Sunday, November 25, 2007

What I have always liked about the Thanksgiving meal is the variety of side dishes that accompany the Turkey. Of course, there are always those traditional side dishes that get made every year. What are some of yours? By the way, this is Grandpa and nine-month-old Henry at my daughter's dinner table in Chicago. We enjoyed nice driving--a few flakes of snow included--and a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.

In our family, two traditional dishes are baked corn dish and crustless pumpkin pie that come from my mother. The baked corn dish uses creamed and whole kernel corn, bacon, green pepper, onions, celery, and a secret ingredient. The crustless pumpkin pie became popular as an alternative for my oldest son, who, as a child, liked pumpkin pie, but not the crust. Both of these are now traditional. Thanksgiving dinner is not proper without them. This year, my daughter also served a spinach au gratin, two kinds of squash--a traditional serving and another with gorgonzola cheese and pecans (very tasty). Of course, all this was accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravey, an old American standard, cranberry sauce and cranberry relish, and turkey.

On Friday we visited the Lincoln Zoo in downtown Chicago. It is a fun place for kids because the exhibits allow visitors to get relatively close to the animals. I'm not sure how well the exhibits conform to current practices for zoo exhibits, but it was fun to see some of the animals. In the photo here, Char and our granddaughter, Annabella, watch an otter who was very interested on showing off to anyone who wanted to watch.

This is my daughter, Katherine, with her husband, Scott. Baby Henry is riding along in the back pack. Talk about a nice way to travel. Actually, you see many young parents taking the kids along this way. It's pretty nifty, really, but it does require two adults to work really well. We enjoyed a sunny Thanksgiving Friday at the zoo. It was a bit brisk, but by no means unbearable. After visiting the zoo, we took our time getting out of downtown Chicago. The Windy City is one of those towns that I always seem to enjoy visiting. There's always something to do, and you have to get pretty unlucky to find a bad restaurant.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chicago-bound For Thanksgiving

For 25 years, I drove with my family to my hometown of New Ulm, Minnesota, to celebrate Thanksgiving with my mother. My wife and I dutifully packed up the kids and made the two-hour drive from St. Paul. My mother died in 1999--during Thanksgiving, as a matter of fact--and after that I decided that our time had come--my family would now come to our house for Thanksgiving, and other holidays.

T'ain't so!

Turns out that, since my daughter got married and moved to Chicago in 2004, we have been going there for Thanksgiving. Now, instead of driving 100 miles, I drive 400 miles for the holiday! And in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, the Thanksgiving weekend is extremely volatile with regard to weather; read, we can get some nasty snow storms. As I write this on the eve of Thanksgiving, 2007, it is snowing in St. Paul and in Chicago!

But--we are expecting the snow to be light in both places, so off we go. I actually enjoy the drive as long as I don't have to fight the weather.

Stay tuned. I'll show you a few pictures before the weekend is over.