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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  64 reviews

From one of America’s finest food writers, the former restaurant critic for The New York Times, comes a definitive, timeless guide to Thanksgiving dinner—preparing it, surviving it, and pulling it off in style.

From the planning of the meal to the washing of the last plate, Thanksgiving poses more—and more vexing—problem...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Random House (first published January 1st 2012)
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This is a fun book if you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner, although possibly more fun if you're only eating it. Sifton, a former New York Times restaurant critic, has definite opinions about what Thanksgiving dinner is but he's not at all stuffy about it. His thesis is that this dinner should be all about tradition, not experimentation, and that certain things Are Done (pumpkin pie) and certain things Are Not Done (sorbet). At the same time, he also says that his traditional turkey includes a ros...more
When I got a book from Goodreads Advance Readers that was about preparing Thanksgiving, I wasn't as super stoked as I would have been if it had been a different cookbook to add to my collection. The book sat on my coffee table for a few days. Grudgingly I picked it up thinking that I would flip through to find a side dish recipe inside and I'd do nothing more with it. (I do have to think about these things early because mummy dearest needs to know what I'm bringing so she can maintain up-to-date...more
Nov 02, 2012 Natlukens rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone about to cook their first Thanksgiving meal
I won my first Goodreads giveaway!!!! Ironically with the shipping time, it probably won't get here until after Thanksgiving.
(edit) Actually I received the book in the mail with plenty of time to spare before Thanksgiving!!

My review:
3.5 stars, because as a cookbook, I liked it well enough to read it cover to cover.

I have to preface this with a bit of a side story. I used to hate Thanksgiving. I don't like the food, I don't like the reasons behind the tradition, I just didn't care. I didn't ev...more
I won a copy of this book from Goodreads. Are there no photographs because I received an ARC?? Or are there not going to be any photographs in the final book? Really?

Most of the recipes were similar to what my Dad used to do for Thanksgiving and, therefore, meet with my complete approval. One thing I thought was funny was how the author stated that there was to be no garlic used on Thanksgiving and then proceeds to give us not one but two perfectly good recipes that contain garlic. I guess that...more
Adrienne Furness
Nov 10, 2012 Adrienne Furness added it
Shelves: food
Here it is: the first ebook I downloaded from OverDrive and actually read. Very good, read it in one sitting. It did everything a book about food is supposed to do, made me hungry and made me want to cook. I'm buying a for-real paper copy to send to my dad (Linda, if you see this, don't tell!) and another for my own self.
Of course it's five stars because of course I would trust Sam Sifton to offer the very best advice on hosting a delicious, warm and memorable Thanksgiving. Oysters and sparkling wine outside before dinner? Forever and ever, yes please. I just need to get everyone to my house now.

I got this not because I'm hosting, but I wanted to look at the recipes. It's good, traditional Thanksgiving food, nothing fancy pants, and it all sounds good. Nothing I'd fish out and keep, but a good book for a starter host. The writing was funny, too. A fun little book.
Turns the dread of cooking THE FOOD holiday feast into excitement. Thank you Adrienne for the gift & Sam Sifton for writing it.

My Thanksgiving will include macaroni & cheese from now on.
There should be napkins too, real ones, and a walk after you eat, and then dogs asleep on the floor or a cat asleep on your lap. There ought to be laughter throughout. For whoever comes into your home, whoever you invite, whoever invites himself, whoever needs to be invited, whoever's there: Thanksgiving ought to be the best holiday of the year. 6

Let us speak plainly: you are going to need a lot of butter. Thanksgiving is not a day for diets, or for worrying about your cholesterol. It is a day...more
A review of this book through quotes...
"Thanksgiving after all, always brings questions, doubts, and emergencies. This book exists to answer and assuage them and, if necessary, to apply electric paddles to chests."

"But be forewarned. Thanksgiving [the book] is not a book for everyone. It is not for those in search of the new thanksgiving craze...the next big trend in holiday entertaining. Thanksgiving is a holiday that anchors itself in tradition."

