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Here’s the Famous Real Cranberry Business Recipe From Wonkette!

Richard Nixon on Wonkette's Cranberry Business: 'This cranberry business PUNISHES.'It’s that special time of year when we all give thanks for 25% real unemployment, the never-ending recession and real-estate collapse, terrible schools, broken infrastructure, cops crushing the skulls of our lawfully protesting children, the scent of pepper spray in the air, a group of dangerous psychopaths running for one party’s nomination, and a bunch of mouth-breathing cretins sticking their hands up Granny’s hoo-ha at the airport. And that means we should all gather around the oven and watch Aunt Wonkette make its world-famous boozed-up cranberry sauce!

Each Thanksgiving, we re-post this Holiday Favorite from 2009:

No first lady could even imagine making something as wonderful and perfect as your editor’s famous Wonkette Actual Awesome Real Cranberry Business. It is one of those things that just blows people away, because they assume it must be so hard to make real cranberry relish because why else would we eat that Jell-o’d aspic glob from the can? IT MUST BE SO HARD. No, it isn’t, so stop whining about everything, for once.

This dish takes exactly three minutes to prepare, and another 10 or 15 minutes in the oven, and you don’t even have to think about it. Pre-heat the oven, prepare the cranberries, “slide in the pyrex,” as they say, and just turn the oven off, go outside, enjoy a marijuana cigarette, make snow angels in the trash pile outside the neighboring foreclosure, relax.

Do not forget our other Holiday Recipes for Thanksgiving! Betty Ford’s Chocoholic Icebox Fantasy and Mamie Eisenhower’s Lesbian-Soviet Hockey Rink and Nancy Reagan’s Racial-Transcendence Monkey Bread!

There are many recipes you can find “on the Internet” for fresh cranberry sauce, but you don’t need to do that anymore. Just send this one to your xBox or iPad or whatever and be DONE, done with the search for the ideal cranberry relish recipe.


  • When you’re at the store, get two sacks of fresh cranberries from the produce section. This year, we have found Organic fresh cranberries, for the first time, at the regular supermarket. They are like, a pound each. This will be plenty for eight or so people. Did your relatives refuse to use any kind of birth control, producing a larger family of say, 16 people? Just double the recipe, meaning buy two of whatever, and use twice as much, in the recipe. And “double the recipe” does not mean set the oven to 700 degrees instead of 350. Come on, people.
  • If for some reason you don’t have some basic real cane sugar and a decent bottle of bourbon at home, purchase these things in whatever respectable quantity, so next time (Friday morning) you’ll have this stuff handy. For Buy Nothing Day!
  • Oranges. Buy some of them. Fight Scurvy!

NEXT: Either right now or tomorrow or 30 minutes before carving time — IT DOES NOT MATTER — you wash the cranberries. (The thing that looks like a ’50s space helmet, it is called the colander, fill it with the cranberries and put it under the cold faucet).

Dump said berries in the Pyrex baking dish, like the one people might use for lasagna or baked manicotti. (This is a good time to remove whatever weird stuff the Stephen King characters who pick cranberries might’ve dropped in the bucket: loose teeth, “biker earrings,” etc.) Get the cheese grater and just grate on some sad-but-firm orange, right on the peel, so that the little bits of orange peel fall down upon the lonely berries. It is fine if some bigger chunks — like, half-inch-long shreds, but no bigger than that — fall down there, too. It adds “color” … orange color, in fact. Do this until you’re tired of doing it, at which point there’s probably about three teaspoons’ worth of orange “zest” in the pyrex, with the cranberries. Don’t pick it out and measure it or anything, just show some confidence. For once.

Cut open that poor orange you’ve just Gitmo’d, and squeeze the juice into your cranberry business. Do not drop the orange seeds in there, Jesus christ ….

