Recipes for Thanksgiving Meals

By Sam Sifton

Random House, $18.00, 133 pages

“This book is going to make it possible for you to cook Thanksgiving and not lose your mind.”

Since I always prepare a great feast for Thanksgiving, I was very much looking forward to review Thanksgiving by Sam Sifton. What a disappointment this book was! I was struck by the mediocre, lackluster and flavorless writing, including the recipe head notes. The recipes didn’t show much inspiration, either. Virtually any of them you will find in standard cookbooks (mashed potatoes, green beans, apple pie, and whipped cream). Sifton gives several versions on some recipes: quick turkey stock, final turkey stock, serious turkey stock, also on turkey roasting. The layout of the recipes is poor. The text flows uninterrupted thus to follow many recipes, you will be flipping pages back and forth. A few sketches of illustrations are so small that you will not find the turkey carving guides very useful. Even worse are the errors. If you strictly follow his roasting guide, your turkey will be grossly overcooked, dry and juice-less. As Sifton suggests, shortcuts in the Thanksgiving kitchen are likely to result in disappointing foods, yet he goes overboard to make even simple task (like brining the turkey) exceedingly complicated. He also has chapters on setting the table, drinks and drinking, cleanup and leftovers. However, the index is well cross referenced.

Reviewed By George Erdosh

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