From dreams in a bottle, to feasting with friends, plus some famous champagne, why this is the season for practicing gratitude
This month we’re thinking about Thanksgiving. Go raibh mhaith agat… just in case you didn’t know, or if your Irish has become a little rusty, means “thank you” – always a lovely phrase to be on the receiving end of. The literal translation is even lovelier: word for word, it says “may you have goodness”, and wouldn’t we all like more of that?
While “thank you” in Ireland means wishing good upon the other person, it seems that being grateful makes you happier, and spending money on other people actually promotes more joy than spending it on ourselves, which makes thanking a pretty special thing to do all round.
Marking gratitude can range from elaborate gifts to simple notes. A favourite is the one that Marilyn Monroe sent to the German Consulate General, Mr Volkmar von Fuehlsdorff. She simply wrote: “Thank you for your champagne. It arrived, I drank it, and I was gayer. Thanks again…”
Or then there’s the one John Lennon sent to actress Pam Grier after he drunkenly instigated a fight in the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles: “Dear Pam, I apologize for being so rude and thank you for not hitting me. John Lennon. P.S. Harry Nilsson feels the same way.”
Rather more beautifully, Roald Dahl wrote to a seven year old school girl called Amy, who had sent him a bottle of coloured water and glitter. “Dear Amy, I must write a special letter and thank you for the dream in the bottle. You are the first person in the world who has sent me one of these…”
Thanksgiving falls on November23rd this year, although it’s unclear when the very first Thanksgiving feast took place in America. It wasn’t until 1789 that George Washington declared the first national Thanksgiving Day, but many think it began in 1621, when Dutch settlers and Native Americans ate together in thanksgiving for a good harvest by sharing a feast that lasted for three days.
Traditionally celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, it’s a day of family, friends and sharing and, in the US, it is also marked by huge parades. At the Merrion, we’re making the feast last for an entire week, as Executive Chef Ed Cooney, has created a special menu, which we’ll be serving from Monday 20th until Sunday 26th November in the Garden Room restaurant. Including Classic New England Clam Chowder, Friendly Farmer Irish Roast Turkey, New Orleans Gumbo, Macaroni and Cheese, as well as firm favourite, Pecan Pie, you don’t have to be American to tuck in. After all, the best traditions are made to be shared.