The Rarest Fruit In All The Land

So I have to apologize to the internet for being away all weekend. I really meant to post something over the holiday, but in great showdown between me and a head cold, the head cold won. Rhiannon and I made our first Thanksgiving dinner together on Saturday, and quite the meal it was for two people – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, buns, cranberry salad and pumpkin pie. Neither Rhiannon nor I had ever made a turkey before – but this was not the most difficult part of the meal.

It was the cranberry salad. The actual salad making: a breeze. The acquiring of one of the salad ingredients: frustrating. The salad is not complex. It consists of crushed pineapple, cool whip, marshmallows, and chopped cranberries. It’s pretty much a generic fruit salad with Thanksgiving flavor. Except the people at King Soopers don’t like the Thanksgiving flavor, they don’t carry the Thanksgiving flavor, and they don’t really know what the Thanksgiving flavor is.

We wanted one bag of whole fresh cranberries. We visit King Soopers regularly and like to think we know where most things will be. Neither of us recalled ever seeing cranberries. That’s ok, it’s a seasonal thing and everyone knows where that kind of stuff is, right? No. After walking the every aisle of the store (cranberries weren’t in the magazine aisle, I checked) we asked a cashier.

For the record, Rhiannon asked, because I don’t like to do that sort of thing.

“We’re looking for a bag of Ocean Spray cranberries.” “Um, [pause] I don’t think we really have anything like that. Maybe the deli would have some fresh cranberries.”

I don’t think this woman knew what a cranberry was outside of the can of red stuff you cut into slices.

The deli had several types of cranberry foods – jellies, salads, relishes - everything but plain, real, whole cranberries. The guy there was of equally little help. He was more than ready to sell us any of the prepared foods there, but when asked about real cranberries, he was also uninformed. I don’t think he understood what we were talking about. He suggested the fresh foods section, which was where we had started our own search.

(Side note: How did they make all the cranberry-based food items if they don’t know what cranberries are? It makes me wonder what I’m eating in prepared food sometimes.)

We walked through the fresh foods section – the one worker blankly staring at the vegetable misters inspired very little confidence so we didn’t even ask. We got the rest of our food and left.

I was beginning to think fresh cranberries were going to be a mythical item here, much like Crème de Menthe. (If you’ve heard of it, congrats, because Colorado grocery stores sure haven’t.)

We called another store. (Again, by we, I mean Rhiannon called.)

Us (Rhiannon): “Do you have and Ocean Spray whole cranberries?” – cringing and waiting for a response of ignorance. Customer service: “Yes.” Us: “No, maybe you didn’t hear correctly. Whole cranberries – round things, kind of red, in a bag.” CS: “Yes, we have them.” Us: “And when you say you have them, you don’t mean we’re crazy and you’re calling the psych ward to come get us?” CS: “Right, we have Ocean Spray cranberries.” Us: “If we weren’t already married to each other, we would so marry you instead. In fact, that doesn’t even matter. Just come live with us. And bring cranberries.” CS: “I’m hanging up now and strongly considering calling the psych ward you mentioned. Please don’t call here again.”

We went to the store and realized in our excitement that we never asked where the cranberries were. So, my idea was to wander rather than ask any more questions. We wandered right to them in about 3.2 seconds. (The bright neon lights and dancing girls around the display helped to draw attention. At least Rhiannon’s attention. I’m not much for those dancing girls.) We bought two bags, just in case it was all an illusion.

Best cranberry-salad-we-almost-didn’t-get-to-make ever. And the other food was good too.