Monday, November 20, 2017

All The Fixings: Linger (The Cranberries)

The Cranberries: Linger

Continuing my sub-theme of Thanksgiving foods that I didn’t like as a child but do now, we turn to cranberry sauce. Growing up, my best recollection of this staple side dish was a thick cylinder of bright red jiggly jelly, lying on its side on a plate, still bearing the indentations of the can from which it had been extruded. There was never any sense that this was a food that could be prepared from natural ingredients; instead, it was almost like a prop, put on the table because it was supposed to be there, not because there was any sort of clamor for it.

Then, I had my wife’s homemade cranberry sauce (see picture above), created from a bag of actual cranberries, and treated as a (near) equal to the other dishes that graced our Thanksgiving table. Sure, it was still bright red, and sure, it was still sweet, but it looked like actual food that a person would want to eat, not some sort of alien goop in tube form. There was a freshness, a tartness, and even some texture to the dish. And therefore, it helped to set off the richness of the turkey, gravy, potatoes, stuffing and other items that fought for space on my too small plate. Mix up a piece of white meat turkey, with a forkful of cornbread sausage stuffing and crown it with a dollop of crimson cranberry sauce, and you have created something sublime.

Of course, the chosen song really has nothing to do with Thanksgiving at all—it is a lament about the feelings that remain after a love has betrayed you—but it is one of my two favorite songs by the Cranberries, an Irish band from the 90s, fronted by Dolores O’Riordan, who has a beautiful voice and a thick Irish accent. I remember when they came out, thinking that they pretty much sounded like the Sundays, an English band from the slightly earlier 90s, fronted by Harriet Wheeler, who has a beautiful voice and an English accent (although I think she may be of Irish heritage). A quick search of the Internet indicates that I’m not the only one who has made this comparison. Both bands also had some early success, then sort of faded from public consciousness.

I could have chosen to write about the other song I like by the band, the more rocking “Dreams,” but thought that there was a tenuous connection to the Thanksgiving dinner table, where we would all “Linger.” Unless there was a good football game on.

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