my favorite Thanksgiving tradition

chopped cranberries

a mountain of chopped fresh cranberries ready to get folded into the batter of goodness

Now that my mom and I live 3,000 miles apart, we text — a lot. She loves texting. So much so that she often taunts my dad with how easy it is to talk to me because she texts. (He doesn’t text. This is a man who leaves insanely long messages on answering machines, but never uses his cell phone. Ever.) This past Sunday she texted me one of her weekend updates — which more often resemble full emails than quick texts (love you, mom!) — and she said, “I hope I have enough time to bake the cranberry bread, would not be Thanksgiving without it!” [heart emoji]

Cranberry Thanksgiving book

photo courtesy of

We have been making this cranberry bread every Thanksgiving since as long as I can remember. It’s from the back cover of a story my parents used to read to me when I was little called Cranberry Thanksgiving. Amazingly, it’s still in print, the original copyright date is 1971. It’s a classic holiday story of a good guy and a bad guy, with a twist! The guy you think is the bad guy turns out to be the good guy! (Sorry if I just ruined it for you. It’s still a good read.) I absolutely loved the illustrations. I remember them vividly, they were so bright and detailed and delicious. I wanted to eat everything in the book. This is one of the first things I remember baking with my mom, even before the famous chocolate cake, because everything is mixed by hand. My whole family eats it for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. It’s my dad’s hands-down favorite — he’ll pass up everything else for a slice of this. If you have kids, this is a perfect dish to bake with them. I hope it becomes a beautiful Thanksgiving tradition for your family, too.

cranberry bread

the recipe for this cranberry bread is older than I am — and that’s hard to do

From the book: Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wendy Devlin, Harry Devlin


  • 2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel (*you can use fresh zest or dried peel)
  • 3/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 1/2 c. light raisins (*light raisins look better than dark, but if you only have dark don’t stress about it)
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped (*I find a mini food processor or hand chopper is best for this)


1. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

2. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries.

3. Spoon into a greased 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

* = my commentary, not included in the original recipe

2 thoughts on “my favorite Thanksgiving tradition

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s