As you know, Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in the US on the last Thursday of November. Historically, it commemorates when in 1621, the Plymouth colonists - the Pilgrims - and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast of wild turkey, duck, venison, fish; pumpkins, squash, corn, sweet potatoes, and cranberries were grown by the Pilgrims from seeds donated to the settlers by the Indians.
Thanksgiving is a time to get together with friends and family, to reflect and be thankful for everything that has happened this year.
Another reason why Thanksgiving is such a special occasion is the great variety of dishes served, such as the famous roast turkey, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pecan pie. Or perhaps some traditional recipes that have been handed down through the generations in your family.
Getting the table ready
Of course, before feasting on the delicious meal, it is essential to prepare a good table. There are some guidelines to follow when setting everything up; first of all it is important to make sure you have a table that is big enough for your guests. This may sound like a no-brainer, but if people are so squashed together they don’t have elbow space, it can get uncomfortably cosy.
You can choose a colour theme for your Thanksgiving dinner - good colors are white, cream or orangey-red. Don’t worry if your china patterns aren’t all the same - you can unify your place settings with matching napkins. An individual, thoughtful touch is handwritten name cards - read on for more ideas.
Setting the table
When preparing the table, be sure to have the plates and silverware placed correctly. First, the dinner plate (or plates) is positioned in the center of the place setting, then everything else is placed around it - fork to the left, and knife and spoon on the right.The flatware is arranged on either side of the plate in the order in which it will be used, starting from the outside.
If there are appetizers, as often with such a major gastrónomic and social event, the silverware for these is placed furthest from the plate. The last spoon or knife, and fork, to be used are placed closest to the plate, so that the diner starts from the outermost piece of silverware and works in. When serving food it important to serve it from the left side and when clearing the table you serve it from the right.
Decorating the table
Popular table decorations include seasonal produce such as pumpkins and other gourds, for a natural, earthy harvest look. To add a more sophisticated touch, try autumn foliage in golden fall hues of rusty red, cinnamon and burned orange.
A centrepiece of a large pumpkin topped with flowers in colours chosen to match the orange shade will draw admiration from your guests.
For an original touch, why not write name cards in pretty script and clip them to painted clothes pegs, pine cones or mini pumpkins. You could even use leaves, perhaps writing with paint and a paintbrush, as they're more delicate and likely to break.
Candles are always a welcome addition at the dinner table, to add that special occasion ambience. Golden hues in your candle holders will complement the fall produce on the table. Try a variety of different sizes to avoid looking too formal - see our upcoming post on decorating for more ideas.
Once the table is finally set, the next step is to add all your favorite dishes, with a bottle of La Española Extra Virgin Olive Oil to add the perfect finishing touch!