Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Old Warlock's Fruit-Sweetened Cran-Grape Sauce

I adore cranberries—here at Witch Central (North), they're a wintertime staple—but most standard cranberry preparations involve truly toxic amounts of refined sugar. Fruit-sweetening seems a smart (to say nothing of aesthetically-preferable) alternative.

To palates accustomed to commercial cranberry sauces, the fruit-sweetened variety can at first seem overwhelmingly tart. (Unsurprisingly, witches value tartness, both behavioral and gustatory.) If you find that this is true for you, just up the proportion of grapes to cranberries.


Old Warlock's Fruit-Sweetened Cran-Grape Sauce


12 oz. (1 bag) fresh cranberries

1 generous bunch table grapes (red, white, or purple)

apple cider

pinch salt


Pick over the cranberries and wash them. Wash the grapes and stem them.

In a large, non-reactive pot, or slow-cooker, stew the fruit with just enough apple cider to cover the bottom of the pot, and a pinch of salt. (A little salt always brings out the sweetness, my grandmother used to say.) Cook until the fruit falls apart. You may need to help the grapes out a little with a potato masher.

Run the resulting puree through a food mill, or push it through a sieve, to catch the skins. Stir well or whisk to homogenize the texture; then refrigerate. The sauce will thicken as it chills.

Serve and enjoy. Happy eating to you and yours, from one witch to another.






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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Saturday, 21 November 2020

    I never cared for cranberry sauce myself, not home made and certainly not the canned variety. Now there are craisens in the store. These are supposedly dried cranberries. I like them in my salads and I enjoy adding them to beef stew. If I ever get around to making a homemade mince pie I'll put them in that also.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 22 November 2020

    In one of his early "Letters from America," Aleister Cooke, describing Thanksgiving to a British audience, described cranberries as being "an acquired taste."

    But then, non-Americans tell me the same thing about peanut butter.

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