Friday, November 28, 2008

Cranberries and confusion...

In a slightly belated gesture I would like to offer up these cranberries along with a wish for a very happy Thanksgiving for my American readers...

I've never known if it's a faux pas to wish somebody a Happy Whatever when the Whatever is something that you and/or your culture doesn't celebrate. Like when somebody Jewish tells you they're celebrating Rosh Hashanah or your Muslim friend mentions that their family are coming to town for Eid, do they think you're completely nuts if you wish them a happy day when you have no idea what that day actually entails or symbolises? Or is it just good manners?

Personally not to wish them a Happy Whatever would feel like not wishing someone a happy birthday (and if that birthday greeting happens to come a day late, well that's absolutely no indication of a lack of sincerity and more a sign that the well wisher might be suffering a loss of their short term memory which may or may not be an irreversible side effect of some obnoxious medication they're on, in which case you shouldn't be pissed off that your dear friend forgot Thanksgiving/your birthday but pat them on the head and tell them no one needs their short term memory anyway. Either way, they really do mean it when they say have a happy day, even if the day in question was yesterday.)

But maybe I'm wrong? Maybe you should just smile and say 'well enjoy your day' (which seems a little frosty to me.) What do you think? Are there official guidelines on this matter?

I bought my first fresh cranberries this week and I baked these scones with them. They were delicious and before I'd had a chance to photograph the end result, we'd eaten them all. I changed the recipe slightly. I used normal lemons (I've no idea what meyer lemons are. Any info people?) and used half a cup of milk and half a cup of natural yoghurt instead of the cup of double cream which not only seemed ridiculously decadent but was absent from our fridge where there just happened to be an excess of out of date milk and yoghurt (don't look so disgusted, they were cooked at 270 (400 for the Americans) degrees I'll have you know - nothing that's likely to kill you can survive being cooked at 270 degrees *coughalmostcertainlycough*).

I had no idea that this was what the inside of a cranberry looked like. I thought that they would be red and juicy all the way though, like blackcurrants. Apparently they don't taste good raw, I wouldn't know, I make The Boy taste things I'm unsure about first. I try to mask it as generosity - 'no dear, you have the first bite' but I think he knows I'm just using him.

I had my first Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks ago. Hosted by one Canadian and one American, it was an Americadian Thanksgiving, held exactly half way between the two festivals. I discovered two things; I swoon in the presence of an American accent (so exotic! Just like a film star!) And pumpkin pie is horrible. I do however like cornbread stuffing and I've been fantasising about it ever since.

Photos by me.


  1. I know what you mean, I'm always making cultural faux pas, I'm hopeless.
    That looks absolutely delicious!
    Meyer lemons are "normal" lemons to me they're very common here, I think they were originally crossed with an orange? They have slightly more orange flesh. I love those measuring cups!

  2. I've never really understood what thanksgiving is for. I mean, for giving thanks, obviously, but giving thanks for what?
    I've never had pumpkin pie but I've heard it's lovely if it's made right.

    Also, I'd be really really super flattered if you'd check out my blog and possibly give me some feedback on it and even maybe link to it if you like it! It's and it's new.
    I feel terrible asking when I've never commented on peonies and polaroids, but I've been reading for a while. It's brilliant, by the way.

  3. Pumpkin pie can be amazing! Maybe it wasn't done right? I've had some bad pumpking pie before. And of course, with whipped cream. Or vanilla ice cream.

    And if you celebrated with a Canadian and an American half-way between the Canadian & American Thanksgiving, then wasn't it a "Canamerican" or "Ameradian" thanksgiving? :) Just a thought.

    As for the cultural faux pas, I'll wish someone a happy (whatever it is) when I know it's appropriate. Hannukah, for example. But some religious holidays are not celebratory (they may be solemn or honouring sad events). If I'm in doubt, and it's a friend, I'll ask what the religious holiday entails. I've never encountered anyone who was offended when I have respectfully asked as an effort to understand. So that's what I'd reccomend.

    Oh, and I had no idea the inside of cranberries looked like that, too. :)

  4. HAHA! I've never even considered the outside views of Thanksgiving! I've just always grown up with it. Just giving thanks for family and friends and health. Pumpkin pie is an aquired taste, and very easy to mess up, but my favorite.
    Happy Thanksgiving, from the States!!

  5. Those measuring cups are beyond adorable

  6. I think the faux pas comes when you say happy (insert holiday here) and it's a solemn holiday, like for Yom Kippur (the day of atonement). Saying "happy Rosh Hashanah" just sounds weird IMO. I dunno, if you know the seasonal greeting for a specific holiday I think it rocks when someone who's not of the specific religion uses it (like saying "Shana Tovah," which means happy new year, to someone Jewish around Rosh Hashanah).

    Yeah, I'm just a babbling Jew tonight.... Sorry.

