24 Nov 2015

Archi-Table – Any (cran) Berry Salad

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It’s Thanksgiving. That historic American holiday where we celebrate existence, friendship, family and sharing that may digress into gluttony. Most of your treasured Thanksgiving recipes tempt your culinary skills with different utensils, appliances and some form of basting. But, I’ve been banished from cooking since the early 1990’s because of an unfortunate incident with a wok, cayenne pepper & a computer. I won’t share the entire story here, but it is a story worthy of a future blog article. So, my holiday recipe swap is a family favorite that requires NO skill, heated appliances or cayenne pepper. This recipe is my mom’s Cranberry Salad.


Archi-Chef’s Tips:

  • Servings: I double the recipe because the family enjoys this dish and sometimes I spill it during preparation. Doubling the recipe covers my consumption and commotion.
  • Cranberries: the recipe “allows” frozen cranberries but always choose fresh — especially if you harvest them yourself. Place the cranberries in a colander and shake well — i mean earthquake-shake them. Excess moisture will haunt you on day 2.
  • Pineapple: drain, drain and drain. Do you see the trend here? I press the can lid into the can to squeeze out extra moisture. Again, no excess moisture. Make this dessert in the desert if you can. Do you see what I did there? Despite the temptation to recycle the juice, don’t pour the juice on your wife’s plant. The wife & the plant don’t like it!
  • Walnuts: Knives are too slow so I suggest whirling the walnuts in a food processor. Pounding the nuts with a meat tenderizer is fun, but makes a dreadful mess and will result in kitchen privilege revocation. My wife LOVES walnuts so if I’m in trouble for doing something stupid (like using a meat tenderizer to crush walnuts), I add more walnuts.
  • Marshmallows: Use all white marshmallows. The colored-marshmallows are different flavors and taste terrible with this salad. Save the multi-colored marshmallows for high school Science Project atoms not cranberry salad.
  • Whipped Topping: The tub ready-whip (not the aerosol kind) works fine if you’re in a rush, but for the culinary-talented, consider making your own whipped topping.


  1. Mince cranberries in a food processor. Not too finely.
  2. In a bowl, mix cranberries with the sugar, crushed pineapple and walnuts. Place this mixture in fridge for one hour for flavors to meld and sugar to dissolve completely.
  3. Remove cranberry mixture from refrigerator. Set aside.
  4. Beat the whipping cream into stiff peaks.
  5. Add the marshmallows to the cranberry mixture, until thoroughly incorporated into the mix.
  6. Then slowly fold in the whipped cream, until it’s completely pink and beautiful!
  7. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but overnight is even better.

Archi-Chef’s Tips:

  • Mince: The food processor is a MUST. Don’t chop. Mince and after you mince, mince once more. I like to mince in 3:4 time. La-da-da-da-da, da-da, da-da.
  • Mix: The title proposes this salad can use any berries. Cranberries are my favorite because this is one of our Thanksgiving dishes but if you need a quick summer salad, try blueberries, cherries or both! Avoid blackberries, strawberries and raspberries because they turn to mush and I don’t like the seeds. Remember to earthquake-shake excess moisture off berries before adding the other ingredients. If you feel daring, this is the time to add a little cayenne pepper for a kick.
  • Fold: A patient folding technique is magical. I tried a mixer once. Don’t do that, it’s a bad idea. Trust me!
  • Fridge: You cannot make this dessert too early. The flavors blend better with time. You should make it at least two days before serving but if you’re really feeling randy, make it 7 days before serving.
  • If the dessert seems watery it’s because you didn’t drain excess moisture like I told you. Shame on you for ignoring the architect-with-limited-kitchen-privileges.

Serve and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving from an Architect’s Table.

Architalks Credits

This is another entry in Bob Borson’s blogging brain-child titled, “ArchiTalks”.

The #ArchiTalks goal is to inspire blogging architects with similar educational and professional requirements to opine on the same topic and simulpost their response so other architects and a broader audience can enjoy the rampant thought-diversity within the architecture profession

Select the links in “Architalks Entries” below to read how architects responded to the “The Architect’s Table” topic.

image credits:

Architalks Entries

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Thanksgiving Feast…

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
This Thanksgiving: Something New

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
From My Table To Yours

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
ArchiTalks: Bourbon. Every architect’s friend.

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Archi-Table – Any Berry Salad

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
Hacksgiving – A Hacker’s Thanksgiving

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“From an Architect’s Table” Dolly Brown’s Pumpkin Pie

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Archtalks from an Architects Table

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
ArchiTalk #15: From An Architect’s Table

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
The Architect’s Postmodern Thanksgiving!

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
All In the Family

Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture (@mondo_tiki_man)
From an Architect’s Holiday Table

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
giving thanks and [wine]ing

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
Unplug Tradition

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
An Architect’s OCD Guide to Thanksgiving

About the Author

Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 32 years experience in design, construction observation and life.