Now drizzle a couple-five shots of bourbon on the berries. And sprinkle about half a cup of granulated cane sugar over all that. (Generally, cranberry relish recipes call for some insane amount of sugar, like three cups. Do not ruin everything, okay? Using not-so-much sugar produces a tart but still sweet-enough relish that is to be served with savory dishes like turkey and dressing, right? If you want to put this on a peanut butter sandwich, by all means use fifteen cups of sugar and chase it with an “energy drink” or whatever. Let freedom reign.)

Cover the baking dish with foil and put it in the oven. Doesn’t really matter, whatever the oven is set to, which is going to be in the 300-425 range for your general Thanksgiving dishes crowding the oven. You also don’t need to be a dick and start yelling about how somebody needs to move the mac-and-cheese or the brussels sprouts under the broiler (and you SHOULD have simple cut-in-half olive-oil-brushed brussels sprouts under the broiler!) because you must get in your cranberry relish. Anytime is fine, and plus who will be impressed if you keep talking about it, beforehand? They might notice how easy it is to make, and then who are you? You are basically Lou Dobbs Newt Gingrich. So go outside and yell at a Mexican.

Come back inside, and please wash your hands if you were smoking or “playing with the dog” out there, and see what is going on. Are people tense? It is probably time to open a bottle of wine, go ahead and pass around maybe a Petite Syrah, something that will go with maybe some pita chips or apple slices, whatever, try to get people to relax. It is okay to have “Irish Coffees,” too, because it’s daytime.

When the cranberry business is bubbly and the berries have this nice soft-but-firm kind of thing going on, take out the pyrex and let it cool somewhere out of the way. If there’s room in the fridge, you can just put the tray in there once it’s cool to the touch. But there’s no room, jesus just look at all the food in there, plus there are about a million beers for tomorrow, so just scrape it all into something pretty, some kind of thing you might put chutney in, or whatever (ask mom).

Serve and watch how people say, “OMG I only ever had it from a can,” etc.

About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne
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  1. Indiepalin

    NPR must be defunded immediately, for their reckless annual promotion of Susan Stamberg's hideous Cranberry Relish recipe which was described on last Friday's Morning Edition as "the color of Pepto Bismol".

  2. SorosBot

    But I don't like cranberries! And to "enjoy a marijuana cigarette", I'd need to be able to get ahold of marijuana, which I can't.

    1. TanzbodenKoenig

      Go to a restaurant. Ask your waiter/tress. 20 to 1 they got some in their pocket or out in their car, how else do you think they put up with their customers ridiculous bullshit all the time.

    2. Mumbly_Occupado

      I can just go to my local dive bar, apparently.

      I mean, not on Thanksgiving, but. The day before, at least.

    1. karen

      There are only two states an oven could possibly exist in, heated or unheated! Preheated is a meaningless fucking term!

    1. Master Janitor V572

      Ew, gross. Have you seen the result of that recipe? May taste terrific but good luck getting anyone to try it.

      1. chascates

        But the great thing is that after seeing it most people eat very little, leaving tons of leftovers for me!

  3. ManchuCandidate

    Oh you silly US Americans and your pretend Thanksgiving.

    The very least you guys can do is serve this cranberry sauce with Ralpho Nader's "Spineless Corrupt Democraps are the Same as the Bugfuck Insane Assholish even more Corrupt and Really Fucking Stupid GOPers Equivalency" Hummus Dish.

  4. memzilla

    What should we do if the cranberries are sitting peacefully in the dish and linking stems in a non-violent, yet imminently-threatening manner?

    1. Master Janitor V572

      We've forwarded you question to Lt John Pike of the UC Davis campus police for an authoritative answer.

  5. Antispandex

    You forgot perpetual war in your list of things to be thankful for You know how you celebrate perpetual war, right? Gin! Boodles Gin! Just put it in a little tonic with a lime wedge, or drink it straight up, and hurrah war!

  6. Goonemeritus

    “Did your relatives refuse to use any kind of birth control, producing a larger family of say, 16 people?”

    Being Catholic my family for generations has forgone birth control and yet most branches in the family have limited their offspring to one or two. I can only assume we are genetically predisposed to lose interest in sex after a relatively short while.

