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NPR Holiday Leftovers Presents: Nina Totenberg's Cranberry Sauce

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We began a series last week in which some of our colleagues here are invited to share family holiday recipes. Linda Wertheimer talked about her family leftover turkey tacos but said her plans this year were thrown off by her Thanksgiving dinner host.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

LINDA WERTHEIMER, BYLINE: We went to Nina Totenberg's house for Thanksgiving. And she had the most wonderful dinner. It was really a good dinner. But she did not give me any turkey to take home.

SIMON: (Laughter) You know, quite unwisely, I added my own small jest, which I'm too mortified to repeat because we are joined now, in the holiday spirit of equal time, by NPR's legendary legal affairs correspondent and legendary host Nina Totenberg.

Nina, thanks so - and I just want to say, many's the night my family and I have left your house with a whole saddle of lamb that you prepared for us. And so much food we have to have a camel caravan to bring it all...

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: (Laughter) Yes, but you're not married to Fred Wertheimer. And Fred Wertheimer wanted to go home to see the Redskins-Dallas game. And so they hustled out of there at the end of dinner. And then...

SIMON: Yeah, then...

TOTENBERG: She didn't...

SIMON: You wake up and you hear your friend...

TOTENBERG: I wake up and I hear my friend, my darling, beloved friend saying I didn't offer her any turkey. And in fact, I was about to call her and offer her turkey, but it was too late.

SIMON: Yeah, you called our show instead.

TOTENBERG: I called the show.

SIMON: When we get a call from Nina Totenberg, we assume, oh, my gosh, we've got something wrong about the Supreme Court.

TOTENBERG: Yeah, no, no, no, no.

SIMON: Now, do you have a recipe for us, a family recipe?

TOTENBERG: I have my own recipe, and then I'll give you David's recipe. And that's...

SIMON: David is your husband.

TOTENBERG: David is my husband, and he is by far the superior cook...

SIMON: This - OK.

TOTENBERG: But my recipe is actually cranberry sauce - not Susan Stamberg's. And it is really simple.

SIMON: Yeah, open the can (laughter) - sorry.

TOTENBERG: No, it's not open the can. There is a trick to it. And you just get the cranberries and, you know, you put in one cup of water. And then I put in one-third the amount of sugar that they recommend. And then I cut up a bunch of oranges and I put that in, too. And I boil the whole thing for a couple of minutes and put it in the refrigerator, and it's delicious. And it's not too sweet.

SIMON: Yeah. Oh, that sounds promising, that's good.

TOTENBERG: So then David's stuffing recipe is you saute two different kinds of hot sausage, and then you saute that with onions, apples. And you put that mush in with...

SIMON: (Laughter) Yeah.

TOTENBERG: That's a term of art. You put that mush in with half cornbread, half regular Pepperidge Farm-type stuffing. And then you just put your combo in, and you use chicken stock to make it moist, and you stuff the bird. I thought it was an enormous success. And obviously, Linda Wertheimer thought it was an enormous success...

SIMON: Sure, she's hungry for it, isn't she?

TOTENBERG: She's still hungry for it. She - you know, I need to go over there and bring her some along with the turkey. And in the end, we had a whole side of a breast, and Connie Mack (ph), the dog, got it instead.

SIMON: NPR's Nina Totenberg, thanks so much for being with us.

TOTENBERG: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.