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Food for Thought

Cooking for the Holidays, or, Bourbon Makes It Better

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Hearty Thanksgiving greetings., Digital ID 1588268, New York Public LibraryHearty Thanksgiving greetings., Digital ID 1588268, New York Public LibraryAlthough the rapidly approaching holidays usually only induces feelings of anxiety, I do look forward to getting out the cookware and making my tried and true holiday desserts and side dishes such as English trifle, Danish rice pudding (risengrød a la mande) and sweet potatoes baked in a sauce of maple syrup, butter and BOURBON!

You heard me, a little bourbon makes something I used to dislike when I was younger into the talk of any Thanksgiving get-together. Basically, after gently boiling 3 lbs. of scrubbed sweet potatoes in their skins for about 15-20 minutes, until they just begin to soften to the touch (you want them to remain firm for slicing), let them cool, peel them, cut them into 1/2 inch slices, arrange them in a baking dish with a sauce of 1 cup maple syrup, 1 stick unsalted butter, a pinch of salt and 3/4 cup of BOURBON(!!!) (1 cup if you're daring), melted together over a low to medium flame in a saucepan, poured over the top of the sliced potatoes.

You can increase the amounts by 50% if you want more sauce. Bake them in the oven for about 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees until the top layer begins to caramelize. I sometimes throw a cinnamon stick into the saucepan when making the sauce and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes or so with the lid on the pot. Remove the cinnamon stick before adding the sauce made with BOURBON(!!!) to the sweet potatoes in the baking dish.

However, I digress. The purpose of this entry is to alert you, dear reader and anxious dinner host, to some of the cookbooks in the library's circulating collection to help you plan your menu for the holidays.

The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook. 641.5973 A

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook, 2001-2012. 641.5973 C (Chapter 6 is "Talking Turkey and All the Trimmings")

Essential Pepin. 641.5944 P (I'm including this title because I recently stopped into the Broadway Panhandler on 8th St. where a cook was demonstrating preparing some side dishes for Thanksgiving which included a very simple and delicious butternut squash au gratin which came from this recent Jacques Pepin cookbook)

Fruits of the Harvest: Recipes to Celebrate Kwanzaa and Other Holidays. 641.568 C

Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays: 60 Recipes for Traditional Festive Treats. 641.5638 S

Gooseberry Patch Big Book of Holiday Cooking. 641.56 G (On order)

Holiday Dinners with Bradley Ogden: 150 Festive Recipes for Bringing Family and Friends Together. 641.568 O

How to Cook Everything: Holiday Cooking. 641.568 B and ebook

How to Cook Everything: Thanksgiving. ebook (On order) (Like the previous title in this list this is part of the comprehensive How to Cook Everything series by Mark Bittman)

Let's Talk Turkey...And All the Trimmings. ebook (On order)

Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates: Festive Meals for Holidays and Special Occasions. 641.568 M

Mr. Food Every Day's a Holiday Diabetic Cookbook. 641.5631 G

The Neely's Celebration Cookbook. 642.4 N and ebook (by Gina and Patrick Neely, authors of Down Home with the Neely's cookbook)

Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations. ebook

The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook. 641.5636 A

Thanksgiving 101. ebook

Thanksgiving Entertaining. 641.568 P

Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well. 641.568 S and ebook (authored by the current New York Times National editor and former food writer, it includes his recipe for "Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovy Bread Crumbs" which I have seen ALL OVER THE INTERNET)

Thanksgiving: Recipes for a Holiday Meal. 641.568 P

Vegan Holiday Kitchen. 641.5636 A

After perusing this list you might have noticed that most cookbooks are located in call number 641.5 and sometimes 642. This should make it easy to browse the shelves of your local branch for these and other cookbooks. Use subject heading Holiday cooking when searching the online catalog.

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