My grandmother always had a loaf of cranberry bread in her freezer to have ready when we requested it. We loved it. "I want cranberry bread, Grandma!" It reminds me of her home in Missouri and her kitchen, in which she was always preparing good meals for us. Comforting food. Old-fashioned home-cooking. She served this bread for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and usually included small tins with her holiday baskets filled with goodies that she made for family and neighbors. Sometimes, she baked in tin cans, giving the bread a nice round shape. Sadly, my grandma doesn't remember how to bake anymore--having succumbed to the slow progression of Alzheimer's--but she does remark, "I think I used to make something like this!"
It's recipes like this bread that provide a special connection through the generations and a sense of continuity with those that have come before us. It's important for me to preserve these family culinary traditions, passing them along and keeping the memories alive. My grandma's memories may be gone, but a portion are still alive with me and my family to enjoy and cherish and share with our children.
So, with a theme of Traditional Feasts, I am going to contribute this post to the Monthly Mingle blog event, and pass on this traditional recipe to others as well. Enjoy! Continue for bread recipe.
Grandma's Cranberry Bread
Yield: 2 loaves
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cups cranberries, sliced round or coarsely chopped (or closer to 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup nuts (I like walnuts)
1 tablespoon orange rind, or a bit more
juice of one orange plus enough boiling water to make one cup liquid (or 1 cup orange)
1. Sift first five ingredients together twice. (Alternatively, pulse in food processor.)
2. Add shortening to cup of hot juice (it should melt some); add eggs and rind.
3. Add juice mixture to dry ingredients; fold together.
4. Add chopped nuts and cranberries.
5. Bake at 350 degrees until edges start to color and toothpick inserted comes out clean. (This is roughly 30 minutes, more or less, for 2 loaf pans).