Listener Supported Relish

Yes, it's really that color. If you listen to NPR, you may be familiar with the Thanksgiving tradition of Susan Stamberg sharing her mother-in-law’s cranberry relish recipe. She’s been sharing it and sharing it. Sharing it since 1972, in fact. That’s a long time, even in NPR years. Ira Glass was just 13-years-old when she started in with the relish.

I actually served the crazy pink mess of cranberry, onion, sour cream, sugar, and horseradish one Thanksgiving. While I sort of liked its tart-tangy-sweet flavor, nobody else touched it. Maybe it was the color. Maybe that it looks more like a desert than a side dish. Maybe they were not Morning Edition listeners.

Anyway, I thought I would give it one more shot and taste test it on my family before turkey day. Reviews were mixed.

My 22-year-old son said it was “unique and interesting” and said he’d like to see it on the holiday table. My 15-year-old called it “weird.” My wife said that it was “too oniony.”

And oniony it was. The trouble with onions is that they can vary wildly in their pungency, so even the small onion called for in this recipe can pack an unexpected wallop. I’d recommend going easy — or even using a sweet onion to temper the effect.

Based on my unscientific sample, maybe half the people might like this stuff — but since it only takes a couple of minutes to prepare, why not? Be prepared, though: the relish will signal you as an NPR geek. Depending on your family, they will either see you as worldly and enlightened or an elitist snob. But as they say, you can choose your radio station, but you can’t choose your family.

Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish Recipe


7 responses to “Listener Supported Relish

  1. I wonder how Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish would be fried…
    Whoa! How’d I get here?!

  2. I wouldn’t be able to get past the aesthetics of the dish. Even if made perfectly, it looks so unappealing.

    • It is pink in the extreme. Maybe one could just put it on the table to show their support for breast cancer awareness — and the cranberry is a potent antioxidant.

  3. Blech! It looks like what you get when your dog eats a bag of cranberries and half a pound of cream cheese.

  4. I’m with the 15-year-old.

  5. Yeah, I’d be the one refusing to eat it on principle, just because you got the recipe off of National Pretentious Radio . . . . (but, inside, I’d be secretly relieved to have that very good excuse, since just reading the ingredients gives me the jibblies . . . must less ingesting them . . . )

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