Developing a New Tradition
Several years ago my hair stylist (OK, it was really just the woman who cuts my hair…but hair stylist sounds better) and I were talking about traditional recipes for holiday dinners. She said: “I always made traditional cranberry sauce until I found a recipe that sounded really weird but good and I decided to give it a try. My family loved it and never guessed what was in it!”
I asked her what made it so different and she said, “It’s Pork Rind Cranberry Sauce. And, before you say you wouldn’t like it–I promise it’s delicious.”
I was somewhat incredulous and asked about the recipe. She said, “You cook cranberry sauce just like always. Then, you stir in the pork rinds. It gives it a different taste, but nothing you can quite identify. My kids were absolutely crazy about it.”
I asked if the sauce had a different texture and she said no, that the pork rinds mixed right in. She made me promise I would try it some time, even if I didn’t think I would like it. I said I would, but would probably also make the regular kind. She said, “You wait and see. People will eat more of this kind.”
I had already walked out of the beauty shop, but the recipe was on my mind and I turned back and interrupted her while she was cutting someone else’s hair. I asked her how much of the pork rinds she put in the sauce. She said, “Not a lot, just enough for flavor. About a fourth cup for a regular recipe, but you can adjust that to taste. I just buy those little bottles of port wine at the liquor store.”
That was the first time I heard her clearly–and also the first time I realized the recipe she gave me was not for Pork Rind Cranberry Sauce, but for Port Wine Cranberry Sauce. Big difference.
Now you see why I stick to traditional recipes.
Note: As some of you may have noticed, this is a repeat of an article I wrote last year. I received several requests for it this year and thought I should publish it before the holidays were packed away. (Apparently it’s amusing to read about someone else’s crazy mistakes.)