Southern Thing Column

Don’t knock canned cranberry sauce, y’all

Below is an excerpt from a column that was published on It’s a Southern Thing. Click here to be directed to the full column now or follow the link at the end of the excerpt.

Last year, a columnist wrote on It’s a Southern Thing that canned cranberry sauce “is the devil.” While I fully respect other folks’ opinions, I felt those poor canned cranberries needed someone to stand up for them. They might feel neglected or even get a case of low shelf-esteem. They already grow up in a bog, bereft of the Southern sun. Should we really kick a fruit when it’s down?

I elected myself to write a defense, mainly because canned cranberry sauce reminds me of my Georgia grandmothers’ holiday table.

For me, the trend of making sure everything on the table is “organic” or “haute cuisine” is a bit showy. Like those high-falutin’ bowls of freshly squished cranberries mixed with dried figs and candied orange peels or topped with pecans. Really? That’s just putting on airs, if you ask me, and might make people too big for their britches in more ways than one.

I see nothing wrong with foods that are boxed and canned, or even enveloped or pouched. I’ve always thought one of the best things about Southerners is we’re not food snobs – we eat pretty much anything, often thrown into a single dish and labeled a casserole. But I know many purists who would be scandalized over canned or frozen biscuits or store-bought pumpkin pie. I get it. There’s a lot to be said for MeeMaw’s homemade dishes. All I’m saying is you can be too picky and being too picky is un-Southern. If you have the choice between no biscuits and frozen biscuits, which would you choose? Exactly.

And, if we’re being honest, most people don’t have a complaint about the taste of canned cranberry sauce. After all, we Southerners love congealed things – we even suspend fruit in it to show off its magical properties. No, most people have a problem with the fact that it comes out as a gelled cranberry loaf with ridges – the ones formed when it’s stuffed into the ridged can – which immediately gives away the fact that you didn’t put enough work into it. (I don’t get this part. Opening a can, carefully slicing between those narrow ridge lines, laying the slices in a perfect row and displaying it on a fancy plate leaves me winded and in need of a nap.) Click here to read the full column on It’s a Southern Thing.

(Photo by Kelly Kazek)

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