In recent years, Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays, and I’m looking forward to celebrating it. As a boy, the importance of the get together never really dawned on me, but just as I’ve outgrown canned cranberry sauce, I’ve come to appreciate the significance of the gathering. My siblings and I have aged, and in doing so have gone off into our own orbits; the chance to join in a meal together is rare. When we do meet, the table is now very large, and that creates challenges of its own. Last year, my youngest brother hosted the entire family, and he could only do that because his house is just a tad bigger than his heart. The year before, I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time, and I could only feed about three-quarters of the family, and at a total of fifteen people, that was enough for me.
Putting together a Thanksgiving dinner menu requires more than just planning. It takes courage. If you have never hosted before, it's not too late to pick up Sam Sifton’s book, “Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well.” Lord knows, it helped me that first time around. There are many classic Thanksgiving recipes, and he covers them all. The holiday also offers the chance to start your own traditions. Every since my first Thanksgiving at home, I’ve added cornbread to my offerings. My latest twist on it, inspired by the Kraft Tastemaker’s program, which is funding this post, is to add dried cranberries. They contribute a bit of sweetness and make the holiday all the more rich. One nice thing about this recipe, is that it adapts nicely whether you are the host or a guest. Make it for your home gathering, or take it with you when you go to the house of your uncle, nephew, sister or brother. It will be most welcome. The full recipe for Thanksgiving Cranberry Cornbread is here.