Here in the U.S. we will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 25. Among the many things to be thankful for is Michael Crichton’s life and work. Though it is sad that he is no longer with us, his books, films, essays, and various other projects will continue to entertain people and challenge their thinking.
British-born chef Antony Ballard served as Michael Crichton’s personal chef for five years. From the article An Extra Classy Thanksgiving:
"He's very laid back," Ballard said of Crichton. "He's not a socialite. He just wanted a restaurant-quality lifestyle without ever having to step foot out of his house.
"It's interesting to see how very successful people deal with life," he added, "how they treat people, in particular."
Ballard misses the quiet conversations he used to have with the author, but he chose not to go along when the Crichtons moved to the West Coast.
In the 2003 article Star-Power Holiday Meal, Ballard shared the recipes for some of Michael Crichton’s favorite dishes.
Chestnut and Bacon Thyme Stuffing was “a standard on the Michael Crichton Thanksgiving table” according to Ballard. “Michael and his wife would have his brother’s family over plus some friends, about 12 people in all. They love it.”
And in the 2006 article Elite Holiday Cuisine (pp. 80-82), Ballard wrote:
What would a typical holiday feast consist of at the Crichton home?...The standard on the Crichton’s holiday table is roasted Mahogany Duck. I feel that duck is a good change from turkey. After Thanksgiving you really don’t want to serve turkey again. The Crichtons love the duck.Ballard also included recipes for Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Gâteau, and a special dessert:
No proper holiday fare is complete unless concluded with English Sherry Trifle.
Michael Crichton loves this dessert. After days on end of writing feverishly for each book, this was his singular treat.
Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Appetit everyone! (I’ve got to try that trifle recipe!)