Note: This book is slightly outdated. Yes, you still roast a turkey exactly the same way in 2022 as you did in 2012! But while using this book to prepare Thanksgiving dinner in 2022, Joe noticed a bunch of irritating little mistakes and thought of several ways of improving my advice. In addition, the layout and cover really need to be brought into modern times! So it needs a solid refresh, but because of this book’s unique formatting requirements, it will require more effort to pull off than our other titles. We hope, but do not promise, to release a new edition in the third quarter of 2023—well before Thanksgiving in Canada (October 9). (Read more about updates).)
If you’d like your Thanksgiving preparations to go smoothly (and who wouldn’t?), turn to experienced tech writer and foodie Joe Kissell for help. At least half the battle is a good plan, and Joe provides you with a customizable plan that gets you organized, helps you figure out what you need to buy, and prevents last-minute problems. Once the planning and shopping are done, follow Joe’s detailed, tested recipes for Thanksgiving dinner: roast turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, candied sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie.
"Thanks for a great guide! I used it to successfully cook my first complete Thanksgiving, almost single-handed. While I can follow recipes, I am nowhere close to ‘a cook’—your guide gave me the confidence to take on this meal!" —Ed Ruder
Appendixes cover special cases from allergies to vegans, drawings guide you as you work with the turkey, and a special included "Print Me" file provides shopping lists and schedules, as well as versions of the recipes that you can tape up in the kitchen. Although these recipes scale easily for a few more people, they are meant for 8-12 people. The recipes use U.S. and metric units.
Read this ebook to learn the answers to questions such as:
- What type of turkey should I buy?
- Is there a fast way to make cranberry relish?
- What’s the secret behind making perfect gravy?
- How do you deal with a raw turkey, and which end is the neck?
- See the FAQ tab (click it slightly above on this Web page) for more questions and some answers.
"I’ve been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for longer than I care to admit, and I never would have thought I’d pick up so many good tips! Great book!" —Trish Huffman
Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He formerly wrote for publications such as Macworld, Wirecutter, and TidBITS. He lives in Saskatoon with his wife, his two children, and his cat.
What’s New in Version 1.2
In version 1.2, I’ve modernized the book’s layout so that it works not only on large screens in PDF format, but also on smaller screens in EPUB and Mobipocket formats. In addition, I did the following:
- Corrected or removed a handful of links to Web sites that were no longer functional
- Made a few minor edits to bring the book up to date and fix typos
- Replaced Figure 1 (formerly a drawing) with a photo to better illustrate the appearance of turkey giblets
What Was New in Version 1.1
Version 1.1 included the following changes from the original release:
- Mentioned newer models of the Thermapen thermometer; see the sidebar Choosing an Instant-Read Thermometer.
- Added a note clarifying bread quantities; see Prepare Stuffing.
- Significantly revised the recipe for candied sweet potatoes, in response to reader feedback, to provide a thicker and more even glaze; see Make the Orange Dish.
- Mentioned some newfangled gadgets that may help with lacing and trussing a turkey on.
Q: What if I don't want to make everything by hand?
A: You don't have to! Although the book assumes you'll make most things by hand, it also has sidebars that suggest when cutting a corner may the better part of valor and an appendix helps if you have to make Thanksgiving dinner with little prep time.
Q: What about my aunt Martha's stuffing recipe?
A: The book provides recipes that work together in terms of time and temperature, but it also assumes that you may want to swap in a recipe or two of your own.
Q: I love David Allen's "Getting Things Done" methods. Will this book help me have a Getting Things Done Thanksgiving?
A: Yes it will. It walks you right through the planning process with lots of next steps, to-dos, and lists.
Q: How do you recommend preparing the turkey?
A: Joe explains a basic brining technique.
Q: Isn't brining too hard for less-experienced cooks?
A: Joe has a special talent for breaking down complex tasks into simple steps. We think a lot of cooks will be pleased when they see how easy Joe makes it.
Q: I noticed that you don't cover a green vegetable, homemade rolls, or pecan pie.
A: Yes. We limited the book's scope to something we felt could be achieved by normal humans. The book does welcome you to make more dishes, and it links to a few noteworthy recipes for green veggies.
Q: What about vegetarians?
A: The book has a lovely recipe for a polenta-and-cheese based main course for vegetarians, and it even has an appendix on how to accommodate vegans. However, if you plan to cook an all-vegan feast, this isn't the right book for you.
Q: What about the gravy?
A: The gravy recipe is superb. And, Joe splits it so people with less time or experience can go for great gravy, but readers with more time or experience can go for amazingly superb gravy.
Q: What's a computer geek doing writing a cookbook?
A: Joe writes about technology in order to support his habit of eating well, and he was playing with his food long before he started playing with computers. He wields a whisk or a mouse with equal proficiency. Joe realized that the same methods he uses to make seemingly complicated computer tasks seem easy could be applied to seemingly complicated cooking tasks, and this book is the result.
Posted by Tonya Engst on November 24, 2009
Get the scoop on Joe’s favorite ebook, Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner. In the MacVoices #9120 podcast episode, Joe and host Chuck Joiner talk about choosing a turkey, baking a moist turkey, making various side dishes, handling logistics, and more. Also, if you know what a turkey “giblet” is, but have always wondered which “giblet” is which organ, check out the Turkey Giblets post from Joe’s The Geeky Gourmet blog.
November 23, 2022—This book is slightly outdated. Yes, you still roast a turkey exactly the same way in 2022 as you did in 2012! But while using this book to prepare Thanksgiving dinner in 2022, Joe noticed a bunch of irritating little mistakes and thought of several ways of improving my advice. In addition, the layout and cover really need to be brought into modern times! So it needs a solid refresh, but because of this book’s unique formatting requirements, it will require more effort to pull off than our other titles. We hope, but do not promise, to release a new edition in the third quarter of 2023—well before Thanksgiving in Canada (October 9). (Read more about updates.)
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