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Why has Susan Stamberg, for two of her three decades at NPR, welcomed every Thanksgiving by talking about cranberries? In her book Talk, she explains: "It's partly my fault, partly the fault of my late mother-in-law, and partly the fault of (food writer) Craig Claiborne.

"At the first Thanksgiving of my married life, in Allentown, Pa., my mother-in-law, Marjorie Stamberg, served a fabulous and fascinating cranberry relish -- so fascinating that I asked for the recipe, which she kindly provided. I put the recipe for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish on the air every year a few weeks before Thanksgiving, first at WAMU-FM, the local public radio station where I did my earliest air work, later at NPR for the immediate nation to enjoy."

Through the recipe's retelling, Susan says she's learned a lot. First, that it wasn't actually her mother-in-law's recipe -- Marjorie Stamberg got it from a sister-in-law, who got it from a 1959 New York Times article by Claiborne. Second, that some listeners consider it delicious while others cry "disgusting!" And third, that "I have extremely thick skin, and just keep on reciting the recipe every year."

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe

2 cups raw cranberries
1 small onion
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons horseradish

Grind the cranberries and onion together. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Put in a plastic container and freeze. An hour before serving, move the container from the freezer to the refrigerator compartment to thaw. The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink.

Makes 1 1/2 pints.

Copyright 2001 National Public Radio