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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  244 ratings  ·  78 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
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Random House (first published January 1st 2012)
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I'm in charge of Thanksgiving this year, so I thought I'd read this book far enough in advance to try out a few recipes. I love Sam Sifton's work in the NY times. I greatly appreciate that he is a purist when it comes to what should be served at Thanksgiving- it is not the time for appetizers, salad, or experimentation. He made me laugh out loud frequently. Some of my favorite lines:

"At Thanksgiving, appetizers take up valuable stomach space. They are insulting to your own hard work. And salad?
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sep 21, 2014 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone hostingThanksgiving
Recommended to Jessica by: Deadalus book catalog
Shelves: non-fiction
I am only holding back on 5 stars because I haven't tried any of the recipes yet but what a great little book. Perfect for gifting to friends and family for shower/wedding/new home gift. Lovely writing, no pretension, great classic recipes - this is totally a one-stop-shop for the Thanksgiving host or hostess.

Great for getting in the mood of the season, for pre-planning and implementation as well as an ego-booster - YOU CAN DO IT!

Don't look for slimmed down versions of anything (butter, everythi
I have been wanting this book for ages. As an American living overseas, I was seeking some guidance as to how to cook a meal that was both traditional and something that friends of any nationality could appreciate. While this book provides the classic recipes and general advice that I was seeking, I could have done without some of the advice, which frankly sounded a bit churlish and nasty. For example, "A napkin stuffed into a wine glass is tragic.” Is it really? I guess I'm just tired of food e ...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.
The Sifton work is partly cookbook, partly memoir and partly editorial. Two or three of the recipes were fine, but my truly favorite parts were his editorial comments regarding what constitutes a real Thanksgiving dinner…lots of butter, a tablecloth, no plastic, candles, and so on. I agree with him 100% and always use the silver, candles, good china, and no one wears jeans or a t-shirt. And as for butter…oh, yes!! I disagree with him on only two points: I would never, but never, put macaroni and ...more
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.
This was a delightful little volume, very much in keeping with the spirit of the holiday. In the opening pages, Sifton sets a great tone: "For whoever comes into your home, whoever invites himself, whoever needs to be invited, whoever's there: Thanksgiving ought to be the best day of the year." I enjoyed his can-do attitude throughout the text, his liberal dashes of humor and plenty of sensible advice. I can see this being a game-changer for someone hosting their first Thanksgiving meal, but too ...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
Sandy Irwin
This is more than a cookbook - it is a narrative on Thanksgiving meals and traditions. Admittedly, I did not read it cover to cover, but I did read many selections. Also, I am not a great cook; I have a few meals that I can do well. What I appreciated was the simplicity of the recipes I chose for our Thanksgiving meal, along with information on how to cook a turkey. The maple-glazed carrots were delicious and easy to prepare.
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
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
I highly recommend this book to those who may not cook and want a real perspective as well as a how to guide to throwing an authentic Thanksgiving meal. He has some great stuff in here. And it is very funny. His personal experiences really help this how-to into a lets do it guide.
Amusing and opinionated primer on how to do Thanksgiving through the leftovers. Lovely from start to finish.

I curate my own recipes but appreciate the outline of a traditional meal. The best quips are the ones about behavioral expectations.
I curled up on the couch today and read this book cover to cover. Mr. Sifton had me laughing in some places, pondering in others and my mouth watering through it all. This book should be given to every first time Thanksgiving host/hostess.
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
Shannon Daigle
I'm giving it four stars only because I haven't gotten to try any of the recipes yet. The writing is smart and entertaining, and it's definitely worth an add to your cookbook library for the holiday!
I am definitely not the target audience for this book, since I don't care for turkey. Even the side dishes were boring, however.
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
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