An Unconventional Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted by Whole Earth | 11.18.2020

A table outdoors set with a bottle of wine, several glasses, and a pie.



An Unconventional Thanksgiving Dinner


Thanksgiving looks like it’s going to be very different this year. There will be far fewer people traveling and gathering together for a holiday feast. If you’re an adventurous cook, perhaps this is the Thanksgiving to change up the menu and try something completely different. We’ve selected a few of our cookbooks that might inspire an unconventional Thanksgiving dinner and many more delicious meals throughout the coming year.


Cover of Pie Camp Book - the skills you need to make any piePie Camp: The Skills You Need to Make Any Pie You Want

Rumor has it that Kate McDermott has over 100 pie pans. That’s at least one for every pie recipe in this book plus her inspired variations.  If you were lucky enough to learn to make pies by the side of your family’s best baker or are a beginner who loves pies and would like to master the art, you’ll find wisdom born of experience and encouragement for your efforts in Pie Camp. McDermott’s detailed descriptions are full of practical information on important topics like tools, techniques, and ingredients. You’ll learn how to smoosh fat, get extra layers in your dough, make gluten-free crusts behave and fruit pies with flaky bottom crusts, as well as find guidance on decoration and presentation. For the holidays, consider updated versions of classic pies like Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Chess or a Pumpkin Orange or Persimmon Chiffon.


cover of the book Tequila and Tacos - A Guide to Spirited Pairings by Katherine Cobbs

Tequila & Tacos: A Guide to Spirited Pairings

Turn Thanksgiving dinner into a bold dining experience! Katherine Cobbs’ deep dive into tequila and tacos offers an abundance of possibilities for a memorable meal. She gives us an introduction to the history and making of tequila, mezcal and agave spirits. And while we usually think of sipping them straight, she suggests that these spirits play well with others and be can used creatively in cocktails. She also studies the Mexican taco and its fundamental building blocks: tortillas, a base filling, salsa, crema, cheese and garnishes. With these basic elements in play, the sky’s the limit for flavorful combinations using local ingredients and recipes from around the country, including Texas. Whip up your favorite taco recipes and the accompanying tequila cocktails and have a Thanksgiving feast like no other.


Cover of Cook with Me - 150 Recipes for the Home Cook by Alex GuarnaschelliCook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook

You may know Alex Guarnaschelli from the Food Network. She grew up in New York City and from an early age was exposed to cuisines from around the world and great cooks, thanks to her cookbook editor mother. In Guarnaschelli’s latest book, she presents modern family-style cooking with a difference. Many of the recipes found in Cook with Me are classics like spaghetti and meatballs, barbecued chicken, corn chowder and deviled eggs, but they are set apart from the everyday by the addition of an unexpected ingredient or an easy technique that pushes the dish to the next level of flavor. While this cookbook is one you’ll want to turn to for everyday meals, some of the appetizers would be standouts for Thanksgiving. Try Flaming Broiled Provolone or Spicy Crab Dip to start your feast with a bang!



Cover of The Tex-Mex Slow Cooker- 100 Delicious Recipes for Easy Everyday Meals by Vianney RodriguezThe Tex-Mex Slow Cooker: 100 Delicious Recipes for Easy Everyday Meals

We don’t normally think of breaking out the slow cooker for Thanksgiving except perhaps for keeping the mulled cider at just the right temperature. But Vianney Rodriguez is making us reconsider. The comfort of a Tex-Mex Thanksgiving spread may be just what we’re looking for this year. Many Tex-Mex dishes require hours of long slow simmering for maximum flavor and tenderness. So why not let the crockpot do the work? Round up several slow-cookers from your pandemic pod and make Carne Guisada or Cochinita Pibil with Elote Rice and Borracho Beans and don’t forget the queso, bean dip and other scrumptious appetizers. To complete the menu, Rodriguez also offers companion sauces, cocktails, salads and dessert recipes. Mexican Chocolate Pan Dulce Bread Pudding anyone?


Cover of In Bibi's Kitchen: the Recipes and Stores of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean by Hawa Hasa and Julia TurshenIn Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean

Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving with food from East Africa! Hawa Hasan and Julia Turshen introduce us to matriarchs from Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar and Comoros, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. In Bibi’s Kitchen is rich with colorful photos and recipes. The grandmothers tell stories and are shown at work in their kitchens adding a personal touch to the recipes. Consider serving Somali Digaag Qumbe – a chicken stew with yogurt and coconut and Sabaayad – a flatbread. For sides, Mukimo – mashed potatoes mixed with onions and greens and Kunde – blackeyed peas and tomatoes in peanut sauce, both from Kenya. And for dessert, a South African favorite Malva Pudding Cake. If you’re looking for new flavors and techniques, this cookbook is an adventure for the holidays and beyond.


We hope these cookbooks or others you’ll find on the shelves in our stores or online will inspire you to have a different kind of Thanksgiving feast this year. And beyond the holiday they’ll help you hone your skills and make you an even better cook or baker to the delight of your family and friends.


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