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Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well: A Cookbook Hardcover – October 23, 2012
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“If you don’t have Thanksgiving, you are not really having Thanksgiving. This book is as essential to the day as the turkey itself. It’s an expert, gently opinionated guide to everything from the cranberry sauce to the table setting to the divvying up of the leftovers, but it’s also a paean to the holiday and an evocation of both its past and its promising future. Sam Sifton’s Thanksgiving world is the one I want to live in.”—Gabrielle Hamilton, bestselling author of Blood, Bones, & Butter
“The charm of Sam Sifton’s Thanksgiving is that he proposes that home cooks treat this culinary Olympics like any other dinner party—don’t panic, deconstruct your tasks into bite-size pieces, and conquer that fear of failure. Sam could talk a fledgling doctor through his first open-heart surgery. It’s all here—from brining to spatchcocking, sides to desserts—and served up with a generous dollop of reassuring advice from one of America’s most notable food writers.”—Christopher Kimball, editor of Cook’s Illustrated and host of America’s Test Kitchen
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Nor do guests want to be guilted on the one day a year devoted entirely to eating yourself into a food coma, when the host serves up lettuce leaves with cranberry juice and water, insisting that all that butter is bad for you. Well, hell: we KNOW it's bad for us, but on this day of days, a day of feasting, a day honoring the harvest... eat the butter. There are 364 days for penance.
There are plenty of cookbooks out there (not to mention the November issue of food magazines) telling the reader how to spruce up those "tired old standards" with dubious recipes guaranteed to evoke, "Hmmm, that's interesting..." from the diners.
Sifton has it right: no appetizers, no salad. Do the basics. Make them delicious. That's all you need.
P.S. What is it with reviewers complaining about the lack of photos? This is brilliantly written with a wickedly dry sense of humor. You don't need photos.
Mr. Sifton's writing style is lighthearted, witty & concise. I begin reading this book several weeks before the holiday in anticipation. I truly think the neophyte Thanksgiving host will have much to gain from the pages of this book. The more seasoned November chef will find the charm and wisdom of Mr. SIfton's work. I'm so glad I discovered it back in 2006.
This isn't how my house does Thanksgiving at all. But it's an excellent book and everybody who loves the holiday should enjoy it.