Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy and Spiced Sausage Dressing /

What to pair with Thanksgiving dinner? A major rave

Right on the heels of my minor rant about the San Francisco Chronicle’s food and wine pairing advice comes some fabulous advice from the Chron’s Jon Bonné about what to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. Bottom line? Drink what you like, says Bonné.


As Bonné points out, the Thanksgiving meal is fraught with contradictory and competing flavors. Mild turkey with meaty gravy. Sweet sweet potatoes. Tart cranberry sauce. Vernal green beans. It’s a total mish-mosh. (Who invented this ridiculous meal, anyway?) Find a wine that’s supposedly perfect with one dish and it’ll probably wreak havoc on another.

So why worry about it? As Bonné points out, “No one’s going to put you in wine jail.” (In my food and wine pairing cookbook, “100 Perfect Pairings,” coming out in April, I mirror the sentiment, saying “there are no food and wine pairing police.”)

Bonné goes on to make a grab-bag of Thanksgiving wine suggestions, slightly hedging away from his original, drink-what-you-like premise.

But he redeems himself by proposing that we put our wine neuroses in a box – not just for Thanksgiving, but for the remainder of 2009.

I say, let’s put it in a box, pack it up, and ship it off to Antarctica, forgetting that neuroses for good.

I mean, food and wine pairing shouldn’t be some ideal that makes us crazy, that if we work and strive toward hard enough, we’ll finally achieve. If anything, food and wine pairing should be an arena to play in. Not a burden, but something to explore and enjoy.

So this holiday – and always – be thankful for whatever’s in your glass and, for turkey’s sake, don’t stress about it.

Cheers to you, Jon, and a happy Thanksgiving to all!

(Pictured, Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy and Spiced Sausage Dressing, from my second “100 Perfect Pairings” cookbook, which I’m working on now and which will be released in spring of 2011. I recommend it with Gewürztraminer.)

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