Kirkus Reviews QR Code


How to Cook It Well

by Sam Sifton & illustrated by Sarah C. Rutherford

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4000-6991-0
Publisher: Random House

An easy-to-read, concise, somewhat tongue-in-cheek guide for how to host the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

This simple book is a valuable tool for someone hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. New York Times national editor Sifton begins by describing the items needed to prepare a turkey. Considering varying budgets, the author gives a range of options for pans, cutting boards, knives and other kitchen equipment at different price points. He provides more than one recipe for many traditional Thanksgiving items as well, catering to differing time restrictions and cooking expertise. For example, Sifton includes four recipes for an oven-roasted turkey: “A Simple Roast Turkey,” “An Even More Simple Roast Turkey,” “Herb-Roasted Turkey” and “Faster Roast Turkey.” The author also advises on what brands and types of ingredients to buy, how to set a table and how to use leftovers. He takes the mystery out of terms such as “brining” and “heritage turkey” and how, and if, they make a difference in the turkey’s final taste. Also of note is Sifton’s advice on what not to do. Thanksgiving should be appetizer-free; chocolate should be put aside in favor of classical American desserts such as apple, pumpkin and pecan pie; mashed potatoes should not have garlic or basil. Additional tips on what to serve for drinks, as well as Sifton's policy for serving oysters on Thanksgiving, will help make the entire day a better experience. His leftover recipes, which go beyond the basic turkey sandwich, will ensure that the days after Thanksgiving are filled with great culinary experiences.

A brief, straightforward guide to hosting a Thanksgiving dinner without being overwhelmed.