Reading Material: Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

Maddie pup in Central Park, New York, NY  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Maddie pup in Central Park, New York, NY | Image: Laura Messersmith

Thanksgiving is everything that’s best about the holidays – there’s a great dinner, no shopping stress, and plenty of time to nap in front of the fire in between movies and board games. One of my all time favorite memories is of Thanksgiving a few years ago when everyone was home at the same time – a rare occurrence now that my siblings and I are married and/or scattered across the country. There was a giant snowstorm prompting a cabin fever initiated sledding party on the giant hill behind the house, which naturally lead to hot chocolate spiked with ancient booze of unknown provenance from the liquor cabinet. Sabra crème de cacao, even if it’s from a dusty bottle, tastes amazing in homemade cocoa.

The one drawback is city traffic insanity – nothing like sitting at a standstill on the West Side Highway to put a damper on the spirit. So, Mike, Maddie, and I will make the great migration “over the river and through the woods” Tuesday night. Cross your fingers that we make good time! I’m on point to help with dinner and after the wonderful Friendsgiving we attended last weekend I’m thinking very seriously of re-creating the menu. The only thing I’m leaving out from the traditional spread is green bean casserole. It might draw some flak from Mike’s direction but I’m hoping with the Winter Greens Gratin on the table he won’t notice….

Whether you’re a host or a guest, I’ve collected some Thanksgiving-appropriate reading material to help you prepare for your own festivities. Happy Thanksgiving!

Reading Material:
I can only imagine the sorrow of the people who lost loved ones or were touched by the terrorist events in Paris last weekend, so it’s heartening to see Parisians fighting back by holding tight to their cultural touchstones. #tousaubistro (via Eater)

If Thanksgiving had a fairy godmother it would clearly be Ina Garten arriving in a swirl of kosher salt and fresh herbs. Hamptons Magazine has the inside scoop on how she prepares. Or you could watch her Food Network special with Bobby Flay…not that I’ve had it on repeat or anything.

Most of us will be grocery shopping this weekend for the great cooking marathon that is Thanksgiving. Food52 has some advice for surviving what is sure to be a hectic day at the store without forgetting a key ingredient.

We’ve all been there: Thanksgiving morning dawns and the bird is still solid as a rock. What to do!? The Kitchn has some wisdom on how to handle frozen turkeys.

Are you spending time with family over the holidays? Probably a good moment to brush up on back issues of Dad Magazine so you’re prepared for the dinner table conversation. Applicable to uncles and fathers-in-law. (via The Toast)

A brief pause during this most American of holidays for another piece from Eater on the Great British Bake Off. I am seriously Jonesing for more GBBO and it is killing me that PBS only has 1.5 seasons. Cruel!

Reading Material: Friendsgiving Edition

Image:  Laura Messersmith

Image: Laura Messersmith

This week was better than last in the Dept. of Getting Stuff Done, fewer Internet rabbit holes ensnared me, the cooking was focused, my props mostly behaved themselves during their time in the limelight, and this weekend we have a Friendsgiving party to attend. Yay!

As you might imagine I’ve been plotting and scheming what to make since we received the invitation with a mental Pinterest board about seventy-five items (25% of which were pies) that would be a-mazing to make. Overkill, much? Probably a good thing our hosts put together a list of assignments or I might have showed up with everything from appetizers and dessert to the bird itself…

With my role clearly defined – two sides (this Herbed Butternut Squash & Apple Mash and a Winter Greens Gratin I can’t wait to share with you) and some assistance with turkey roasting – I did find some time to peruse a few Internet items. Here’s what caught my attention this week.

Reading Material:
A timely and relevant question in all entertaining moments, but particularly in times of high-pressure cooking: what to wear? The New Potato has some thoughts on Friendsgiving outfits.

Am I the only one who mainlined The Great British Bake-off when Netflix released it a few weeks ago and then searched madly for more seasons? GQ has perfectly distilled my thoughts on why the show is so good.

And while we’re at it, The Toast continues to kill it with their list of horrifying desserts on GBBO. Just a small slice of “treacle and desperation tart” for me, thanks.

Cooking TV presenter, Rachel Khoo, who knows what it’s like to cook in a small kitchen first hand, summarized her essential cooking tools. Do you agree with her list? (via Food52)

The New York Times notes that written recipes have evolved over time - as a writer, reader, and follower (sometimes) of recipes it resonated. Do you prefer direct and to the point, or a bit more story along the way?

I haven’t made it to Sadelle’s in Soho yet, but Bon Appétit says it’s like something out of a Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. They had me at “whimsy.”


Reading Material - San Francisco

Pacific Heights, San Francisco, California  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Pacific Heights, San Francisco, California | Image: Laura Messersmith

It’s been a busy two weeks of travel first out to San Francisco where we hiked up this super steep hill to Pacific Heights and spotted this incredible house on the way – I could move right in! Then it was on to South Carolina with a great crew of friends (and kiddos!) for lots of football, cooking, and beach time. This is what I made in case you were curious:

All those flights have left this space a little radio-silent, but it’s fall again and I’m feeling reinvigorated to dive into new recipes featuring some of my favorite ingredients – prepare yourself for #smallkitchenfriendly recipes with lots of apples, squash, and warming spices. This weekend marks the first hurricane of the season shifting toward New York and it’s the perfect time to hunker down with some excellent reading material read by candlelight if necessary.

Reading Material:

Rainy weekends call for a stack of movies and The Kitchn has a perfectly curated list of their favorite movie kitchens. I’d willingly cook in every single one!

While we’re on the subject of silver screen perfection, this round table discussion of Nancy Meyers from The Toast is a spot-on summation of her seamless style.

If you haven’t read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins yet (soon to star the wonderful Emily Blunt) please do! It made a 6 hour flight back from SF fly by, pun 100% intended.

This list of media brands as cocktails from Food52 is a little inside baseball, but it still made me smile. I think I’m either a Cherry Bombe girl or on a good day Food + Wine….

More humor, this time burgers as chefs from The New Yorker. Of course, our girl Ina got a shout out.

Chicagoland + Reading Material

I’m spending the weekend in the greater Chicagoland area to celebrate the bridal festivities of my sister-in-law, which if all goes to plan will result in lots of great food and wonderful times. I didn’t want to leave you hanging though and so without further ado I present a smattering of Internet fun for your amusement.

Reading Material:

Berries are seriously such divas! Good thing Food52 has some strategies to keep them fuzz-free a few days longer and free us from the tyranny of their delicate constitution.

Did you hear about the kerfuffle the New York Times caused when they suggested that peas belonged in guacamole? (No. Just, no.) Well, a writer from The Atlantic made the recipe. Allow me to preview: “I don’t believe in wasting avocados on an abomination.”

Lovely photography and a little French lesson courtesy of Buzz Feed. Hoping I might be the sortable kind of person…

And while we’re on the subject of French, a blast from the past: a piece from The New Yorker detailing several days of Julia Child’s promotional tour in 1974.

Remember when I spent last summer scouting the best mint chocolate chip ice cream? If Eater is right and these artisan ice cream makers have their way next summer it will be the best salt & pepper, bourbon, green tea swirl.