Today is apparently Cranberry Relish Day for anyone looking for something to celebrate. I wasn’t about to attempt to sketch the actual dish, however, as it just looks like red casualty. And after struggling with stuffing yesterday, I decided to just doodlewash the main ingredient instead. I’m not sure why so many popular Thanksgiving dishes look like mush. From casseroles to mashed potatoes, everything on the plate looks like it’s been put into a blender first. Only the turkey and the bread roll give the plate any sort of contours or detail, but there’s at least the cranberry relish to provide some much-needed color. Truly, if it weren’t for the turkey you likely wouldn’t need a knife and fork at all. The entire meal could be consumed with just a spoon. Perhaps that’s why it was always my favorite as a kid.
When I was young, I never liked food that was super crunchy. I also never liked eating meat that was still on the bone. I didn’t enjoy seeing a physical association with the animal that was being consumed. It all felt rather barbaric. So Thanksgiving dinner was the perfect treat. The turkey was sliced by someone else and everything that remained on the plate was a delicious mixture of various flavors. Of all the dishes, mashed potatoes were my absolute favorite. I loved to create a little lake of gravy in the middle of the mound. This was also the favorite of nearly everyone in my family, so it was best to get as much as you could on the first dollop as there was rarely a chance to have seconds.
These days, I just love all kinds of food and am rarely disturbed by crunchy things or morbid presentation. Yet, here in France, fish is often served whole and so I will usually opt for another protein instead. I don’t care to have my dinner looking back at me. It feels like it’s judging me for consuming it. And that creeps me out. Thanksgiving dinner, however, was blissfully eyeball-free and I loved it. Though it might have been mainly mush, it was our family’s tradition and that made it special. That’s the beautiful thing about food. Sometimes it’s not that it’s an amazing dish, it’s simply a dish served seasonally with love. Delicious because of its rarity. A sign that it’s officially the holiday season, signalled beautifully by just a bit of cranberry relish.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Indian Yellow, Sennelier Red, Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Deep. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with sepia ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.