This was the first time that we did not have the entire family together for quite a while, but we did the best that we could do. Thanksgiving has always been likened to the center of a hurricane, because there is just so much activity and pressure. There is the extra and deep cleaning that occurs, before all the holidays and parties arrive. With my entire career in retail the month of December had a tremendous increase in the amount of hours I would work, so there was the desire to get all of the shopping done, so that if I did have some free time, it wasn’t spent shopping, a busman’s holiday is not something to look forward to. My Bride is to be commended, as I try to stay out of her way. The day before Thanksgiving, she goes to the Post Office to mail the Christmas and Chanukah cards with newsletters inserted, the parcels for all the out of town gifts are also posted at that time. All of the gifts for families, friends, coworkers have been all wrapped and bundled into groups; which means that by the time the big day arrives, all of the bills have been paid as well, she is very organized.
She also has selected the menu for the Thanksgiving dinner as well and has shopped for it. My job is to schlep the items that we only use occasionally in the kitchen, like the roaster, and that is set up in the library, just to keep the electric circuits from having too much strain. Some of the side dishes she prepares ahead of time and the house smells even more delightful for several days in advance. As soon as we get up on Thanksgiving Day, she begins making the turkey, which is always around twenty to twenty-four pounds (which seems to be the maximum size that we can fit in the roaster). She stuffs the bird, and sews up the cavities, she puts butter under the skin, props the wings and the legs with onions and gets the bird into a cooking bag and then into the roaster. Then it is time for coffee and the morning paper, and I must say that even though the daily paper is out and out liberal, they do become staunch capitalists on Thanksgiving Day when the price of a paper goes from $2.00 to $5.00 a copy and there is even less journalism than usual apparent. I did keep all of the rotogravure section of the paper together, because I knew that after dinner, the shoppers would decide on their battle plans for Black Friday. Now back to the menu, the stove was slowly being filled up with different dishes, some in the oven and some on the ranges. She also made a very large roasted pork tenderloin, along with Armenian Pilaf, sweet potatoes, Brussel Sprouts sautéed in bacon and drizzled with aged Balsamic, a whole big pot of her stuffing that wouldn’t fit in the turkey, and gravy made from the drippings. There were also dishes brought in by the family. And let us not forget all of the assorted cakes, pies and cookies, of course there was a Birthday cake for the November celebrants. My Bride and I always have discussions about when the food should be done, we tell everyone to come at two, so that dinner can be at three, I had the turkey and the pork carved (my big job of the day), by the time the first guests arrived. Then all of the appetizers had to be set out. Of course, I was already quite full, because you know that the carver has to check on the meats from different cuts, to make sure that everything is OK, and I am quite zealous about that.
The Louisville clan could not make the trip and then the wines get even more interesting, but with all of the work involved, I forgot to go pick some wines, but there are plenty of wines, where ever one looks basically in this house. I also took it upon myself to do some proselytizing for new wine drinkers from the crowd that really doesn’t drink wine. I was trying to teach them how to taste wine, and I had to keep stopping them from drinking the wine as if it was beer. As I finally got them to slow down and whistle some air over their tongue and chew the wine before drinking, they had a bit of wonder in their eyes, as they finally kind of discovered the complexities of wine that they had not noticed before, when in a drinking type of mode. Of course, the working hosts started the holiday off a bit early, with all of the pressure and strain of the day, we needed something like and easy and would work well, if and when our guests began arriving, with the appetizers. The Joseph Carr Josh Cellars Chardonnay 2018 is a wine that I never worry about, as it is always fresh, citrusy with a touch of oak/butter in the mix. Joseph Carr began in 2005 making his line of wines, representing the best of vineyards for a California version of the classic French wines. In 2007 he created the Josh Cellar line to represent California wines in a more relaxed, and affordable price range and named this collection after his father. The fruit for this wine comes from both Mendocino and Monterey counties, both respected for producing quality Chardonnay grapes. Joseph Carr is part of the much larger Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, and as an interesting side note, Joseph Carr lives in Cape Cod when he is not making wine. I decided to try some of the wines that I had just wrote about, to see what we may need for December, as if we need to buy any wine, unless I take her to a tasting. The first of the club wines that I opened was a bottle of Tenuta Neirano Le Croci Barbera D’Asti Superiore DOCG 2016. The Sperone family has been making affordable wines for four generations, originally in Puglia and in 1983 they purchased seventy-five acres in the Piedmont. The fruit for this wine came from Le Croci (The Crosses) vineyard and the wine is entirely Barbera. The fruit is hand harvested and has three weeks of maceration and four weeks of fermentation in Stainless Steel. The juice is then aged for one year in small oak cask and then an additional six months in the bottle before it is released. This wine showed great tannins and a rich nose and taste of black cherry and dark fruit, which I would expect. A pleasurable and affordable wine that worked well with dinner. The second wine from my club that I opened was Rabble Wine Company Red Wine 2017 with its distinctive old-world wood cut label. Rabble Wine Company of Paso Robles was founded by Rob Murray and it was originally known as Rob Murray Vineyards and then it became Force of Nature, before settling into its current name. The wine is a blend of seventy-seven percent Merlot, fourteen percent Cabernet Sauvignon and nine percent Petite Sirah and barrel aged for ten months and a potential cellar aging of three to seven years. The fruit all came from their Mossfire Ranch Vineyard which is one of their flagship vineyards for red wine varietals. This wine was really a winner, especially for being affordable, there were dark cherries and dark fruits in the nose and in the finish, that I could even get the novices to notice. The tannins were soft and a nice medium finish of dark fruit and some spice that made one want to have another sip. Well Thanksgiving 2019 is one for the books, and for all of the food we sent off with the different families, we still had some leftovers, and then on the weekend the day came that I look forward to with dread, I had to bring up the thirty cartons of Christmas decorations up from the basement, so that she could get the house changed over from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and yes, I am still among the living.