Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. If you ask me, Thanksgiving is observed at the wrong time of the year and would be much better received if it occurred in February, because nothing ever happens in February.
Such a change would afford some separation between Halloween and Christmas. As it is now, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all blend into a blob of Hallowthanksmas.
Much has changed since that first Thanksgiving celebrated in 1621, when, with only a 50 percent survival rate, those surviving a year after their arrival on the Mayflower in 1620 really did have something to celebrate.
They would not have been so fortunate had it not been for the aid given by Native Americans teaching them to grow corn, squash and pumpkin and exploit native game.
There is no indication the original settlers continued to hold annual Thanksgiving feasts. It wasn’t until 1789 that George Washington, under the new constitution, declared Nov. 26, 1789, as a day for giving thanks.
This day was not set in stone. Subsequent presidents declared days of Thanksgiving somewhat at will. From 1815 until 1863, no president issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation.
In 1863, President Lincoln made it an official holiday, declaring that subsequent Thanksgiving Days would be celebrated the fourth Thursday in November.
Early Thanksgivings were an extension of harvest celebrations, but with global warming and overnight shipping, what does the modern day Thanksgiving celebration have to do with harvest? Are turkeys not available year-round? Are cranberries not available in the frozen food section any time they are needed? Can Halloween pumpkins, aka gourds, not last indefinitely — or at least until February?
There is precedent for changing the Thanksgiving celebration date. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date to the third Thursday in November, but this was never a popular move. Members of Congress dubbed the new date “Franksgiving.” In 1941, the celebration date was returned to the fourth Thursday.
Hopefully, your Thanksgiving preparations are underway and your turkeys are thawed. If preparations haven’t been made, gentle readers, various grocery stores and restaurants might at this late date be able to assist. A check with Publix catering indicated they will take orders with 24 hours notice, as long as supplies last.
Reservations at local popular eateries are likely out, but it never hurts to try. If all else fails, you might consider a less traditional meal paired with one of the following wines:
Champagne Veuve Clicquot NV Yellow Label. Likely the most ubiquitous French Champagne in America. Widely available in all local wine outlets. Best price is $43.28 at Sam’s. Champagne is excellent for starting any celebratory occasion. This is a spritely bubbly with layers of white fruit flavors and brioche aromas. Pairs lovely with crab cake appetizers, but in the absence of crab cakes, popcorn or potato chips will work.
Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay. $13.99 at Publix. Hits the mark right in the middle on the chardonnay scale of buttery vs. dry. Aged in a combination of new French oak barrels and used American oak barrels, with the other 50 percent in stainless steel, this is a crisp and vibrant wine. Fruit dominates, but there is a round mouthfeel with flavors of vanillin and tropical fruit. Excellent with turkey, but in a pinch also excellent with Popeye’s fried chicken.
Boom Boom Syrah 2014. $14.48 at Sam’s. Washington state wine from Charles Smith who also created the ever popular House Wine. Smith, though still involved in the brand, sold Boom Boom along with others to Constellation Brands for a cool $120 million in 2016. Approachable dark berry flavors, bacon aromatics, infinitely drinkable red that should pair well with dark turkey meat, or your Thanksgiving Big Mac.
Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port. $18.75 at Tyson Fine Wine and Things in Anniston. Fortified wine from Portugal that should be consumed in small amounts with dessert, especially if it is chocolate or cheese. Pairs well with pumpkin pie or chocolate cake, but also works with s’mores.
Pat Kettles writes about wine and spirits every other Wednesday. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.