  7. sezme

    As with every year, it's the Stephen King characters that get me. I really would buy a whole cookbook if all the recipes were written like this.

  8. Sue4466

    As someone who's still making pasta sauce based on a recipe Ken posted back a few months, I will have to try this one out too, I suppose.

    1. MathIsHard

      Ken taught me and Mr MathisHard that brussel sprouts don't suck if you cook 'em right. These are the only green things my old man will actually ask for.

  9. x111e7thst

    I keep drinking all the bourbon before I can pour any on the cranberries. This happens no matter how much bourbon I buy. It is almost like perpetual motion or something.

  10. SexySmurf

    I like cranberry sauce because it also cures urinary tract infections. It's like you're getting a two-fer.

    1. BerkeleyBear

      I like your thinking. If you don't like the orange on orange thing, though, and aren't crazy about bourbon's tannic qualities, you can try something more neutral like rye whiskey (Portland is undergoing a micro-distillery craze, and friends turned me on to some wonderful unoaked (ie clear) sipping rye that I'm guessing would add punch without any off flavors).

    2. 102415

      That's what I used for years, Grand Marnier. Last week I did something different and sliced clementines really thin and added shopped walnuts and sugar to the berries brought it just to a boil and ate it all by myself for about a week with no liquor except in my glass.

    3. Mumbly_Occupado

      May I make a suggestion? Instead of orange juice, Grand Mariner. You're welcome, America.

      Actually, forget the cranberries, too.

  11. OneDollarJuana

    Here's my long-time favorite cranberry sauce recipe:

    Crack a beer. Don't buy any cranberries. Crack another beer.

  12. SayItWithWookies

    After you get all your stuff out of the oven, turn the broiler on, break up a head of garlic but don't peel the cloves, throw them in a small oven-safe container (a two-cup Pyrex measuring cup works) and maybe drizzle a little olive oil on them. Cook 'em until you can poke a knife into a clove, then a little more so they get nice and soft. Take them out and use them to spread on bread or crackers — just scoop out the soft garlic with a knife. Simple, fast and yummy.

    1. Master Janitor V572

      This will shorten the time spent at the Thanksgiving table, or at least the duration of the face-to-face conversations. Excellent!

    2. UpstateYorkee

      Mmmm… fancy alternative, slice the the top of the garlic head off across the bulbs, drizzle with olive oil, encase in foil (put it in a shallow oven-safe dish so if the olive oil bubbles out it doesn't drip on the heat element and set your whole fucking tenement ablaze), and bake for a while. To serve, unwrap and use a butter knife to remove a perfect serving of garlic from the paper (or husk or whatever you call it) and spread. It's about presentation people!

  13. OneDollarJuana

    And Ken. If you're outside "playing with the dog", so to speak, you're going to get arrested for lewd behavior. Jeez, Ken, think of the kids!

  14. user-of-owls

    I don't see "jobs" listed among the ingredients. Thus, Ken, your "business" may not be considered a "job creator" for the purposes of obtaining obscene tax benefits.

  15. Master Janitor V572

    Is there any way to avoid having to be with relatives — or worse yet, relatives of significant others — on Thanksgiving? Help me, please….

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      Three suggestions:
      1) Post sign on front door "Warning: Anthrax"

      2) Arrange to have yourself kidnapped by Martians, Terrorists, or Republicans so that you will host the next thirteen debates. Those are order of OK to really fucking evil.

      3) Sign up to work at a program to feed the poorz. My relatives wouldn't be caught dead there even though they qualify.

    2. 102415

      You can do what I did this year tell one bunch you are going over to the the other place that is out of town and tell them you are going somewhere else. Rinse and repeat. I will see you all here tomorrow.

  16. sbj1964

    Cranberries, have gotten just a little to friendly with other Juices. It must be a Red state right wing plot !

  17. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    No first lady could even imagine making something as wonderful and perfect as your editor’s famous Wonkette Actual Awesome Real Cranberry Business.

