Thanksgiving Menu: Football, Cranberry Relish Two Thanksgiving Day traditions endure — football and cranberry relish. John Feinstein reviews this year's NFL matchups, and Susan Stamberg persuades him to give an old family recipe a try.
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Thanksgiving Menu: Football, Cranberry Relish

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Thanksgiving Menu: Football, Cranberry Relish

Thanksgiving Menu: Football, Cranberry Relish

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Thanksgiving, coming up - need I say a big day for football? And today, we look ahead to one of the big games. The Detroit Lions host the Green Bay Packers tomorrow, and both teams have their sights on the playoff.

Commentator John Feinstein joins us now.

Happy Thanksgiving, John.

JOHN FEINSTEIN: Thanks, Renee, same to you.

MONTAGNE: Okay, so, they've been playing Thanksgiving games in Detroit since 1934, but the last few years - if don't mind me putting it this way - the real turkeys have been the Lions.

FEINSTEIN: Yeah, they really have, especially when they were humiliated 41 to 9 by the Indianapolis Colts on Thanksgiving Day.

The Lions are better this year, though. They're six and four. They're in a wild-card spot right now, and traditionally, they have played their best Thanksgiving football against the Packers.

This is the 18th time they played on Thanksgiving. And perhaps the most historic Thanksgiving game was 1962, when the Packers came in undefeated under Vince Lombardi and the Lions beat them.

So I'm sure everybody in Detroit is hoping they can dredge up memories from 45 years ago on Thanksgiving Day.

MONTAGNE: And having the Packers as the opponent makes the game a little more special.

FEINSTEIN: It really does, especially now with the Packers being 9 and 1 and having such a great season with Brett Favre of playing like he's 28 rather than 38. And as we said, they're such traditional opponents, especially on this holiday.

MONTAGNE: Okay, so we're on the subject of turkeys. What about the other NFL games?

FEINSTEIN: They really are turkeys. You know, the New York Jets and the Atlanta Falcons are two of the worst teams in football, and the Jets will be playing in Dallas, and the Falcons are going to be hosting a game against the Indianapolis Colts. And those two games will probably be routes, which is why you want to turn to the college game.

MONTAGNE: Okay, so let's turn to Arizona State-Southern Cal. It should be a great game.

FEINSTEIN: They really should. Southern Cal, of course, has been a national championship contender.

SUSAN STAMBERG: John, Renee, Hi. Hi, hi, I'm Susan…



STAMBERG: …yes, Susan Stamberg, here.

MONTAGNE: (Unintelligible)

STAMBERG: You're missing the major sport of Thanksgiving, which is eating. So I felt it incumbent upon me to, for 687th year in a row, present my annual recitation of Mama Stamberg's Cranberries Relish. Are you game, as it were?

FEINSTEIN: I'm always game for eating, Susan.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STAMBERG: Okay, well John, here is the recipe. You're going to help me out. Now, you will be my Julia Child, okay?


STAMBERG: Go ahead. Read the ingredients.

FEINSTEIN: Two cups whole raw cranberries.

STAMBERG: That's good. You need to wash them. Go ahead.

FEINSTEIN: One small onion, three quarters of a cup of sour cream, a half a cup sugar, and, of course, two tablespoons of horseradish.

STAMBERG: Those are wonderful, Julia. I really appreciate that. Red, by the way. Horseradish is a little bit milder than the white.

What a good job you did. Now, here's what you have to do - and by the way, folks, if we're going too fast, the whole recipe is at It's a slower version there.

You grind the raw berries and the onions together. I use an old-fashioned meat grinder. I'm sure that there's setting on the food processor that'll be give you a chunky grind. You don't want to puree.

And then you throw in everything else. You mix it all up. You put it in a plastic container, and you freeze it. And early tomorrow morning, you move it down from the freezer to the refrigerator compartment, let it thaw a little bit.

This should still have some really icy slivers left in it. And the relish is going to be thick and creamy. The color is shocking pink. Although, I have in the past admitted that, in fact, it's the color of Pepto-Bismol, but it tastes far better than that. It's the recipe that sounds terrible, tastes terrific. This makes one-and-half pints.

Happy Thanksgiving.

FEINSTEIN: Susan, I've got an idea.

STAMBERG: Oh, what?

FEINSTEIN: You cook. I'll eat and watch football.

MONTAGNE: I think we run of time. Thanks very much.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you, guys.

MONTAGNE: John Feinstein's latest book is "Cover-up: Mystery at the Super Bowl." And we were joined, as she manages to do every year, by our very Susan Stamberg.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.


And I'm John Ydstie. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

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