Keeping a Good Thanksgiving: Part 8

Part 8: Cranberry Apple Ice

The one Thanksgiving constant in my life, in addition to turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and Now Thank We All Our God, is a delightful dish called Cranberry Apple Ice.

My mother made it every year and on occasion I was drafted to help by turning the handle on the old manual food mill smashing the cranberries. I brought the recipe along into my marriage and my wife made it every year and now daughters and sons are making and enjoying Cranberry Apple Ice with Thanksgiving dinner. It is, I respectfully propose, the absolutely perfect accompaniment to turkey, icy cold, crunchy, with a mild sweet taste. In fact, I cannot imagine turkey without it.

There is a back story. My mother’s grandfather, George McCormick, was a man of some wealth before he made disastrous investments in Colorado gold mines that never produced any gold. In my grandfather’s home, before his father lost everything, there was an English cook. I was fascinated. I didn’t know anyone who had a real cook. Some of her recipes made their way to my grandmother and my mother. I assumed that CranberryApple Ice was one of them. So every year I regaled my children with the story of their Great-Great-Grandfather’s English cook and her famous Cranberry Apple Ice recipe. Then one year my mother visited us for Thanksgiving. During dinner my children asked her to tell them about the English cook and Cranberry Apple Ice. “Why, that’s not where it came from at all” she said to their, and my, astonishment. “Where did the recipe come from then?” I asked. ” I cut it out of the Food Section of the New York Times one year,” she explained, providing my children with their own Cranberry Apple Ice story, which they delight in telling every year.

Even though it did not come from the English cook, it will change your life. I promise.

Cranberry Apple Ice
To a saucepan add:
1 bag cranberries
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
Bring to a boil until cranberries pop. Put in food mill and process.
Grate 4 apples (do not cook) and add to cranberry mixture.
Mix and freeze in a 3” deep casserole.
Cut and serve with turkey.


  1. My batch just went into the freezer. I’ve recently added a zest of one lemon to the recipe for a nice zing!

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