I published this review four years ago and I stand by every word. This book is fine but the world is not. I went to Barnes and Noble today and asked to see their display of Thanksgiving cookbooks. They did not have a table of holiday books. In fact, they did not have a Thanksgiving book in the store. They could order one, but I saw the list — and you can check this on Amazon — and was disappointed by the poor quality of the lastest “Thanksgiving” books. They just don’t look appealing. And there aren’t many of them. Which makes this book, from Diane Morgan, so precious. Here’s the review. Enjoy it. Better yet, buy the book and make your holiday grand:
“Where is it?” my wife asked. Her voice displayed urgency but not panic. Suzen never panics. Well, that’s not true but I don’t want to get myself in deeper trouble than normal. And in this case, I was getting panicky myself.
“I’ll find it,” I said. I tried to be reassuring, but the fact was that I was worried. Where was the damn book? Suzen and I keep our cookbooks in more than one place, much more than one:
- Our front room in Manhattan
- Her Manhattan office
- My Manhattan office
- The Manhattan basement
- The kitchen in Olive, a hundred miles from Manhattan
- The basement in Olive
- Our joint office in Olive
It does tend to fragment. You put a book somewhere, promising yourself you will remember where and in just one short year you learn that both your short-term and long-term memories are shot to hell.
Our favorite Thanksgiving book was somewhere, and we needed it to prepare menu ideas for this holiday. We are off to Tennessee to feast with friends and we need to bring recipes and the very best recipes are in this book and the book is …
I found it. Basement. Olive. Not the bookshelf I first thought, but one close by. I wiped away the little traces of sweat from my forehead and walked confidently upstairs to Suzen.
“We should buy another copy,” she said.
Maybe you should, too? Or at least a first copy. Published in 2001, The Thanksgiving Table, is the just the resource you want to embrace with both arms. By today’s standards, it is a slight book at less than 200 pages. But in those pages you will find recipes to make this Thanksgiving deliciously exceptional.
Never done Thanksgiving in style before? This book takes you by the hand and walks you all the way through: from buying the turkey, to making stock, to gravy and dressings, to different ways to graciously roast that bird, and even to how to have leftovers you will love the next day.
There are timelines here to take you through the meal preparation, day by day, hour by hour. Cooking for four people is one thing. Twenty is another. Diane can get you through either way.
There are even clever ways to decorate your festive table, so that the wonderful food here is set amidst the elegance it deserves.
You’ll find many menu options here. For example, your table could shine with these choices:
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Cranberries and Walnuts
- Butter-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Glaze
- Giblet Gravy
- Cheddar and Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffing
- Cranberry Salsa
- Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crumb Crust
And on Friday, you can continue with:
- Turkey Potpie with a Biscuit Crust
- Chocolate Gingerbread with Sugar-Glazed Apples
Diane meant this to be her definitive take on Thanksgiving. But just seven years later she wrote The NEW Thanksgiving Table which both updates the original and incorporates many new regional ideas she absorbed as she traveled all across the United States. Both are wonderful books. Next year, I’ll review The NEW one, which is already six years old.
And, in the coming days before this Thanksgiving, you will see a half dozen recipes here from both books, giving you an accelerated head start for your holiday cooking. Diane is an amazing, charming writer. Her recipes work flawlessly, and you would enjoy having and using any of her many cookbooks. But you should start with The Thanksgiving Table. It is a classic, as timeless as the Thanksgiving holiday itself.