michael and his sisters had received as members of the 'Book of the Month' club, and had loved as children. My girls were the recipients of those excellent and nostalgic books, and we read them, sometimes swooning with remembrances of these books being read to us as young children. One of the books arrived just weeks before Thanksgiving, and not coincidentally, was titled Cranberry Thanksgiving. It was about an old woman who had a secret recipe for the most delicious cranberry bread ever. In the story, there is an ill-fated attempt to steal the recipe, and the culprit turns out to be the last person one would suspect. The very valuable lesson, of course, is 'don't jump to conclusions about people.'
At Thanksgiving dinner that year, my sister in law mentioned that the recipe, which was printed on the back cover of the book (if only the thief had just bought a copy of the book!), was outstanding. I poo-pooed the idea of a recipe, printed on a book mass produced in the late 1960s, as being spectacular. I was soooo wrong. This recipe is tart and yummy, and utterly exceptional. I make it every Thanksgiving now, and happily pass the recipe along, so that nobody has to steal it in order to enjoy this awesome bread.
Cranberry Orange Bread (Adapted very slightly from Cranberry Thanksgiving)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
2 cups fresh cranberries, chopped
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange juice and orange peel all at once, and stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in cranberries.
Spoon into a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.