After having sorted through all my photos yesterday, the cleaning up process continues with a post that I’d meant to put up prior to American Thanksgiving but never did.

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This past fall, I had the opportunity to review a copy of the cookbook How to Cook a Turkey produced by the talented team of people that work on Fine Cooking magazine. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but I consider Fine Cooking to be the best food magazine out there. While I love magazines like Food & Wine and Bon Appétit, Fine Cooking is the one that I turn to time and time again.

Published in September 2007, How to Cook a Turkey is a comprehensive and compact guide to preparing a holiday meal from start to finish. Don’t be fooled by the word turkey in the title. While the turkey has it’s own chapter in this book (and an excellent chapter it is), this cookbook isn’t just meant for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Divided into ten chapters including a holiday survival guide (which I love), the book covers every aspect of a holiday meal from appetizer to dessert. In typical Fine Cooking style, the recipes are clear and concise and in many cases (like making gravy) include step-by-step photos which would be particularly helpful to the person hosting a holiday party for the first time.

The recipes include the classics like Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Bacon, Roast Duck or Goose, Maple-Glazed Carrots, Classic Pie Crust and Apple-Cranberry Crisp. But the cookbook also includes some interesting twists on holiday foods like Bacon-Wrapped Ginger-Soy Scallops, Madeira Gravy, Pearl Onion Gratin with Parmesan, Savory and Thyme, Sweet Potato and Grits Spoon Bread and Espresso Gingerbread Cake.

For those of you that are turkey-obsessed, then this is definitely the book for you. I buy all the holiday magazines each year and have seen many a turkey how-to guide but I’ve never seen one as thorough, enlightening and helpful as the guide in this cookbook. From tips on which turkey to buy to brining, trussing and stuffing the turkey, every question you could possibly have is answered here. While I don’t believe a good cookbook needs photos, this cookbook has them and they are tremendously useful. There’s a gravy lesson for the gravy-challenged as well as a selection of stuffing options that are incredible.

So did I try any of the recipes? You betcha!

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Bacon

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Delicious! The apple adds a fruity element to the squash and who doesn’t love crumbled bacon on anything?

Classic Apple Pie

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While we have a family favourite recipe when it comes to apple pie, it never hurts to try a new one. This one is simple, easy to prepare, and comforting in the way that only apple pie can be.

Cranberry Rosemary Relish

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I decided it was time to try a cranberry sauce with a twist and this one fit the bill. The rosemary is an interesting foil for the tart cranberry.

Maple Walnuts

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Every holiday meal needs some munchies beforehand and these are perfect.

Yukon Gold Gruyère Galette

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Perhaps the star of all the recipes that I tried, this is a layered potato pie featuring potato and gruyère cheese. This one will cause family members to fight over who wants the last piece. What’s a holiday without a family argument???

I also tried the following recipes but in the heat of the kitchen battle I didn’t have the chance to photograph them:

Your Basic Stuffed Roast Turkey
Classic Bread Stuffing
Pan Gravy with Fresh Herbs (the best gravy I’ve ever made!)
Browned Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts and Lemons
Stuffed Mushrooms with Pancetta, Shallots and Sage

If you’re a cookbook addict like me, then here’s another one to add to the list. If you’re a cookbook novice and you’re looking for that one all-encompassing cookbook that will help you through any holiday meal, then this is also the one you want to pick up.

And that, my friends, is the final cookbook review for 2007!

Ciao!

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