    Very true, although Betty Ford did have the bourbon side covered.

  18. qwerty42

    Ken neglected to mention that when adding the "zest" you should avoid the white part of the orange peel. It's kinda bitter. However the recipe is OK. Ken, you didn't denounce Mother Stamberg's recipe this year. Getting sentimental in your old age?

  19. poncho_pilot

    they only had like one hit song and it wasn't even that great of a song but that doesn't mean we should put them in an oven.

    1. SayItWithWookies

      Has Pat Robertson never been to a church potluck? Maybe he's usually so busy divvying up the collection that the mac & cheese is gone by the time he shows up.

    2. Millennial Malaise

      Pat's not the only white person I've encountered who expressed this confusion. Obviously, my friend had eaten mac and cheese, but if it doesn't come from a blue box or is served during the holidays, it somehow becomes "soul food."

      In any case, my version comes spiced with chipotle peppers and is the bomb!

  20. Lucidamente1

    "Come back inside, and please wash your hands if you were smoking or 'playing with the dog' out there." I assume that goes for "sticking your hands up Granny’s hoo-ha at the airport," too.

  21. Mumbletypeg

    I don't remember it being a 'marijuana' cigarette in the earlier versions. Maybe my powers of recall have warped under duress of entertaining the possibility I'm morally weak as the enjoyer of regular old nicotine-ciggies during these culinary stunts of desperation (not puffing in the kitchen of course, I was raised better — outdoors WHILE playing w/ the dog, natch)).

  22. BerkeleyBear

    There's an even simpler version that I do, with basically the same ingredients – take the berries, orange zest and juice (and chunks of orange if you want), run them through your food processor. Add sugar to taste.

    Drink bourbon yourself (none for those greedy bastard relatives of yours, especially the kids).

    Oh, yeah, please perpetuate the myth that alcohol "cooks off" – best side effect of the official Wonkette recipe is that the rugrats might get sleepy.

    1. Trinket

      I just wait until it comes out of the oven and exclaim, "Shit, I forgot the bourbon!" Then I pour it in and stir, and talk about it's so hot and steamy the alcohol will burn right off.

      The danger here is that if you wait to add the bourbon, you might drink it all up before you pull the business out of the oven.

  23. Pat_Pending

    It ain't T-day without that can shaped loaf on the table. Especially the part when it finally slides outta the can with that satisfying ssshhhhwwwwTHLICK sound. Which is kinda like the sound of a TSA agent's hand sliding outta Granny's hoo-ha.

  24. Extemporanus


    - 3 to 4 cups of vodka
    - 1.5 qts cranberry juice
    - 1 large can of frozen lemonade
    - 1 small can of frozen limeade
    - 2 cups of water
    - Mix everything together
    - Freeze overnight (stir occasionally until it sets)

    Serve 3 parts slush/1 part 7-Up in a rocks glass w/ orange slice garnish.

    (But even better is…)


    - 1 qt of brandy
    - 1 can of frozen orange juice
    - 1 can of frozen lemonade
    - Boil 2 cups of water w/ 4 black tea bags
    - Boil 6 cups of water w/ 2 cups of sugar
    - Mix everything together (minus the tea bags, idiot)
    - Freeze overnight (stir occasionally until it sets)

    Serve 3 parts slush/1 part 7-Up in a rocks glass w/ cherry and lime slice garnish.

    (Either one of these sweet little bitches will fuck yer shit up like a women's prison cafeteria Slurpee server with nothin' left to lose but her weave.)

  25. Oblios_Cap

    Crank up the William Burroghs "Thanksgiving Prayer", then play "Alice's Restuarant". Eat some Wonkette cranberries. Watch football. Forget about the GOP debates.

    And on Friday, return to the long dark tea time of the soul.

  26. DahBoner

    But in order to make this, do you have to stand in a bog with a couple of dry-witted New Englanders???

