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Thanksgiving 101 Paperback – October 6, 1998
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Getting ready for your first turkey or dissatisfied with the dry results you got last year? Not to worry--"Mr. Thanksgiving," Rick Rodgers, is here to teach Thanksgiving 101. And he ought to know. For the last eight years he has been traveling the country to teach his class as the media spokesperson for Perdue Farms, an industrial giant among turkey producers.
Before getting to what he calls the "Main Event," Rodgers has advice about how to plan ahead and coordinate the labor to make the day itself more enjoyable. He opens with sections on appetizers and beverages (Glittering Spiced Walnuts, Spicy Cheddar and Pecan Balls, Bloody Marys and Ramos Fizzes) and soups and salads.
The "Main Event" is everything, absolutely everything, you would want to know about buying, thawing, prepping, and roasting a turkey. You needn't look any further. There's a long question-and-answer-style section that anticipates any questions you might have. Then it's right on to everything from Perfect Roast Turkey with Best-Ever Gravy to Holiday Meatball Lasagna.
Follow all that with sections on stuffings and dressings, side dishes, yeast and quick breads, desserts (there's more to do with that pumpkin than make pie--how about Pumpkin-Walnut Roulade with Ginger Filling?), and leftovers (Turkey Tetrazzini), and you can see how Rick Rodgers's Thanksgiving 101is the cookbook equivalent of one-stop shopping for your holiday meal. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
In his briskly informative, humorous fashion, Rodgers tells you Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner but Were Too Harassed to Ask. A Thanksgiving specialist?he's the author of The Turkey Cookbook and teaches Thanksgiving 101 classes?Rodgers has developed and refined over 150 recipes, surefire cooking methods and detailed timetables to help the anxious host and hostess master all aspects of the national feast. Whether unmolding the cranberry mold, serving up lively vegetables (Not Your Grandmother's Succotash), baking Buttermilk Biscuits, mastering do-ahead gravy, mashing lump-free potatoes or roasting a bird?10 different ways?Rodgers reassures the cook in the kitchen. Along the way, he gives some snazzy twists to the basics, e.g., "Tamale" Stuffing with Pork, Chiles and Raisins, Scalloped Yams with Praline Topping, and Pumpkin-Walnut Roulade with Ginger Filling. Menus, informative essays on ingredients, a complete q&a section on turkey, great pies and inspiring leftovers (tacos to Tetrazzini) complete the confidence-building course.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The recipes deal with formal service, buffets, and even a possible solution for cooks who have to deal with televised football that is in competition with the meal. Whatever your meal plans, there are ideas & solutions here.
There are many traditional dishes documented clearly for those of us who were not paying attention at Grandma's or Mom's elbow, along with some more modern variations on the Thanksgiving theme. Above all, Rodgers knows and understands the limitations of the average American kitchen, and just how much space that we have available in our freezers, refrigerators, and ovens. The recipes acknowledge this nicely, and he often presents a top-of-the-stove alternative to some dishes, rather than forcing us to jam yet another casserole into an already overcrowded oven.
On the subject of buffets (which more of us seem to be embracing nowadays), he gives some practical suggestions so that the host/ess does not end up with half a dozen veggie casseroles, but no salads. Many of the recipes have steps that can be prepared earlier in the week, and then put into play on the Big Day.
Most of all, there is a nice tone to the book. The author acknowledges many of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes that we have all known or experienced (Jell-O molds, Campbell's Green Bean Bake, canned cranberry sauce), while gently presenting alternatives for those who would like something just a little bit different this year.
It's only mid-October, but I now have my family's Thanksgiving dinner planned right down to the desserts!
One thing that would be a nice addition to the book: pictures. I did not find the lack of pictures to be a serious hindrance in this case, but I love when cook books include them.
It's still one of my most-used cookbooks for entertaining because it's got such great recipes. I always get compliments on the dishes I make from this book.
Great book for cooking your first turkey or for ideas if you already know how to cook a turkey. Also teaches you how to make stock and turkey soup.
You also have to try the cocktails... Ramos Fizz and Autumn Glow Punch are delicious.