"Let us speak plainly: you are going to need a l...more
Oct 26, 2012 Angie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Angie by: Goodreads First Reads
I am so glad I won this book as part of the First Read Program! It arrived and I happened to be off work for the day and read it cover to cover. Well, truthfully, I skimmed over the Oysters as the ONLY appitizer part because that is NEVER going to happen and I skipped some of the actual cooking directions to the receipes for later) However, Sam's writing and knowledge made this not only a book I'm thankful to own but gave me the courage to step up and volunteer to cook Thanksgiving. This is some...more
Food writer and former New York Times restaurant critic, Sam Sifton, and I are almost of one mind when it comes to Thanksgiving. Though we do not agree on brussels sprouts (I don't like them, no matter how much butter you put on them) or the presence of salad (Sifton is firmly against it, but I think a well-placed pear, handful of pomegranate seeds, or thinly sliced fennel bulb can be the crisp note necessary to progress further with a rich meal), we both insist on a beautifully set table, lots...more
Brandy Bacala
Sam Sifton adds a refreshing dash of humor to Thanksgiving dinner preparations in Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well. This book is a quick read and offers several variations of Thanksgiving Day staples like turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Sifton doesn't overcomplicate his recipes or serving advice, but sticks to tried and true methods. Sure, some of these basics won't compare to your great grandmother's cornbread dressing recipe, but it's a good starting off point, especially for those try...more
Sam Sifton knows Thanksgiving! His brilliant take on brine made my fresh from the farm turkey fantastic! Here's the secret: No more than 1 cup salt per gallon. In one gallon of water, on the stove, dissolve 3/4 cup kosher salt & 3/4 cup sugar. Add one cut up onion, one cut up carrot, and one cut up stalk of celery (and anything else you like) I used a tablespoon each unground black peppercorns,
rep pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, 2 bay leaves. After salt/sugar is dissolved, add another gallo...more
I'm was excited to get this book as a free reads winner because for the first time I will be hosting Thanksgiving at my house for extended family so I need to be prepared. Unfortunately this book did tell me much that was very new. The introduction was actually a turn off. It painted a negative picture (most Thanksgivings are far from what he described!) that the author is going to magically fix for you with this book. Not so. I found the author's attitude a bit snobby, like you have to only ser...more
This is a cookbook that is really more like narrative nonfiction, leading the reader firmly but gently from appetizers (maybe some raw oysters with prosecco, otherwise don't bother), through the turkey, gravy, side dishes, drinks (don't stint on the wine and brown liquor) and dessert. No salad at this meal and no marshmallows either, unless they have been part of your family's tradition forever. Cleanup is covered, too, plus what to do with the leftovers (turkey gumbo, anyone?). Sifton must be k...more
Hosting Thanksgiving successfully calls for hitting all the right notes. In the past, I've gone overboard with less than successful results despite knocking myself out. Sam Sifton says to forget the apps and salad. Thank you! Concentrate on the turkey and savory sides. Finish it off with great desserts. This book is a guide to everything needed that day from the pots and pans, utensils, ingredients, recipes, and table setting. I'm only 19% of the way through, yet I'm already feeling much better...more
Kathy Moberg
My copy is a free, Goodreads giveaway. It is a nice little basic Thanksgiving cookbook. However, there are a lot of similar ones available, and many are much better. The author is quite sound on the topic (I approve of his directions for grilling a turkey!)and the essays with each chapter are charming and humerous. There are not very many recipes (sadly, not one that I want to try) and no photographs. There are a few lovely drawings, but not enough. If you've never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner a...more
I love this little book (only 133 pages) about cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I like the author's philosophy about the meal which champions a traditional approach to the food and no shortcuts. He strongly suggests dispensing with appetizers and salad. (I agree, I agree!) There are recipes here, and even though I've cooked Thanksgiving dinner many, many...many times, I picked up some very handy tips. There is even a short chapter on setting the table, one one drinks and another on cleanup and lefto...more

I loved this book. It pays homage to Thanksgiving and the importance of making everything simple, but special. I mostly took this book out of the library because of my inability to make a perfect gravy. Apparently that turkey neck I've been throwing out for 25 years is important. I learned how to make an easy turkey stock with it and will try it out this year. I've decided to buy a copy of this book to review for all things Turkey and/or Thanksgiving. If you're looking for Thanksgiving inspirat...more
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway. I appreciate the author's approach to the holiday. Having cooked a number of Thanksgiving meals, I have some recipes that I enjoy and make each year. Still, the book had a couple I will try. I'll probably re-read the part about stock and gravy (the part of the meal I don't like making) before Thanksgiving.

I think this book would be especially helpful to someone who is hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. Lots of information, clearly written.
The author is a little overbearing in his opinions on what to serve for Thanksgiving (no salad or appetizers, which only take up valuable digestive room) and how to serve it, however the book is a fun, quick read. Recipes sound good. Bring on the butter!
Caitlin Meisenbach
Saw a few interviews with the author floating around the web and got hooked on his humor. Immediately got this for my kindle. Glad I choose the kindle version over paper, because it's an awesome pep talk and a great reminder about the reason for the holiday, but the recipes are few and pretty basic. I imagine it would be a great place to start when cooking your first Thanksgiving, but it's come a few years late for me.
I wish I'd finished reading this the day before Thanksgiving instead of the day after! Lots of good tips and nice, classic-looking recipes. Totally agreed with his points about not serving appetizers or salads at Thanksgiving - don't kill your appetite before a feast and don't waste precious plate space with boring green salads! Indulge.
No photographs of the food, but the few illustrations in the book were very nice.
I checked this out from the library hoping for some new recipes to add to our Thanksgiving or a fabulous way to cook the turkey. I didn't find it. If you have never cooked for Thanksgiving before and aren't tied to regional favorites (I live in the South and many of the sides he mentioned aren't common), then this may be the book for you. As mentioned before, this isn't the book for everyone and it wasn't for me.
(Note: This review is based on an ARC I won in a First Reads giveaway.)

Informative and humorous. Includes lots of recipes, cooking tips, and general advice. The author could be a little militant in his "this is absolutely necessary" vs. "this is completely unacceptable" positions, but overall a good instruction guide for preparing a traditional Thanksgiving.
I won the free copy of this and really like the conversational style, the all-ecompassing discussion about the whole holiday of Thanksgiving - not just the food, but the table settings and other considerations. My daughter is cooking her first turkey for a small gathering this year and I am sending this on to her - I thinnk it will be a great resource!
Lori Levise
This isn't a large book, but it is a good cookbook. It covers all the thongs to make a great Thanksgiving feast or any other celebration. I used numerous recipes from this book on Thanksgiving and on leftover days. Loved the ideas and tips and will use more recipes for Christmas. Thanks Goodreads for my free copy to review.
While I really don't like cookbooks that are without color photographs, I must admit I liked this one even though there were only B&W illustrations. There are lots of tips on setting the table, checking your kitchen for cooking tools, pantry for ingredients, how to clean up after the meal and what to do with leftovers.
This book is funnnnn. Though I have never actually attempted the recipes inside of here, it reads pretty well cover to cover! I like to imagine Sam Sifton among all the other NYT foodie bigwigs Frank Bruni and Mark Bittman chilling in their expensive Brooklyn homes, stuffing turkeys and drinking spiced rum.
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