Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Parking Lot Mural
Street art is everywhere in the City of Brotherly Love. This mural overlooks a parking lot in central Philadelphia.

One week ago today, we departed northwestern Connecticut and wended our way south towards Philadelphia, where we had planned to spend Thanksgiving with Elder Daughter.

Owing to the weather - a drizzly, blustery mess - and the pre-holiday traffic, what should have been a four-hour trip ended up taking closer to six. Feh. But we got to our destination as dusk fell, giving us enough time to get settled in before going out to secure the Essential Provisions.

Ya can’t make a Thanksgiving dinner without provisions.

Our first stop was the local farmer’s market, a few blocks walk from Elder Daughter’s apartment. After loading up a few bags there, we went to the Stupid-Market and a nearby Booze-Shoppe for the remaining items on our list. By then, we were getting a tad peckish, so we ran home for an improvised Asian-style dinner courtesy of Elder Daughter.

For (probably) the first time ever, it was going to be just the four of us at the Thanksgiving table. Elder Daughter’s roommates were away; we had the place to ourselves. Nothing to do but cook and converse all day.

The menu combined several of our traditional favorites with a few new goodies. She Who Must Be Obeyed prepared the sausage-rice stuffing that has graced our holiday table every year for almost three decades, while the Mistress made a sweet potato pudding using our friend Gary’s recipe. I have to say, her made-entirely-from-scratch version was appallingly good.

SWMBO simmered up a pot of butternut squash soup, aromatic with curry and garam masala. Elder Daughter busied herself with baking a loaf of home-made challah... and to keep herself busy while the dough proofed, she put together a cherry-apricot pie and a brace of apple tarts.

It’s knice to be kneaded: Elder Daughter rolls up her sleeves and makes challah for the Thanksgiving table. The Pilgrims should only have had it so good.

While all of this was going on, I was occupied with fixing a batch of cranberry-ginger chutney, using my own homemade crystallized ginger (the stores having been completely sold out). Once that was done, it was time to turn my attention to the turkey, which we braised in the same manner we had tried just a couple of weeks ago. With Elder Daughter’s able assistance, I made two pots of gravy: one was a thick, sagey, giblet-enriched sauce, the other unadorned for the sake of SWMBO and the Mistress, both of whom loathe Turkey-Innards of any kind.

Elder Daughter put together a salad of raw spinach, simply dressed with a little olive oil and garlic, and we were ready to dine. We probably could have cooked a few more dishes. Green beans... spinach-jalapeƱo cheese casserole... but what would have been the point? It was just the four of us.

Dressing and Taters
Sausage-rice stuffing (top); sweet potato pudding “Gary” (bottom). No Elisson family Thanksgiving is complete without ’em.

Our meal was superb, not least because it was a true Family Effort. But for me, the best part was just being together with the Missus and our two wonderful daughters, there in the land of cheesesteaks and soft pretzels.

Neither of which we had during our visit, by the way.

A quiet lane in Center City. Except for the window A/C units, this street looks much like it did in Revolutionary times, right down to the cobblestones.

Friday was spent wandering around in Center City. We grabbed a coffee at Cake and the Beanstalk and some gelato (of course!) at Capogiro. Then, down to the south side for some sammitches at Paesano’s Philly Style and a look at Isaiah Zagar’s street art.

Sandwich heaven: Feeding my face with the celebrated Arista at Paesano’s Philly Style.

Zagar mosaic with inset
One of the many mixed-media mosaics created by celebrated street artist Isaiah Zagar, this one adorning the side of a building near South 7th and Passyunk. Inset: Zagar (left) with son Jeremiah (center) and wife Julia (right). [Click to embiggen.]

Before we knew it, it was Saturday: time to head back home. It’s never easy saying farewell to our girls, and this time was no exception. But knowing that they both are establishing themselves in their new homes and making the most of their individual talents is a great comfort. Surely, it’s yet another thing to be thankful for.

Strolling in Philly


Teresa said...

I love it! What a wonderful trip. You all know exactly how to do it all up right. :-)

Houston Steve said...

. . .and that, dear friends, is really what "family values" are all about. Elisson, et. al., are truly blessed.

Nicole said...

Aw, you went to Capogiro!! Did you think of me? ;-p

So sorry we didn't get to see you on your trip this time.

Elisson said...

Nicole, I always think of you when I go to Capogiro - after all, you're the one who introduced me to their gelato-nous delights!