Close Encounters at Thanksgiving: The Grocery Store

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I’m grocery shopping. Pushing the cart through

photo: jparadisi 2012

throngs of people looking for that special can of yams, I wish I’d pinned a sign reading, “Don’t follow, Makes frequent stops,” to my rear, so people might stop running into me.

Surprisingly, most of the shoppers are in good moods. I hear the words, “Excuse me,” “After you,” over and over. Only the very young adults, shopping for holiday meal preparations for the first time, I presume, express out loud their bewilderment at the crowds. Suddenly, their attention to space and time is required. This means they have to get out of the way while text messaging, instead of stopping abruptly in the middle of an aisle where more seasoned shoppers will trample them.

In the produce section I pull a thin plastic bag from a dwindling roll of them to fill with Brussels sprouts. Another woman poises to do the same. I’m sure she’s a nurse, like me, although I will never know. Simultaneously, we pause at the large bin of loose sprouts, realizing we have to gather them with our bare hands, because there is not even a rudimentary tool for the task. We eye each other, smile, then I say, “Wow, how many pairs of dirty hands have been in this bin before mine?”

She laughs. “I know,” she says, “I’m thinking the same thing. I’m going to have to scrub these well, and remove the outer leaves.”

“Me too,” I say.

I’m sure she’s a nurse.

Happy Thanksgiving from JParadisiRN

Fancy Cranberry Sauce with an Italian Twist


Fancy Cranberry Sauce with an Italian Twist photo: jparadisi 2010

I always cook with wine, and sometimes I put it in the food.

a plaque in my Mom’s kitchen

I have made homemade cranberry sauce since I was a teenager. I found this recipe on the internet, but added a significant twist of my own by substituting red wine for water. The consistency is similar to a chutney.


•              1 cup red wine

•              1 cup white sugar

•              1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

•              1 orange, peeled and pureed

•              1 apple – peeled, cored and diced

•              1 pear – peeled, cored and diced

•              1 cup chopped dried mixed fruit (I used a dried berry and raisin mix, but mango, papaya, and pineapple would be fun)

•              1 cup chopped pecans

•              1/2 teaspoon salt

•              1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

•              1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1.             In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to simmer, and stir in cranberries, pureed orange, apple, pear, dried fruit, pecans, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.

12 servings