“This truly is an admirable little berry, tart in complexion, and sure to be an easy way to get the ladies smashed if you mix it with vodka.”
~Sir Walter Raleigh
A week from Thursday, all of us will take a well earned break to drink, watch football and/or cook, and gain a solid 10 pounds of turkey weight before falling into a food coma that will go unrivaled until next year. That’s right, Thanksgiving is upon us, a day when we as Americans reflect about all the things we are thankful about. The top of the list generally is “Being Amrrrican”, and that’s because you’re proud, and you should be. We as a nation devour billions of pounds of turkey each year, and Thanksgiving is one of the reasons why we’ve inbred those flightless birds to the point where they peak at the mental capacity of a lima bean.
But, as much as Turkey is championed as the staple of American Thanksgiving deliciousness (and it will be getting its own fact of the day at some point, fear not loyal readers), there is one seemingly insignificant little berry that has enough America per square inch that when you squeeze it, it leaks out 1/3 of the colors of the American flag. It can be mixed with your booze, and it can be served gelatinously from a can, and no matter what, it is delicious, and it is American.
We of course are referring to the cranberry.
Seen here markedly improving very shitty liquor.
The cranberry, or the “man, let’s add some sugar to this thing, it’s kind of tart” berry as it was originally called by Algonquin tribes before the arrival of the pilgrims, grows on evergreen dwarf shrubs, which mean they are directly linked to not only Thanksgiving, but Christmas as well. Harvesting and selling cranberries began to become prevalent in the United States in the early 1900’s. While cranberries were recognized for their nutritional properties, the real reason for the original boon in cranberry sales stemmed from the fact that, around this time in American evolution, a percentage of American women started to dislike the taste of whisky and bourbon. While it was unfortunate enough that they no longer enjoyed the most American of liquors, the significant drop in female drinking led to lower birthrates across the nation. This was a grave crisis until an enterprising George Washington Carver discovered that the cranberry, when turned into a sweet juice and added to vodka, could make alcohol enjoyable for even the most whisky-hating Female-Icans. Bars began to flourish across the country, and the notion of “Ladies Nights” at clubs was invented.
Additionally, cranberries were able to appeal to the palate of the American male when Ocean Spray developed a way to turn cranberries into overly sweetened Jelly that you can just dollop on whatever the fuck you want. The original Ocean Spray slogan of, “Cranberry sauce, because you’re a fucking man, and your woman made the turkey too fucking dry” resonated with the 1930’s American male consumers, and cranberry sales boomed.
Pictured above: America’s interpretation of nature.
Despite its many uses, cranberries remain to this day associated with Thanksgiving. Turkey has competition, with some insane, potentially foreign families, eschewing the traditional turkey or turkey derivative to eat a roasted ham on Thanksgiving instead (you know who you are, and my God have mercy on your souls). But every household in America will be forced to serve at least one, and possibly several, different types of cranberry sauces or cranberry products. Because every American household has a fail-safe switch that will cause the home to implode if a Thanksgiving goes by without any cranberries consumed (let’s just say that the cranberry lobby is very powerful, and are not to be fucked with).
Cranberries have anti-oxidants, motherfucker. Anti-oxidants are an American invented term, which is based on the word “placebo”. And cranberries are chalked full of them, which are supposed to help boost the immune system and help fight off future cancers, just like the best placebos American medicine has to offer. This is why Americans can serve artificially sweetened cranberry products and convince themselves they’re eating healthily, even when they’ve just finished a meal consisting of 10 pounds of turkey, two pounds of mashed potatoes doused in gravy, a pound of stuffing, and about a six pack of beer. Ronald Reagan used to eat cranberries every day, calling them “Reds” and pretending that he was grinding communists in his jaws every time he chewed.
So when Thanksgiving arrives, while you’re stuffing your face with America, to celebrate America, with all your fellow righteous Americans, save some space for a little side heaping of America. In cranberry form.
Because seriously, that cranberry sauce in a can stuff is so fucking good you guys, I’m gonna slather that all up on some leftover turkey sandwhiches like woah.