Thanksgiving 911 from Amanda Hesser

Thanksgiving 911 from Amanda Hesser

We’re just days away from Thanksgiving, and the clock is ticking. But, even if you are the worst culinary procrastinator, Bookish has you covered. We consulted Amanda Hesser, the former New York Times food columnist whose website, Food52 has spawned two cookbooks. The first, “The Food52 Cookbook,” compiled crowd-sourced recipes from’s avid users; and “The Food52 Cookbook: Volume 2” brings together some of the website’s most successful recipes, with a focus on seasonal flavors.

We asked Hesser about the ideal menu for a harried host, and how to get it on the table with minimal bodily harm. Plus, she offers up recipes sure to wow the clan while keeping the host(ess) sane.

Bookish: What’s the most common mistake home chefs make at Thanksgiving? Amanda Hesser: Thinking that everything must be served hot. This makes cooks crazy, because they run around trying to get nine hot dishes on the table at the same time. Always plan for at least one-third of your dishes to be made ahead and served at room temperature.

Bookish: What’s an under-appreciated side dish that could really steal the show?
AH: Parsnip and potato puree. All you have to do is throw a cubed parsnip in with your boiling potatoes and mash like usual. Parsnips infuse the mash with a little mineral sweetness.

Bookish: What’s your advice for someone making his or her first big Thanksgiving dinner?
AH: Don’t be a martyr and cook it all yourself. Farm out a few dishes to your family and guests.

A Food52 Thanksgiving
Amanda’s Food52 picks for the perfect Thanksgiving menu:

Worth the Effort
Grilled Bread with Thyme Pesto and Preserved Lemon Cream
Winter Spring Summer Fall Chicken Mousse
Ciabatta Stuffing with Chorizo, Sweet Potato, and Mushrooms
The Alice Waters turkey from “The Essential New York Times Cookbook”

Make Ahead
Crispy Delicata Rings with Currant, Fennel & Apple Relish
Tangerine and Almond Shortbread Tart
Brown Butter and Cheddar Apple Pie

Sophisticated, But Not Complicated
Roasted Bagna Cauda Broccoli
Kale with Pancetta, Cream, and Toasted Rosemary Walnuts

Farm Out to a Friend
Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
Ginger Apple Torte


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