Controlling Thanksgiving Stress May Require More Wine

I was perusing a “Less Stress Thanksgiving Prep List” the other day, and it totally stressed me out.

The list had more than a dozen check-off items spanning a period of three weeks, including multiple daily tasks on the last few days before the big feed. On a single sheet of paper, it became crystal clear just how involved that meal can be.

We say “can be” because it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Especially this year, when many people are down-sizing their celebration, might it also be an opportunity to down-size the meal — and save about a gazillion calories?

Instead of both ham and turkey, what if we were to choose just one or the other?

Instead of stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy, how about just one or the other?

Instead of candied yams with marshmallows and that green bean casserole with crispy onions, what of we made just one?

And instead of two or three kinds of pie, what if we selected just one?

There are benefits beyond the calorie savings and the time spent on prep. For one, there would be fewer dishes to wash. For another, there would be an opportunity to enjoy some truly inspired wine pairings.

As an example, if you chose to go with just turkey as the “main course,” you could experiment with two or three (depending on the size of the guest list) different bottlings of Chardonnay, rather than also needing to open a bottle of bubbly or rosé to go with the ham.

Likewise, if you decided on ham over turkey, you could uncork a few bottles of bubbly and try a Champagne, a Prosecco and an American-made sparkler side by side by side.

Fewer side dishes also would keep the wine-and-food pairing more focused. While we love green beans, they would require a nice Sauvignon Blanc as a pairing partner. And while those candied yams may be a holiday tradition, they would need a spicy Gewurztraminer as a pairing mate.

The more dishes you prepare, the more it becomes necessary to take that “smorgasbord” approach with the wine pairings.

So we’re back to square one. If you enjoy all the prep work and serving lots of different dishes, you’re undoubtedly well along on your own checklist.

As for us… we’re cutting back on the sides and opening a few more bottles of wine. This year, more than most, we’ve earned it.

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