A Thanksgiving Recipe for Fans of NPR – and Chicago’s Spa Space

A Thanksgiving Recipe for Fans of NPR – and Chicago’s Spa Space

We know from conversations we hear floating around the spa in downtown Chicago that some of our clients are faithful fans of NPR – that National Public Radio, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure yet. NPR is probably best known for its news shows but there’s also a really funny “news quiz” show called Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me that is recorded right here in Chicago. That’s definitely the favorite among the techs and massage therapists here at Spa Space (could it be that our sense of humor is part of the reason we’ve been voted best spa in Chicago?).

Anyone who has ever listened to “Morning Edition” on Chicago’s public radio station – WBEZ 91.5 FM – at this time of year has probably heard Susan Stamberg talk about her mother-in-law’s recipe for cranberry relish. “It sounds terrible but tastes terrific,” Stamberg has said countless times when talking about the Pepto Bismol-pink dish. It’s a perennial favorite – on the air and at the Stamberg Thanksgiving dinner table, at least.

Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish

2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed
1 small onion
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar (“red is a bit milder than white”)

Grind the raw berries and onion together. (“I use an old-fashioned meat grinder,” says Stamberg. “I’m sure there’s a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind — not a puree.”)

Add everything else and mix.

Put in a plastic container and freeze.

Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. (“It should still have some little icy slivers left.”)

The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink. (“OK, Pepto Bismol pink. It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It’s also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef,” Stamberg says.)

Makes 1 ½ pints.

Listeners may think of Susan Stamberg and her family when the recipe is mentioned but, according to NPR, Stamberg’s mother-in-law got the recipe from a 1959 New York Times clipping of Craig Claiborne’s recipe for cranberry relish. As they report, “In 1993, Claiborne told Stamberg: ‘Susan, I am simply delighted. We have gotten more mileage, you and I, out of that recipe than almost anything I’ve printed.’”

If you try the recipe, please let us know how it turns out the next time you visit Spa Space, (we may be one of the most innovative spas in Chicago, but there are some traditions that we’re in no rush to give up – like good ol’ cranberry sauce!).

Spa Space in downtown Chicago will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. We hope you enjoy the holiday with your family and friends!