I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s my mom’s too. It’s a no expectation holiday. No expectation for gifts and no pretending about giant rabbits, men in red suits, flying babies with love arrows, leprechauns; no elaborate Halloween costumes. It’s the only holiday that is completely about food and wine. Of course, it’s also about being thankful, and I am. I am super thankful for amazing food. I am super thankful for amazing wine. I am just super thankful.
My family goes big on this one. It’s generally a group of about 40-50 people, each with unique tastes in Thanksgiving sides, and with such a large group we have no choice but to have everyone contribute a dish or two (some better than others). It’s not Norman Rockwell perfect with china and linens; its buffet insanity with the “good paper plates” and theme napkins.
Everyone comes. Grandma Helen insists on bringing a side, we insist she doesn’t…we lose, and she brings something laughably awful – like lemon jello with cabbage. Aunt Susie, who doesn’t cook, brings something interesting and off-theme like dolmas from the Greek place by her house and a tray of enchiladas from the Mexican place by her house. The rest is standard fare and we can cook. And there is a ton of food – as there should be.
I am expected to cook something fabulous – which I do – and bring the wine. To get through a holiday with this much fantastic chaos it takes a lot of wine. The question is what pairs with this odd assortment of Thanksgiving traditions with hints of Greek, and Mexican, and weird? I always fall back on my instincts which is: “Who cares?” Drink what you like. As much as I believe in food and wine pairing – now is not the time. I bring it all. Moscato to open the day (I like to spike it with a splash of St. Germain), easy-drinking Super T and Zinfandel for the red lovers and Chardonnay and Fiorella for those who want something lighter. I am considering Torrontes this year as well – because I like it.
Football is on the TV.
Conversation is hilarious and enjoyable as it always is with my family.
My grandma makes an announcement that she wants us to go around the room and name what we are thankful for: My mom starts with something sappy, like how she loves having her family together, and is thankful for that. My sister Clara responds to my mom by saying, “you love us for the wine we bring.” My sister Jessica (who is young and gorgeous – for the record) says she is thankful for her new bangs because now she doesn’t look as old and ugly. My brother Andrew says, “You still look old and ugly.” We laugh. The exercise obviously falls apart and, although it doesn’t go the way my grandma envisioned, we all quietly agree with my mom. It is nice to have the family together. No expectations. Glasses are raised, laughter’s abundant.
I am super thankful for amazing food and wine, but mainly I am just super thankful (but as always, bring on the wine).
*All photos courtesy of Michelle Vener*
–Do you have any special Thanksgiving traditions?