I’m a fan of TidBit’s Publishing Take Control series of ebooks that make technology understandable and practical. I’ve been impressed with this affordable ($10.00, with free updates for new versions) series of .pdf , Mobi, and ePub ebooks (you can print the .pdf if you’d rather) right from the start.
In Take Control of Thanksgiving, Joe Kissell, an able and adept technical writer about all things Macintosh, and a long-term foodie, turned his geekly technical writing skills to creating Thanksgiving dinner.
The first version of Kissell’s Take Control of Thanksgiving came out in 2007. This is an updated edition Take Control of Thanksgiving. Kissell outlines, in simple understandable terms exactly what to do in terms of planning a menu, organizing your shopping list, and figuring out a cooking and prep schedule for a typical Thanksgiving dinner (roasted turkey, with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, candied sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie) with a number of alternates for dishes, and cooking styles, and the idiosyncrasies of guests.
Kissell, who is very much aware of the importance of presentation and visual appeal in terms of creating food people want to eat, feels that, properly speaking, a proper Thanksgiving dinner is built around the colors of “the traditional Thanksgiving colors of white, yellow, orange, red, and brown” (TCT 61), nonetheless offers not only the “traditional” Green Bean Casserole recipe, but a nifty suggestion for Roasting Green Beans. I’ve used his method, and it works beautifully.
One of the things I love about this book, aside from the easy, comfortable, and clear writing, is that there’s a lot of practical help here. Don’t have time for a day of shopping and a day of prep? Joe’s got that covered. Need to cook for more people? See the section explaining how to scale recipes. Worried about a post-Thanksgiving day life that includes six months of turkey tetrazzini? It doesn’t have to be that way, if you use Kissell’s very smart “Deal With Leftovers” advice. Plus, in one of the really, smart, helpful user-friendly parts of the Take Control of Thanksgiving ebook there’s a file of shopping guides, and prep schedules ready to print and use. Kissell really does cover all the bases—including vegetarian guests, Tofurkey Roasts, and a homemade Polenta Dome (à la Moosewood Cafe). Joe Kissell’s Take Control of Thanksgiving is a book that’s good to have in terms of trying something new, as a guide to planning your first “cook a whole bird” Thanksgiving, or if you’re in charge of planning a very large scale community or family gathering for Thanksgiving.