Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grandma Turchin's Cranberry Sauce

“Thanksgiving is always overshadowed by Christmas," my friend Maggie lamented as we perused a home goods store on Sunday afternoon. Finding only Christmas ornaments, Christmas dishes, and Christmas decorations we found nothing related to Thanksgiving (and Thanksgiving isn’t here for another week). Thanksgiving doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the greatest holidays of the year. It’s not a religious holiday so all American’s can celebrate together. Most of us are blessed with a day or two off work to relax and spend time with our loved ones. Thanksgiving also marks the official “start” of the holiday season with all the food, family, fun, shopping and madness that goes along with the holidays.

What does Thanksgiving mean to me? It means family and giving thanks. Thanksgiving is eating together and all the social and human interaction that comes along with sitting around a table and enjoying a meal with those that matter most in life.

I remember growing up in Nebraska and attending the Minino family Thanksgiving at St. Adelbert’s Church; a family tradition that still goes on today. The Minino family is quite large and out of necessity rents the church basement for the holidays. When I think of Thanksgiving I hear children laughing, giggling and playing. Grandma Minino and the aunts cooking the turkey, mashing the potatoes while the men congregate watching football and playing cards in the back of the church. When it's time to eat, Grandma Minino, our matriarch says a prayer and thanks God for our family, our health and the food we are about to eat. Three or four large buffet tables are set for food, as the Thanksgiving meal is always pot-luck; a collaborative effort amongst the family members.

As I share my Minino family customs with my new husband, I now have the honor of learning new long-standing traditions from the Turchin family. A deep-rooted tradition that has been shared with me recently is Grandma Turchin’s Cranberry Sauce. My husband’s half-sister in New Jersey surprised me with this recipe for my bridal shower. I felt honored to have been given this recipe. Almost like a “Welcome to the Club” Turchin family badge of honor.

As I was cooking this cranberry sauce my mind quickly turned quiet as I pondered the meaning of this recipe and its significance to the Turchin family. I believe that a family member can live through a recipe even though their physical body is no longer with us. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Grandma Turchin before she passed. However, despite never meeting Grandma Turchin I've always felt her presence within the Turchin family. She lives on through stories from my husband, photos from my mother-in-law and family recipes that have been passed for generations. Grandma Turchin lives through her cranberry sauce recipe. I had a vision of her standing next to me, helping me through the recipe. Here’s to you Grandma Turchin, and your wonderful cranberry sauce. I feel so blessed to be part of your family and it is an honor to carry on your tradition.

Grandma Turchin’s Cranberry Sauce
From Terry and Nicole Petrone

1 lb of Cranberries
2 Apples – Seeded and Diced. Do not peel.
1 Cup Sugar

Place cranberries and apples in pot. Add water to just cover the cranberries. Cook until soft. Strain. Put back into pot. Add sugar and cook for 15-20 minutes. Let cool and put into glass jars. **you may add chopped pecans for additional taste

Quote from Terry on the recipe card, “You’ll always have a little bit of Grandma with you.” Isn’t that the truth.


  1. This is such a nice post, love the image of your whole family in the church basement.