It’s the first day of autumn, which in the United States means just one thing: the Halloween shopping season! Normally I don’t like thinking about holidays too far in advance, but all summer long I’ve had my mind on another holiday: Thanksgiving. I spent much of the summer writing, testing, and revising my latest book, Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner, and I’m pleased to announce that it’s now available for sale. If you’ve ever tried to cook a Thanksgiving feast for a crowd and run into problems (or if you’re trying it this year for the first time), this book is the solution. It walks you through every step in detail, with careful attention to timing and logistics, so that all the food will be done right and on time—with as little stress for the cook as possible. The book covers the traditional Thanksgiving dishes: roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie.
American readers may be thinking that even late September is rather early to be talking about a late-November holiday, but we wanted to get the book out in plenty of time for folks in Canada, where Thanksgiving falls on October 9 this year. (And by the way, I’ve included metric equivalents for all the measurements!) Because some of the planning tasks I recommend can usefully be done a few weeks before Thanksgiving, we wanted to get it out as quickly as we could. (It would have been published last week, in fact, were it not for a last-minute logistical glitch involving the illustrations. Props to illustrator Jeff Tolbert for rapidly and brilliantly solving all our graphical problems.)
This 104-page book is initially available in electronic form. The ebook costs US$10 and can be downloaded immediately; you can then, if you wish, print it yourself. We’re working hard to get a custom-printed, spiral-bound version ready, and it should be available within a couple of weeks or so (but, I’m afraid, not in time for Thanksgiving in Canada—sorry!). Either way, you also get a downloadable “Print Me” file containing the shopping lists, recipes, and schedules, so that you have something you can tape up in the kitchen, write on, and take with you to the store.
Although I’m no stranger to writing books and ebooks, this project is quite a departure for me, as I normally cover computer-related topics. But I love to cook, too, and have wanted to write a book about food for some time. The publisher and I figured that if I can make something complicated like backing up your computer or installing a new operating system easy to understand, I should be able to do the same thing for a similarly involved cooking project, and I believe I’ve succeeded with this book. You don’t have to be a computer geek (or a cooking geek!) to follow my instructions; the book is written in plain, nontechnical English. As long as you can boil water or chop celery, you should be in good shape.
As time goes on (and particularly in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving), look for more information, tips, and details on this site relating to Thanksgiving dinner. In the meantime, if you plan to cook the big feast this year, please do yourself (and me!) a favor by picking up the new book. I think you’ll find it well worth the money!