You will never have to worry about this holiday meal again! Author Rick Rodgers is the Thanksgiving guru and he is here to help you every step of the way. For many years, Rick traveled across the country teaching a cooking class called “Thanksgiving 101,” with his favorite recipes, make-ahead tips, organizational secrets, and insights to this special American celebration. Rick will be with you all the way from shopping to carving the bird.
Rick says the happiest Thanksgiving is an organized one. He believes in lists -and more lists. Lists for groceries, menu, guests, prep, utensils, and tableware. I like to have my table all set the day before with decorations, plates, nametags, candles, and whatever else I have planned. I also do what Rick says about writing down your entire menu to check back on as you are cooking and serving. There have been times when I didn’t write down the entire menu and I have gone back to the refrigerator to discover that I had forgotten an appetizer or something else. Lists are like having a helper whispering in your ear.
Table settings instantly set the mood for a Thanksgiving gathering. I agree with Rick that simple is the best way to go, and it certainly does not have to be expensive. Fold napkins, add a beautiful autumn leaf, and tie with a piece of raffia; place a chocolate turkey at each setting; hollow out mini pumpkins or apples to hold candles; or put a floating candle in a glass dish with cranberries added to the water. If you have time a couple days before, you can even bake some turkey or leaf-shaped cookies and write the guests names in icing to use as a place setting.
The book is filled with some of the best Thanksgiving meal ideas you will ever find. There are appetizers meant not to be a huge part of the meal, but just small bites to take the edge off before dinner is served, and of course, beverage ideas. The soups and salads have seasonal items like sage, cranberries, fennel, and beets. Rick will explain how to make every kind of turkey from deep-fried to a wild turkey. The stuffing and dressing ideas are endless and interesting – even a tamale stuffing with pork, chiles, and raisins. I think the largest number of recipes are for side dishes, which makes me happy since I believe I could eat an entire Thanksgiving meal of just side dishes. If you still have room, the desserts are to die for. I love pumpkin pie, but a pumpkin creme brulee just might make it to my table this year. Finally, there are numerous suggestions for what to do with all the leftovers. My Uncle Warren always used to make sure I kept some leftovers for him to take home for his dogs! If my uncle were still alive today, and I used the recipes in this book, I would have to inform him that the food was so good, there are no leftovers for the dogs.