A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Favorite holiday cookbooks

on November 19, 2013

I absolutely love cookbooks and read them as much for inspiration and the joy of reading about food as I do for actual recipes. I have a ton of favorites and am constantly adding to my collection as I travel. It’s one of my favorite ways to remember places I’ve visited! This month, in honor of Thanksgiving, I’ve found myself flipping through my favorite Thanksgiving cookbooks.

A few weeks ago, I posted about reading my Thanksgiving cookbook while I was out for a walk. I loved the juxtaposition of reading about decadent food while exercising! The book I was reading, Thanksgiving by Sam Sifton, is a short and quick read that would make a nice gift for someone looking to host their first Thanksgiving.

imageIt’s full of history about Thanksgiving itself and stories from the author’s Thanksgiving’s past, as well as plenty of straightforward, classic recipes. This not a book with frou-frou experimental dishes, but if someone wants a solid foundation in the flagship dishes of the holiday this is a great place to start. I particularly like the variations on cranberry sauce and the brussel sprouts recipe (the first way I ever learned to enjoy brussel sprouts – with cream and bacon!).

My copy of  Nigella Lawson’s Feast actually travels with me when I go to my family’s house for Thanksgiving, along with my chef’s knife, if I’m going to be there in time to help cook.

imageI could read this all day – I hear her lovely British accent in my ear as I read through the stories that fill the book. My absolute favorite cookbooks are the ones that include the stories behind the way a particular chef approaches a recipe, including in this one a discussion of the wariness she as a British chef felt in approaching such an American holiday. In fact, Thanksgiving and Christmas are included as a single section in this book, with a focus on the tradition and togetherness that characterizes the classic foods of those holidays. The reason I travel with this cookbook is that my most successful roast turkeys follow her instructions. This book was the turning point for our turkeys, away from dry and bland and toward something really delish. This book is also fun because it doesn’t cover the traditional American holidays, but more of a general approach to celebrating life. It also includes variations of meals and menus for various size crowds (including Valentine’s day for one!).

The inspiration for today’s post actually comes from this cookbook, new to my collection:


Last night, I actually got to go get my copy of this book signed by the Pioneer Woman herself. I find her endearingly awkward and O likes watching her show on the Food Network for the dogs and the cows. In person, both she and her husband were really nice and gracious. I got lots of activity points waiting in this line right?




The dessert recipes we’ve tried of hers are absolutely wonderful (the orange-vanilla monkey bread is to die for!!) although definitely not low calorie – save these for splurges! The chocolate sheet cake is the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever used – we used it to make cupcakes for O’s birthday (and they were worth every point!). Very moist and chocolatey. This new cookbook includes all of the major American holidays (including the Super Bowl). For the Thanksgiving section, there are lots of variations of dressing/stuffing and a green bean recipe that I’m considering introducing at our Thanksgiving rather than our usual canned green bean casserole (green beans with tomatoes). It also has several recipes specifically for Thanksgiving leftovers, which is a great idea! The turkey spring rolls and turkey pot pie both look wonderful. I think we’ll be trying out the spring rolls with a turkey breast we cook in the slow cooker one of these days.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes and cookbooks? I love this time of year – I spend so much time getting to think about food, one of my favorite things, and planning. Even though I’m not hosting this year, I enjoy thinking about what we’ll do to make things work for my healthier choices and what we’ll do for Christmas dinner in just a few weeks.

*Not a sponsored post – just my personal favorites!



One response to “Favorite holiday cookbooks

  1. […] from the same authors). I love reading Sam Sifton’ s Thanksgiving book (see it Monday in my Holiday cookbook post) and this post he wrote for their site really distills the essence of the book. I particularly […]

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