The ruminations of an artist on art & quilts, beading, knitting, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking are all my passions, I love to explore creating....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Of Turkeys and Cranberries

I live in a (small) city--surrounded by more cities---Berkeley, California. There are hills---called the Oakland hills--on the edge of our neighborhood ---which are pretty much wild and overgrown. This past fall, a flock of wild turkeys wandered down from the hills and traversed our neighborhood for several weeks....yep, here in California we do have wild turkeys--but it was rather weird to see them in our city neighborhood....and they seemed rather nonplussed to find themselves on the cement sidewalk or street--"where is the brush?" you imagined them asking each other.

They were not really afraid of us humans, though---and we could approach fairly close to the flock. After awhile we got used to them, and would patiently stop our cars to let them cross a busy street, and hardly bat an eye when they invaded the sidewalk in front of the house. Then---after becoming part of the hood, no longer talked about much--just one of the crowd---one day they just disappeared---they went back up into the hills, we supposed.

Now--bear in mind, I was raised in Alaska in a hunting family---hunting for meat on the table was serious fall activity in my family. Also butchering and wrapping (for the freezer) the game you shot was a fall activity. So I just could not help myself--every time I saw those wild turkeys I thought, "There goes dinner!"

Another Alaskan fall and Thanksgiving memory for me involved visiting the local "wild cranberry" patch. Actually, I think they were lingonberries--but in Alaska we called them "low bush cranberries," and they grew in a bog or wet mossy area---termed the "muskeg." One crisp, cold blue sky fall day my Mom would get the berry picking pails, tell me to put on my rubber boots and off we would go to pick cranberries--so we could have fresh cranberry sauce/relish (to go with the wild goose my father had shot) on Thanksgiving Day.

Aurora's Cranberry Relish

4 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
1/2 to 1 cup fresh apple or orange juice
3 oranges
1/2 cup candied ginger
1 cup raisins

Put cranberries, sugar, juice, ginger, and raisins in a pan on the stove. Slice one orange and chop the slices in small pieces and add. Grate the skin of the other 2 oranges and add. Cook on medium heat until the cranberries pop ---stir frequently so is doesn't stick---simmer about an hour. Cool slightly and pour into a nice serving dish--best if refrigerated overnight so flavors may mingle.

Note: Any or all of these ingredients may vary--I usually make this with what I have on hand--sometimes I add other dried fruit if I don't have raisins, or a chopped fresh apple. Don't worry about this not being sweet enough--taste it---if it is too sour for your taste, just add more sugar.

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