…Which is how I served it the last time I made it for my neighbors. One of our guests, from Nantucket, stacked the fancy cranberry compote an inch high across the entirety of his pork tenderloin, and made it all disappear without lifting his head to join the scintillating society of the other 10 people at the table until it was gone. Fancy cranberry compote has the same effect on me: it causes a culinary hypnosis that won’t let my tastebuds’ go as I down mouthfuls of the sour, sweet and bitter, cranberry-red, translucence.
I mention our guest’s Nantucket roots here because I believe that love for the cranberry, an early American condiment at Thanksgiving time, has made its imprint in our gene pool over the last 27 generations. It’s like the hypnotic, primordial camp fires that connect us with all of our ancestors who came before us. According to the New England Historical Society, some of the earliest cranberry vines go back 150 years.
I did my Ancestry.com DNA test this year, inspired by the the test results of our rescue dog Tucker (more on this later). It only seemed right that not only the dog but that we humans in the family should know more about ourselves. I found out that our family on my father’s side founded the Pennsylvania Dutch Colonies on the East Coast. Proof positive that the love-for-cranberry gene runs deep on dad’s side and scientifically explains my love for it! But seriously, you don’t have to be from the East Coast to love fancy cranberry compote!
On Christmas this year we will serve the cranberry compote alongside a prime rib with mushroom gravy, salad and potatoes. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Tip: You can add crystallized ginger and walnuts to it after cooking to increase the crunch and a zap of flavor.