Monday, November 29, 2021
Nov. 29, 2021

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Check It Out: Go cranberry crazy for Thanksgiving

The Columbian

Another Thanksgiving is quickly approaching which means many of us will be succumbing to tryptophan-induced naps after gobbling down the classic turkey feast. But I have a few turkey friends who would like to point out that some humans may have tryptophan-o-phobia (a word I totally made up to meet my needs — it means an aversion to naps; an unbelievable concept, in my honest opinion). Do my turkey friends have a hidden agenda? Of course, they do: don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving.

These same turkey friends also kindly pointed out that eating cranberries will not make me sleepy, and they have amazing nutritional properties. Now the word “amazing” might be too strong, but my turkey pals have been known to use fowl-mouthed exaggeration in order to sway my opinion. Clever turkeys.

So, I agreed to create a reading list with a cranberry-ish theme even though, as I pointed out to my friendly gobblers, there aren’t a lot of books about cranberries. Their reply? Don’t let it bog you down. Witty turkeys.

Here it goes …

  • “The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts: Finding, Identifying, and Cooking” by Katie Letcher Lyle.

Personally, I prefer domestic cranberries that come in a bag and are completely tame. But if you fancy wild cranberries, check out this guide, pronto.

  • “The Cranberry Cookbook: Year-Round Dishes from Bog to Table” by Sally Pasley Vargas.

Lacking cranberry inspiration in your cooking? Well, my friends, there’s more to cranberries than sauce, so check out The Cranberry Cookbook and astound your diners with creative recipes.

  • “Perfect Palettes: Inspirational Color Schemes for the Home Decorator” by Stephanie Hoppen.

I know what you’re thinking. I must have gone ’round the “cranberry bend” because what does home decoration have to do with today’s topic? Let me explain. Cranberry and orange aren’t just edibles — they’re colors, too, and they look fabulous together! Get your cranberry on with help from Stephanie Hoppen’s colorful advice.

  • “Time for Cranberries” written by Lisl H. Detlefsen, illustrated by Jed Henry.

Why should adults have all of the cranberry reading fun? This informative picture book explains what a cranberry harvest is like (floating berries equal awesome sauce), and it gives kids a chance to learn how food gets from farm to table.

  • “Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens” by Andrew Beahrs.

Mark Twain — and cranberries? Trust me, there’s a connection. While touring Europe during the winter of 1879, Twain found himself longing for American cuisine. He decided to write down a fantasy menu of sorts, and while some of his choices might not sound appealing to today’s readers — frog, possum, sheepshead and croakers (two forms of seafood, by the way) — others are very familiar like roast turkey, Thanksgiving-style and cranberry sauce. Andrew Beahrs digs into the lost foods on Twain’s menu in this unique read.

  • “Washington’s Cranberry Coast” by Sydney Stevens.

The state of Washington has its very own cranberry history. Check out Sydney Stevens’ book for a berry fascinating read.

Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries. Email her at