What did the student say when the teacher asked Why do we have a Thanksgiving holiday?
‘So we know when to start Christmas shopping!’

Kids say the darndest things. But for President Jefferson a federal Thanksgiving proclamation was the most ridiculous idea ever. Little did he know that it would be celebrated with such fervor two hundred years later.

As the occasion here is Thanksgiving, we owe it to Sarah Josepha Hale of “Mary had a little lamb” fame that Americans get a holiday in the fourth week of November. The ardent magazine editor campaigned for twenty years before she convinced Abraham Lincoln to announce Thanksgiving a national holiday. On Thanksgiving we may not have a little lamb, but a big juicy turkey along with other tasty delicacies usually do the trick.

Stars of the Thanksgiving feast

The usual savory delights of the traditional feast feature creamy potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, salted nuts and pudding, with turkey of course being the star of the show. Around 88 to 91 percent of Americans dine on turkey. In the US, about 280 million turkeys – minus one – are sold for Thanksgiving celebrations. And do you know what’s up there in sales with turkey? cranberry sauce, yams and chocolate. How can any celebration be complete without chocolate? Whether you buy it as a gift or make it a part of your menu, there is nothing like chocolate that brings everyone together.

The Royal tradition of giving

The tradition of giving chocolate as a special gift dates back to the time when chocolate was considered ‘divine food’ or ‘food of the gods’. The Aztecs offered it to their kings, warriors and nobility to show respect and endearment. Queen Victoria sent chocolate tins to soldiers in the Boer War. On the tin was a New Year and happy Christmas wish in her majesty’s handwriting.

Coming to the present, you can find chocolates molded to look like turkey and leaves. Even though they may not be from the queen, then again who needs royalty when you get it from someone you love.

Warm up with hot chocolate

What can be better than a large cup of hot chocolate when you wake up on a cold Thanksgiving morning? Not a lot. Start your day with the morning parade or the football game with a cup of hot chocolate and get your energy up before the madness begins. Hot chocolate makes the perfect holiday drink for kids as well. It’s believed that on the first Thanksgiving pilgrims drank beer and wine. While wine remains a staple, other cocktails and chocolate drinks have also become part of the annual feast. Warm drinks with cream and eggs are also a big hit on Thanksgiving.

Hors d’oeuvre absolutely necessary

Appetizers or Hors d’oeuvre are a must on elaborate dinners. Earlier French and Romans would sample bits of fish or vegetables to get ready for the main meal. The wealthy Frenchmen picked on it for their fancy meals and then the Americans followed suit. Now there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to appetizers.

You can start with a sweet appetizer. Everyone comes to the Thanksgiving dinner expecting sumptuous food to devour on. Turkey is a given and in appetizers the usual seasonal fruits and vegetables are expected. So a chocolate recipe can be something different and you can never go wrong with. Surprise your guests with some chocolaty treats to nibble on while the turkey gets its golden tan in the oven. You can try chocolate tarts, cheesy fried chocolate sandwiches, fruits with chocolate dips and much more. The table is your canvas, let your creativity show and wow everyone.

All’s well that ends well!

Take special care to end the luxurious meal on a sweet note. Pumpkin pie is the classic dessert, but you can add a twist by making a chocolate pumpkin cheesecake. If you want to stick to traditions then keep the pumpkin pie as the main dessert and let chocolate be the sidekick. You can go with chocolate fudge, waffles, cinnamon chocolate pudding, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate mud cake. The options with chocolate are endless so give this dinner the perfect chocolaty conclusion.

Some say the best compliment you could give a chef is to leave nothing on the plate. This gesture automatically conveys how good the food was. However, this applies only when you go out to a restaurant. But would it be fair to moms and wives who go through days of planning to put the big meal together? We sometimes take them for granted, and never think what would make them really happy. So the next time your mom or your wife cooks up a meal fit for a king, the least we can do is look them in the eye, say thank you and give them a big hug. This is all they want, appreciation and acknowledgement. How hard can that be.