The first year I lived in Chicago, we had an Artisan family Thanksgiving up here. In the years that followed, after Grandma moved in with Mom & Dad it was easiest for me to head home for the holidays. This year, the Artisan family once again celebrated Thanksgiving at my home here in Chicago. Since Rebecca had the whole week as a vacation from teaching, the family loaded up the car on Monday morning for a road trip and arrived mid afternoon on Tuesday. For the most part, we didn’t have plans for the time together – other than just having fun.
In September, Dad & I had conspired for an early family Christmas present while we were all together at Thanksgiving. South Pacific is an Artisan family favorite musical…when I saw that the revival tour production would be in Chicago over Thanksgiving I immediately snapped up tickets. So, on Wednesday evening as the interstates were clogged with people trying to get on the road to their Thanksgiving destinations we took side streets out to Rosemont for a wonderful evening at the theater. It was a wonderful production & throughout the rest of the weekend I’m sure each of us was humming from the soundtrack at least once or twice.
(The ancient Treo doesn’t take the best pictures these days…)
On Thanksgiving morning, the turkey breast went in the crock pot to start cooking as we watched the parade. Throughout the morning, we cycled through the kitchen prepping a lot of vegetables for our side dishes – I don’t think that my knives and cutting boards have had that much of a workout in a long time. As the afternoon progressed, delicious smells filled the house & before long it was time to sit down to our Thanksgiving table.
The menu was simple and delicious: Turkey with the Artisan family dressing; Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Toasted Hazelnuts (quickly becoming a Thanksgiving dinner staple!); Roasted Rainbow Carrots; Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake; “the” NPR pink cranberry relish (first time making it – a great addition to the table!). We paired the meal with a delicious wine that we tasted on our family vacation to California in July. We had a pie recipe lined up for dessert but decided to just enjoy the boiled milk sponge cake that Mom had brought – the pie is now on the Christmas menu.
We did a bit of holiday shopping but managed to avoid the insanity of “Black Friday” when we were out and about on Friday. Each year we joke about getting up early but that is not an Artisan family ‘thing.’ Before we knew it, Saturday morning arrived and it was time for them to trek back home to Georgia. The car was repacked (all new acquisitions managed to fit) and I made them leftover turkey sandwiches for a midday lunch stop along the way.
As the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season begins, I’m thankful for an Artisan Family Thanksgiving here in Chicago!