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Families preparing for Thanksgiving likely are seeing higher prices at grocery stores and not as many smaller turkeys to choose from, experts say.
The average cost of a Thanksgiving meal is up 14% over last year, according to a report from the American Farm Bureau. A Thanksgiving turkey is 24% more expensive this year, at an average of $1.50 per pound, or $23.99 for a 16-pound bird.
Labor shortages and global supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic have squeezed the meat industry. That has pushed the cost of a turkey “through the roof” this season, Andrew Neva, owner of Northwest Meat Co., explained.
“Our meat industry is built on putting as many people as you can in a facility as tightly packed together and breaking down animals as fast as possible,” Neva said. “If you don’t have the resources and people to meet that volume ... it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Neva, whose company supplies restaurants and hotels in Chicago, said he has had to charge record-high prices for turkey this season.
Kyle Zimmerman, co-owner of Harrison’s Poultry Farm in suburban Glenview, a poultry wholesaler for North Shore restaurants, has noticed a squeeze in the supply of cheaper, frozen turkeys.
Companies that pack the birds “are very short on help” and having trouble meeting demand, Zimmerman said.
Likewise, restaurants planning Thanksgiving specials are balancing the high prices of turkey and other ingredients with a shortage of servers.
More news you need
- The city is investigating claims of wage theft, discrimination and harassment at local chain Parlor Pizza, asking employees and customers to come forward with any information that could aid its probe. It appears the company is under multiple microscopes, as Chicago police reportedly assisted the Illinois Department of Revenue’s criminal investigation in another probe.
- A man recently paroled for battery to an officer now faces attempted murder charges after allegedly shooting at two Chicago police officers in West Garfield Park Sunday evening. He fired shots but didn’t hit anyone after running from an “investigative stop,” according to police.
- Authorities say a driver was shot on the Eisenhower Expressway near Des Plaines Avenue last night then chased by police for two miles before crashing in North Riverside. Officers pursued the victim’s vehicle on Des Plaines Avenue for about two miles before the vehicle crashed near Bar-Tini Lounge in North Riverside, police said.
- An extra-alarm fire damaged popular restaurant Delia’s Kitchen in Oak Park this morning, forcing surrounding buildings to be evacuated. The restaurant’s owner had been taking her first day off in weeks when she got the phone call telling her the building was on fire.
- A mother and son were acquitted last week of misdemeanor battery tied to the videotaped altercation they had with two teens who had written “Biden 2020” in chalk on the sidewalk of a South Loop park. The scuffle took place a day after President Joe Biden was elected in a contentious election against Donald Trump.
- After live performances were sidelined by the pandemic, South Shore-raised and L.A.-based G Herbo will hit the stage tonight to kick off a two-day stint in the city that made him. The tour stop comes at a time of transition for the 26-year-old artist, who discussed grief, growth and more in a recent Sun-Times interview.
- All aboard the holiday express! The CTA’s holiday train and bus are ready to embark on their annual journeys throughout the city. And this year, commuters are welcomed to rejoin in the fun.
A bright one
Ahead of turkey day, several Chicago chefs opened up about their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, amounting to a list of options anyone can pull from to enhance their holiday meal.
Here are a few favorites from some local experts, who also provided complete recipes for each dish in our full story.
Chef Joe Flamm’s Cavatelli ‘Cacio e Pepe’ (Rose Mary)
Noodles are a great side dish for you to bring and you’ll become the gathering’s favorite guest. Especially considering you’ll be using “Top Chef” Season 15’s winner Chef Joe’s recipe for handmade cavatelli cacio e pepe.
Maybe you’re wondering what pesto has to do with Thanksgiving — but pesto doesn’t have to be exclusive to Italian cooking. It’s just a combination of nuts and oil and herbs and other ingredients, and it can be used in anything from a dipping sauce to a soup to a marinade or to a sandwich. So Chef Bill Kim took Asian versions of these ingredients — like kimchi instead of cheese for a little fermented element—and created a similarly balanced sauce that is distinctly Korean. It adds intensity and will elevate the flavors in your food.
Chef Doug Psaltis’ Skordalia (Andros Taverna)
Is it even Thanksgiving if there aren’t any sides of potatoes? Chef Doug’s Skordalia is the dish you didn’t know you needed in your life and it will for sure be the talk of your family’s gathering.
Chef Noah Zamler’s Fall Stuffed Kabocha Squash Recipe (The Press Room)
Move over pumpkin, Chef Noah Zamler’s Stuffed Kabocha Squash recipe is the perfect side dish to serve this Thanksgiving.
Chef Johnny Besch’s Brussels Sprouts (BLVD Steakhouse)
A wise person once said if you don’t like Brussels sprouts, it’s because you’ve never had them prepared the right way, and you’ll learn that’s true when you try Chef Johnny’s recipe.
From the press box
- Bears head coach Matt Nagy today denied a recent report that he’s going to be fired by the team following their Thanksgiving Day matchup against Detroit.
- Cary-Grove High School’s principal apologized today for “Fire Nagy” chants that his school’s student section delivered during its Class 6A state semifinal game against Lake Forest on Saturday. Nagy, who has a son on the Lake Forest team, was at the game.
- Andy Dalton will be the Bears’ starting QB against the Lions, although Nagy said Justin Fields will get the job back once he’s healthy.
- The Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan would prefer to focus on the team’s winning than the recent MVP chatter.
Your daily question ☕
How will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year?
Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday, we asked you: What’s the best part of having a long weekend?
Here’s what some of you said…
“The best part of a long weekend is having a nice block of time to stay up late or get up late — or both — making you more eLATEd than usual!” — Paul Lockwood
“Rest and relaxation!” — Tanesha Lashawn
“Spending it with loved ones.” — Lori Paradis
“More time with my family and more time for gaming.” — Douglas Nieves Jr.
“Recuperating Thursday til Sunday, since the Bears will probably lose against the Lions on Thursday. 😭😭😭😭” — Pablo Galiano
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