Susan Stamberg Makes Cranberry Relish With Ruth Reichl In an NPR tradition, the Friday before Thanksgiving is the time for Susan Stamberg to share her weird-sounding — but delicious — recipe for cranberry relish. This year, she's found a real fan: food expert Ruth Reichl.

Stamberg And Reichl Make Cranberry Relish

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With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, cooks are making their shopping lists, checking them twice, and perhaps looking for ideas in carefully saved November issues of Gourmet Magazine. This month's issue is its last. Conde Nast has pulled the plug on the nearly 70-year-old publication, but NPR's special correspondent Susan Stamberg found Gourmet's erstwhile editor, Ruth Reichl, alive and well, thinking of cranberries.

SUSAN STAMBERG: Just for starters, Ruth, condolences. There are many people that - mourning the loss of Gourmet Magazine.

Ms. RUTH REICHL (Former Editor, Gourmet Magazine; Host, "Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth"): And I am among them.

STAMBERG: Yes, I'm sure you are. Well, I know you lost that job. Last month, you launched a new public television show, "Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth," but I know that public broadcasting doesn't pay all that well. So although we never pay for interviews here at NPR, I would like to offer you $5 from my wallet, if that would be - if you would help me tell listeners about Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish this year.

Ms. REICHL: I would be happy to do that. And I will frame your $5.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STAMBERG: Well, you may need it sometime. So good, thank you. This, you know, is the recipe that sounds terrible, but tastes terrific. We emailed you a copy of it in New York. You got it in front of you?

Ms. REICHL: I do. But I have to tell you, you didn't have to email it to me, because I already had it from many years back.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STAMBERG: Oh, that's wonderful. Well, okay. Go ahead.

Ms. REICHL: Two cups whole, raw cranberries, washed.


Ms. REICHL: One small onion. What is your idea of a small onion?

STAMBERG: Oh, you know, what would be that be? Like, three inches in diameter, maybe. Is that small? Yeah.

Ms. REICHL: Yeah, because onions have gotten very big these days.

STAMBERG: I know, yeah. No, this one, three inches.

Ms. REICHL: And would you prefer one of the sweet, no tear onions that are now available everywhere, or an ordinary, old onion?

STAMBERG: Ordinary, old one. I think a tear or two can't hurt.

Ms. REICHL: Tears on Thanksgiving, absolutely. Three-quarters cup sour cream, one-half cup sugar, two tablespoon of horseradish from a jar. Red is a bit milder than white.

STAMBERG: Now, you see, this is where it sounds terrible and tastes terrific. Everybody, when you get to the horseradish, people go, eww.

Ms. REICHL: Well, I think most people are sort of eww at the sour cream.

STAMBERG: That, too, and the onion doesn't help it much, either.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STAMBERG: Nonetheless, why don't you tell us what to do next?

Ms. REICHL: Grind the raw berries and onion together. Add everything else, and mix.


Ms. REICHL: Put in a plastic container and freeze. So how far ahead of time do you usually do this?

STAMBERG: I do it the night before, so that it sits in the freezer overnight.

Ms. REICHL: Okay. But you could do it earlier than that. Or you could set it�

STAMBERG: (unintelligible)

Ms. REICHL: Yeah.

STAMBERG: Absolutely, and by the way, it keeps for a long time afterward, too, so you could have it, really, forever.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. REICHL: I don't know that you want to say forever.

(Soundbite of laughter)


(Soundbite of laughter)

STAMBERG: Anyway, so there it sits in the freezer, Thanksgiving morning. Can you continue, please?

Ms. REICHL: I can. You move it from the freezer to the refrigerator compartment to thaw. And what you say here is it should still have some little icy slivers left.

STAMBERG: Yeah, 'cause that's sort of - it's so unexpected. I mean, the whole think is unexpected, but the little icy slivers, if you're lucky, that's nice, too, because, you know, it cuts through all that gravy taste of Thanksgiving.

Ms. REICHL: Yeah.

STAMBERG: It's something sharp and kind unexpected.

Ms. REICHL: And a little coldness in all the heat of Thanksgiving is really nice.

STAMBERG: Right, right.

Ms. REICHL: The relish will be thick, creamy and shocking pink. And here, you add, okay, Pepto-Bismol pink.

STAMBERG: I feel one must tell the truth. That is the color.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. REICHL: And it is shocking, I have to say, on a Thanksgiving table - having had this on my Thanksgiving table many times�

STAMBERG: Oh, my goodness.

Ms. REICHL: �it is really shocking. It's a color that doesn't look like it belongs on your Thanksgiving table.

STAMBERG: Exactly. But it tastes so good, and it's got that sort of little punch, and it makes about a pint and a half. What do you think, Ruth Reichl? Any suggestions for improving this thing?

Ms. REICHL: Oh, no. It's perfect as it is.

STAMBERG: Ah! Now tell me this. If there still were a Gourmet Magazine, would you publish this recipe for the next Thanksgiving?

Ms. REICHL: Oh, absolutely.

STAMBERG: Woo-hoo!

Ms. REICHL: A good reason to bring the magazine back.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STAMBERG: Thank you so much, and a very happy Thanksgiving to you.

Ms. REICHL: And to you.

STAMBERG: Ruth Reichl: food lover, food editor, author and star of the new public TV series "Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth."

I'm Susan Stamberg, NPR News. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

MONTAGNE: Oh, yes. A little early Thanksgiving greeting. And that recipe for Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish is at


So to recap here, Gourmet Magazine gone, cranberry relish still with us.

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