Green River Star -

By Jacquie Kramer
Sweetwater County Library System 

It's Thanksgiving, let's eat


It’s Thanksgiving, Let’s Eat!

Today is the day before Thanksgiving. It is Thanksgiving Eve, if you will. Perhaps you are brining your turkey or baking that last pumpkin pie. You might be doing some last-minute house cleaning or ironing of your tablecloths. Whatever you are doing, I hope you’re taking some time to relish the holiday.

Whatever traditions you hold in your own families, I’m sure they involve food. Thanksgiving, in my own family, is a time for too many cooks in the kitchen, indescribable smells wafting throughout the house, too many pies too eat, and turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, and sweet potato casserole.

I remember watching my grandmother as she cooked on Thanksgiving Day, wearing her apron, basting the turkey, and smiling away. My aunts and mom would be milling around her, making green bean casserole, baking biscuits, and laughing at each other’s stories. My uncles and dad would be in the den watching the game and getting into trouble.

While preparing for this column, I looked to the shelves in the library – as I always do in the initial stages of writing – and found one book filled with Thanksgiving inspiration. The book is titled “Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well” by Sam Sifton. Sifton is the former food editor of “The New York Times” and is also a restaurant critic. He describes his book as a “Thanksgiving ambulance in book form.” He promises that it will calm your preparation fears or reinvigorate you as you cook your 26th Thanksgiving dinner.

The first chapter of the book is called “Getting Started” and details the supplies you will need for a successful undertaking (pots and pans, knives, cutting boards, etc.) and the basic ingredients you need to have in your pantry: salt and pepper, butter, herbs and spices, flour and sugar. He ends the chapter with 2 turkey stock recipes – essentials when cooking a turkey.

The second chapter is devoted to the turkey. You’ll find a number of different recipes for cooking your turkey, and you’ll also find out how to decipher the difference between all those different types of turkeys you can buy at the supermarket. My husband would be happy to know that Sifton includes a deep-fried turkey recipe as well. Really though, if you haven’t tried deep -fried turkey, I encourage you to do so. It is delicious. You’ll also find a couple of diagrams and step-by-step instructions for carving the turkey – which I think is a very helpful addition.

The next chapter deals with side dishes. From oyster dressing to maple-glazed carrots to mashed potatoes, you’ll find a recipe to use for a few of your own side dishes. Chapter four is devoted to gravy and cranberry sauce.

Chapter five looks at setting the table, serving the food, and etiquette. I enjoyed looking over the sketch of a table setting with a numbered key explaining what each item is and where it should be placed on the table.

If you are looking for hints about what to serve for drinks, check out chapter six. The hot apple cider recipe looks good to me. Chapter seven is my favorite chapter – dessert. Find recipes for apple, pecan, and pumpkin pies here, as well as cobblers, crisps and even fruit pizzas.

Sifton ends his book with a chapter devoted to clean-up and after Thanksgiving recipes. “Don’t be afraid to delegate,” he stresses when considering the giant mound of dirty dishes, counters, tables, and floors. Some of his recipes that use up leftover turkey include turkey gumbo and turkey salad.

Sam Sifton’s Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well is a mere 125 pages long, so you have no excuse to ignore it – it’ll take you an evening to peruse. That said, I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow filled with great food, good company and memorable traditions.


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