    1. not that Dewey

      Hey Ali

      Not trying to pry, but re: your Dry NYE — is that a one-time thing, or are you quit? For me, NY Day marked the 6-month point. So, it was also my first NYE without liquor. And it felt good, too. Stick with it, and give a shout into the past if you need anything.


      EDIT: Sorry about the weird ironic choice of comments to reply to. I like to sneak into the cobwebbed backrooms of abandoned threads to talk about this, and this one jumped out at me, for some reason.

      1. Tsunami Ali

        This will mark four months for me and congratulations on your own journey – I managed to make the business without slurping down the rest of the fifth of bourbon (although I let my 9 year-old try it and he just about passed out from the burn (and thank god this is anonymous or I'd have the gubmint up in my grill over that one [it was watered down, I swear!]). I thought briefly about bourbon and cokes for new year's and then resolved to not drink at all. And I'm so glad I did – thanks for asking, ntD.

        BTW, if anyone makes this business it is sooo good but next time I'm going lighter on the bourbon – it had a smoky whiskey cask flavor to it that wasn't bad but it was definitely a sipping cranberry sauce.

  27. Redhead

    Awwww, these annual holiday re-posts give me this weird happy nostalgia. Yay for making fun of dead/deceased/crazy first ladies!

  28. MiniMencken

    Thank you very much for the lovely recipe. I will have Agador Spartacus make some up for our dinner tomorrow, if he can read the recipe.

  29. Mumbly_Occupado

    You know what's funny? I completely missed the fact that this was reposted, because I was too busy looking it up for reference.

    Also, I'm presently engaged in attempt to make a persimmon-chestnut torte/pie/thing, for the first time, from scratch, with absolutely zero points of reference for any of the pertainent components. Wish me luck, dear Wonketters. Or, if you could find a recipe I could adapt, that would actually be even better.

    1. Mumbletypeg

      "Luck", & hugs, from RVA my friend.
      I'm sure the torte will turn out fine. Just attempting something from scratch like this surely takes… what was that magic word? Yeah, confidence!

  30. datateday

    I'm going to make this and craft it into the shape of the 'Female head of Wonkette on the top left of the site' of year's past…

  31. 102415

    Here is a stolen recipe for mac and cheese if Condi is coming to your dinner. From someone named sharklaser-chen.
    I haven't tried it yet.
    Let me know.

    Okay, folks! Here we go! Below I have posted an official Black recipe for Mac and Cheese.

    One box Meullars elbow macaroni

    One 16 oz. Bar Cracker Barrel extra sharp cheddar (shredded by hand or cubed)

    One half of another 16 oz bar. of white sharp cheddar (shredded)

    Two eggs

    4 tablespoons salt

    One cup condensed milk

    One stick of butter

    Enough pepper so that you can see it

    Now that we got all the ingredients down, let us examine procedure.

    After boiling the macaroni noodles, drain and place in large bowl. While still hot add (in this EXACT ORDER) the butter, eggs, 3/4 of the milk, the salt and also all of the finely shredded or cubed extra sharp cheddar. Next, stir until the cheese is melted and there is a somewhat thick, slightly orange sauce in the noodles. Now, add the pepper. Add more until the pepper is noticeable. Now stir until well blended and creamy. You can taste it now and it is delicious. Spread in an aluminum pan and top with remaining white shredded cheddar. Drizzle remaining milk over finished product. Bake 20-30 minutes or until top is slightly brown, golden and center bubbles.

    1. Biff

      Sounds wonderful. Way better than the crap I got as a kid, which consisted of:
      whatever elbow mac was on sale,
      welfare cheese, and
      crumbled potato chips on top.
      Like it or lump it, that was dinner for the following 3,572 nights.

  32. Jerri

    This is my second favorite Thanksgiving tradition! Thanks, Ken!
    (The first being watching elderly relatives get tipsy and talk shit.)

  33. Clancy_Pants

    This has been a new tradition of mine since it's first post. It gives me such joy to serve this to my Tea-Bagger in-laws. This year I plan to double the bourbon and say "Mandate" a lot.

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