Top Ten Cookbooks for Thanksgiving

This is one of my favorite holidays–between eating all the food, hanging out with family, and, of course, making everyone wish me a belated happy birthday, I love Thanksgiving!

This week’s top ten theme is “authors I would love to have at my Thanksgiving feast,” so I’m highlighting some awesome cookbooks and foodie memoirs. Of course, if these guys actually came to my house for Thanksgiving, I’d make it a potluck. Two reasons: 1. Their food is guaranteed to be better and 2. From what I hear, it’s kind of a faux pas to give a chef food poisoning on the biggest food holiday of the year.

But anyway, my list!

10. Eater’s Choice: A Food Lover’s Guide to Lower Cholesterol by Dr. Ron Goor and Nancy Goor
I don’t have a cholesterol problem (at least, I don’t think I do), but the holiday season is young; it’s never too soon to start listening to the good doctor. Plus his recipes are pretty damn good–not just good for you–if you can get past the seventies-style cover design. I like that the authors included an entire section of week-by-week dinner planning tips… not that I’ve ever followed them. We’d probably have to ask these guys to leave before the ice cream is served.

9. The Lean Mean Fat Grilling Machine Cookbook by George Foreman and Connie Meredith
Look, before you get all snobby and foodie on me, hear me out. This is actually a pretty decent cookbook, even if it did see more play during Jack’s bachelor years. We use our Foreman grill regularly (I’m sure the doctors above would be thrilled), and this book has some great ideas for spicing things up. Also, it makes me think of this:

8. 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes, edited by Carrie E. Holcomb
This is a great little recipe book, especially in winter when the days darken early and all you want when you get home from work is an already-cooked dinner to warm you up. The five-ingredient part makes it different from other slow cooker recipes. After all, slow cookers are all about slacking off! You might as well be “efficient” with the ingredients too. I just hope Ms. Holcomb brings her delicious Tuscan Bean and Sausage Stew, and doesn’t try to get all fancy with a slow-cooked dessert.

7. Sweet Magic by Michel Richard with Peter Kaminsky
In fact, let’s save the dessert-making for this guy. I salivated my way through this delicious dessert cookbook last year around this time, but I still haven’t worked up the nerve to make any of the dishes. They all sound so good, I’m worried I’ll ruin their reputation. (Also, I don’t have some of the crazy gadgets he mentions, like an “electric mixer.”) I’d be happy to leave the cooking to this classically trained chef this holiday season.

6. Blood. Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
OK, so technically I haven’t read this one yet, which might make for an awkward conversation starter with the author. But I’ve heard good things about it! Several of my friends who enjoy both food and writing have scolded me for not reading it yet. Which is harder: Reading a book, or being chided for missing one of the best foodie memoirs of the year? I thought so.

5. Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan
Speaking of great foodie memoirs–I read this one recently and loved it. Bijan, in addition to being an award-winning chef, is also a great storyteller, and the only thing better than the 30 delicious recipes sprinkled in were her stories about growing up in Iran, the United States, and France. If Ms. Bijan showed up at my Thanksgiving, I would be sure to ask her what her mother would cook every year; once the family immigrated to the United States, Bijan wrote in her book, Thanksgiving was one of her mother’s favorite times of year.

4. Dishing Up Maryland by Lucie L. Snodgrass
Since Jack and I celebrate Thanksgiving with his family in Maryland, it’s nice to have a cookbook that celebrates local food. My favorite recipe in this is the corn and crab chowder–you gotta try it! This cookbook is a little more challenging than, say, George Foreman’s, because it calls for unique ingredients that are only in season for a few weeks out of the year. But when I want to make something a little fancier than usual, I flip through this cookbook’s glossy pages and gorgeous photographs for inspiration a little closer to home.

3. Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home by the Moosewood Collective
How do you make relatively easy dishes with healthy ingredients and not a lot of fuss? You buy this book. The dishes are never too difficult to make, but we always receive glowing compliments when we serve a recipe from this cookbook. And if a recipe calls for a particularly exotic ingredient, the book’s editors explain what it is and offer potential substitutes. This book is all vegetarian, which is great if you’re a veg. If you’re an omnivore like me, simply add you protein of choice and voila! Dinner is served.

2. Betty Crocker Cookbook by Betty Crocker
Some of my fondest childhood memories include pulling a chair up to the kitchen counter, reaching for my mom’s ancient, heavy Betty Crocker cookbook, and opening it to breathe in the scent of old pages pressed with flour. This is a fantastic go-to cookbook, so it’s a real shame that I actually don’t own one myself. (Especially since Ruthie got about five copies of it when she got hitched.) Maybe I’ll find one under my Christmas tree? (It’s possible, I suppose, especially if I put it there myself.)

1. Cooking Smart for a Healthy Heart by Reader’s Digest
Imagine it: Jack and I are in the checkout line at Goodwill, arms loaded with clothes I’m sure I don’t need, plus one shirt for Jack. This book catches both our eyes. We love cooking! And hearts! We hastily flip through the recipe cards in the binder, and already I’m planning to make that golden risotto and the German potato salad. The cashier was tapping her little toes, and another customer behind us began looking interested in that risotto too. And with that, our favorite cookbook came to live with us. In case you were wondering, the risotto and potatoes were both a big hit. In fact, I’ve never made a recipe in this book that didn’t at least live up to my expectations. (No pressure.)

OK, now I feel like cooking. But before I go… what are your favorite cookbooks and authors? I’d love to fatten up the cookbook shelf for the holidays!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday, bloggers create top ten lists about reading, writing, blogging, and more!

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