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Thanksgivings Past

Oct 31, 2016 10:51AM ● By Maria Terry

Maria Terry, a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In the United States, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are both celebrated in November. I recommend some historic wines and foods for this Thanksgiving as an ode to veterans, both young and old, who risked their lives for our country. These beverages and recipes harken back to days gone by, yet they are still downright delicious today.

When Gallo started marketing Chablis Blanc in the 1960s, their goal was to create a wine the public would want to drink. Sweet wines were in strong demand, and Gallo gave it to them. They borrowed the name Chablis from a famous region of France that made highly acclaimed, albeit dry, Chardonnay. Colombard was chosen as the majority grape in the blend because it grows particularly well in the hot Modesto climate and makes a good sweet wine. Today, Chablis Blanc is made under one of Gallo’s many labels, Livingston Cellars. Keep in mind it is still sweet. If you prefer dry wine, you might try French Chablis or another unoaked Chardonnay. Sweet or dry, it’s up to you; either will go with Classic Crab Meat Dip to kick off your Thanksgiving feast.

Hearty Burgundy is another heritage wine from Gallo. Named for the region in France known for growing Pinot Noir, Gallo Burgundy was first released in 1964. The current vintage is made from a proprietary blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Livingston Cellars Burgundy will give you rich, fruit forward flavors, whereas Pinot Noir is lighter in style, higher in acid, and earthier. Both are great options for a myriad of Thanksgiving dishes, including green bean casserole. Try this alternative to the Campbell’s Soup recipe created in 1955. Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole uses fresh sour cream and cheddar cheese in place of the soup.

Finally, it isn’t Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. Finish strong with single malt scotch whiskey to pair with Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe from the 1950s. The spicy quality of scotch echoes the cinnamon, ginger, and clove in the pie, and the creamy filling and whipped cream topping tamps down the high alcohol in the scotch.

So, go on. Pair Up!


Maria Terry is a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Classic Crab Meat Dip



(2) 7 oz. cans crab meat

1 8 oz. package cream cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon Worcestershire

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Dash of cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

3 cloves garlic, pressed



Soften cream cheese and combine with mayonnaise, sour cream, Tabasco, Worcestershire, cayenne, salt, garlic, and Old Bay

Seasoning. Stir in crab meat. Taste and adjust seasoning.


Make a few hours ahead and refrigerate.

Serve with buttery round crackers. Yield: about 3-4 cups


Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole



2 tablespoons butter 

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon white sugar 

1/4 cup onion, diced 

1 cup sour cream 

3 (14.5 ounce) cans French style green beans, drained 

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 

1/2 cup crumbled buttery round crackers 

1 tablespoon butter, melted



Preheat oven to 350° F.


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth, and cook for one minute. Stir in the salt, sugar, onion, and sour cream. Add green beans, and stir to coat.


Transfer the mixture to a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Spread shredded cheese over the top. In a small bowl, toss together cracker crumbs and remaining butter, and sprinkle over the cheese.


Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until the top is golden and cheese is bubbly. Yield: 8 - 10 servings


Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie



3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 large eggs

1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

Whipped cream (optional)



Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.


Bake in preheated 425° oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving. Yield: 8 servings