The Illustrated Menu



Thanksgiving Planning


Inspired by Patricia Curtan's beautiful book of Illustrated Menus,

Menus for Chez Panisse,

playing around in my sketchbook with

a menu of a recent dinner Andrew made.


I'd been meaning to check out this book and

all was conveniently  in order when I went down the street to Marlow and Sons

for a morning coffee run - Patricia Curtan was there signing books

so I was able to pick one up then:




 Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays, it's around the same

time Andrew and I first met. Andrew cooks up a whole feast and

takes his Thanksgiving game very very seriously.

He's been testing out  what to make this year and this is one of my favorites so far:






This Butternut Squash soup he made is definitely making the cut.

Saveur always does a really great Thanksgiving Guide

as does New York Magazine with their Thanksgiving Planner.

Here's the Butternut Squash Soup Recipe, by Martha Stewart:


  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Total Time 45 minutes
  • Yield Serves 12

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus more for garnish (optional)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sour cream, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add squash, broth, half-and-half, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt. Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with cayenne, if desired. For a different flavor, use ground nutmeg or cloves instead of cinnamon, or add a Southwestern touch with a small amount of chili powder.


(Instead of cayenne, we topped ours off with creme fraiche,

a bit of balsamic vinaigrette and chives,

with Sullivan Street Bakery Sourdough we made into Toast Points

and a plain Mache Salad with homemade dressing

Mache/Lambs Lettuce isn't always available at the grocery store

and when it is I am so happy... always the small things, right?)







{Top Illustration and Handwriting by me. A Spring Kaiseki Image from NYT. All other photos by me.}


BooksBernadette Marie