    Meyer lemons are a cross between regular lemons and mandarin oranges. I wouldn't know that other than Alton Brown had a show about lemon meringue pie the other day and was discussing different types of lemon. Yes, I just outed myself as a food network junky and a dork. Oh well.

  7. I think violarulz is right about the salutation/felicitation (is that a word in English? I feel like I'm translating from Spanish) thing.

    And your pictures are delicious. I love things with cranberries in them (except that weird cranberry sauce from a can), but I've somehow never seen the inside of one. It almost reminds me of a super tiny pommegranate.

    Thanks for the "happy thanksgiving" wish!

  8. hello!

    i am new to this comment section (a newbie blogger). meyers are the sweet of the lemon world! great for lemonade. great for cleaning.

    i am of the sort that thinks genuine happy wishes are good for most occasions. i would rather make a happy faux pas than none at all.

    ps. thank you for your blog. it's quite an inspiration. i'll have to post some pics of my city-living bunny :)

  9. Peony, thank you for your beautiful blog! I have a serious weakness for a lovely English accent, and I've always wondered if the reverse was true. Thanks for letting me know that my American twang has hope!

  10. We used to pick lingenberries (low bush cranberries) in Canada growing up and those things were nasty without a ton of sugar.

    I have no idea who decided they should start growing and using them as food.

    Don't feel too bad for not liking pumpkin pie, my best friend hates it too. It isn't something all americans are required to love or fear being kicked out.

  11. pumpkin pie is indeed horrible. The consistency of the filling is just gross, and the taste is only made somewhat bearable by adding loads of spices.
    I'm currently residing in America, and my organic vegetable box brings me a pumpkin-related vegetable every week. So we've been eating a lot of spicy pumpkinsoup lately....

  12. I love these photographs. I forbid you to say that you are shit and order you to set up an Etsy shop at once!

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - so happy you had a chance to take part. Pumpkin pie is not my favorite (I prefer my mother's pecan pie and apple crisp) but it's not bad slightly warm with whipped cream.

  13. Um, you don't like pumpkin pie?


  14. Downtomysoul, hmmmm. Who knew lemons were not the same all over the world! I've never heard of a lemon/orange hybrid but I will look out for one.

    Sistersandsparrows, it's to give thanks for the harvest apparently. Your blog's lovely! I've been reading my way through it all weekend.

    Krista, apparently it was good pumpkin pie! But the texture, ugh - baby food in a pie crust. Pudding should not be made out of vegetables dammit!

    A.Rose, thank you!

    Flutter, aren't they lovely?! Finally I don't have to spend an hour on the internet converting cup measurements to grams and still getting it wrong!

    Violaruz, good to know! Both the lemons and the religious holidays!

    Kristy, you're welcome! And thank you for the sweet words about my pictures.

  15. Love, briana - welcome and thank you for your comment! And I'd love to see a picture of your bunny!

    Lia Nomer, you Americans definitely have the whole 'film star' thing going on!

    Blablover, Oh good! I'm glad that if we ever do move to the states I won't have to hide my disgust of the weird vegetable dessert!

    Marte, hear hear! Pumpkins are for soup, not pudding!

    P, thank you!

    Blind, Irish Priate - I most certainly do not! And nothing will convince me to ever try it again!

  16. Gorgeous gorgeous photos! Think about the Etsy will you?

  17. Pumpkin pie is horrible, but your recipe sounds incredible. Also, I think it is just polite to offer best wishes. When they are sincere, how could they cause offense. The receiver can tell you only intend good things. I dunno. That's just what I think. Well, I just jumped in an started talking when what I should have said is, "Hello. What a lovely blog you have. I'm so glad I've found you." So, anyway. Your photos are just incredible. Thank you for the constant dose of beauty your blog provides.

  18. I promise I can make you a pumpkin pie you will love - its my favorite part of the holiday season so I may be a bit biased.

    Though, maybe that is an empty now-husband doesn't like pumpkin pie either. Oh, bother.

  19. I baked with fresh cranberries for the first time last week---and like you I was totally surprised at what they're like! For some reason I thought they had a pit, like a cherry or a plum. I didn't know I could bite right into them! Though once I did try biting into one, it tasted pretty sour and crunchy!

    And I totally use my fella as a guinea pig for my cooking. They're tough and can take anything!

  20. That's funny, I think Scottish men have the all-time hottest accents. Don't tell H-town. (Texans come in second.)

  21. Just found your blog wondering from Jose Villas' on google... love your blog, and thought I would chime in. Pumpkin pie is delicious if you steam your own pumpkin, and use my recipie! I'll send it to you...
    Loved the part about our accent as i never thought anyone overseas would think of it as "movie starish" gives us hope! your photography is beautiful. looks like film? I believe thanksgiving has to do with the first harvest with the Brits who came over and made friends with the Indians and had enough food to eat after alot of bad harvests and starving people...


play nice.