Recipe: Perfect Mashed Potatoes

[Updated November 2016] Such a simple thing -- throw some potatoes into a pot, then mash them up, but there's more to creamy mashed potatoes than that. I tend to make mashed potatoes a day ahead of a big family dinner and gently reheat in the oven; microwaving them tends to change the texture. Alternately, make them earlier in the morning and keep them warm by covering a pan with plastic wrap and nestling into a simmering … [Read more...]

Fearless Thanksgiving Guide

We all know that holiday dinners should be a time to celebrate family, friends and food, but more often than not, it's a stressful holiday, with anxious hosts more worried about the turkey than about the people around the table. Enough! I talked to various home cooks hosting holiday dinners for the first time. I asked, what do you want to know? Questions poured in, from what turkey to buy to how to make a pie crust. … [Read more...]

Fearless Thanksgiving: Turkey FAQ

That's me, age four, stuffing a turkey. I've been doing this holiday dinner thing a long time. So much information exists on the humble turkey, a curiously popular bird. Here are simple answers to common questions from reliable sources. [Updated November 2015] Q. Why do we eat turkey on holidays, anyway? A. Great question. As this terrific column in Slate explains, back in the day when people grew their own meats, … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving: 27 Great Tips from Food Writers

                    Holiday meals can cause even confident cooks anxiety. I asked some of my food writer friends for their best advice. - Kathleen. General Planning Tips 1. Make Lists "Make lots of lists," advises Diane Morgan, the author of The New Thanksgiving Table and The Thanksgiving Table. "Make a grocery list and divide it among the different stores … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving: Best Guides Online

I had to stop into my local supermarket yesterday to pick up two bottles of Prosecco -- and a pack of new kitchen sponges as that's the kind of thrilling dichotomy that rules my life. Then I saw it: the huge bin of frozen turkeys. It's that time of year again. A select few know about my slightly disturbing fascination with supermarkets. What's in food stores and what people choose to purchase intrigues me endlessly. So I … [Read more...]

How to Build a Holiday Dinner Menu

Ah, that annual stressful event known as holiday dinner planning. If you're a novice cook, it can seem deeply conflicted. But then, remember the math. Most classic holiday dinner menus include a main dish,  gravy or sauce, potatoes, two to three vegetables, some bread, plus dessert. If you're opting for a roast turkey - a favorite for both Thanksgiving and Christmas in the U.S. and Christmas in other countries - then you … [Read more...]

Recipe: Easy Peppermint Bark

A confession: I don't like chocolate. I don't loathe it, I just don't love it. This news always takes people by surprise. Somehow by the mere fact of my gender, it's assumed that I must immediately be in love with all things dark and sweet. Taste can be so highly individualized, and pesky in nature. Give me a choice between a wedge chocolate cake and a slice of banana cream pie, you'll find a banana-soaked remains of a … [Read more...]

14 Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers

“I think leftovers are one of the best things about Thanksgiving!” - Amy Sherman of Cooking with Amy.  This was the general consensus when I asked some food writer friends what they do with their leftovers. Here’s some advice. 1. Update the traditional leftover sandwich “I just recently created some holiday recipes for a grocery store and some of them used leftover turkey,” Amy says. “One of my absolute favorite recipes … [Read more...]