Whether you’re a first-time Thanksgiving chef or a “seasoned” professional, we’ve gathered together some great cookbooks (and a few cozy mysteries) to help you get in the spirit of the holiday.
In this list: history of Thanksgiving, cookbooks, dessert, fiction
Have a Safe Thanksgiving ❤
Many people are choosing to stay home and relax this Thanksgiving. If you do choose to travel, here are some holiday considerations from the CDC:
Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.
Lower risk activities
- Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
- Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
- Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
- Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home
- Shopping online rather than in person
Moderate risk activities
- Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
- Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
- Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place
Higher risk activities
Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
- Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
- Attending crowded parades
- Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
- Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
History of Thanksgiving
The Biography of An American Holiday
James W. Baker
James Baker sweeps away lingering myths and misconceptions to show how this celebration day was born and grew to be an essential part of our national spirit.
Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday opens with an overview of the popular mythos of the holiday before discussing its possible religious and cultural precedents. This classic Yankee holiday is examined in historical and contemporary detail that embraces everything from proclamations, sermons, and local and regional traditions to family reunions, turkey dinners, and recipes.
This Land Is Their Land
The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, And the Troubled History of Thanksgiving
David J. Silverman
In March 1621, when Plymouth’s survival was hanging in the balance, the Wampanoag sachem (or chief), Ousamequin, and Plymouth’s governor, John Carver, declared their people’s friendship for each other and a commitment to mutual defense. Later that autumn, the English gathered their first successful harvest and lifted the specter of starvation. Ousamequin and 90 of his men then visited Plymouth for the “First Thanksgiving.” The treaty remained operative until King Philip’s War in 1675, when 50 years of uneasy peace between the two parties would come to an end.
400 years after that famous meal, historian David J. Silverman sheds profound new light on the events that led to the creation, and bloody dissolution, of this alliance. Focusing on the Wampanoag Indians, Silverman deepens the narrative to consider tensions that developed well before 1620 and lasted long after the devastating war-tracing the Wampanoags’ ongoing struggle for self-determination up to this very day.
This is only a small selection of cookbooks—you can also click here to see hundreds of cookbooks available at Berlin-Peck!
Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook
All You Need to Cook A Foolproof Dinner
Whether you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time or have hosted this celebration for years, here’s all you need to know to make your holiday special. Thanksgiving can be the most challenging meal to prepare-even for the most experienced cooks. Betty Crocker comes to the rescue with this complete do-it-yourself guide to making Thanksgiving delicious. Here are the treasured recipes with all the trimmings that you grew up with, plus plenty of great new twists on the traditional.
Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations
A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, And Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion
The best-selling author of the Against All Grains series presents 125 recipes for grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free comfort foods for the holidays and special occasions.
Dinner for Everyone
100 Iconic Dishes Made 3 Ways—Easy, Vegan, Or Perfect for Company
Bittman provides instructions for one hundred classic dishes, from a caesar salad to a Thanksgiving dinner. Each features three variations, easy, complex, and vegan. Whatever your experience level, or time constraint, you’ll find what you need to put dinner on the table with confidence and enthusiasm.
How to Cook A Turkey
And All the Other Trimmings
Fine Cooking Magazine
A holiday survival guide for a wide range of home cooks: first timers who have no idea where to even begin; more experienced cooks who, nonetheless, forget every year what temperature to cook their turkey at and for how long; and cooks of all levels who like the idea of having one compact holiday handbook of recipes and how-to information specific to their circumstances.
Make It Ahead
A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in front of the stove at your own party, scrambling to get everything to the table at just the right moment, Ina is here to let you in on her secrets! Thanks to twenty years of running a specialty food store and fifteen years writing cookbooks, she has learned exactly which dishes you can prep, assemble, or cook ahead of time.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-By-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations
Ree shows you how to ring in your favorite holidays with inspired menus for breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, parties, deliveries, and feasts, accompanied by fun instructions and hundreds of her signature step by step photos. Filled with creative and flavorful ideas for intimate dinners, group gatherings, and family meals, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays includes dozens of mouthwatering dishes (with nineteen recipes for Thanksgiving alone!), helping home cooks create a variety of delights.
The Side Dish Bible
1001 Perfect Recipes for Every Vegetable, Rice, Grain, And Bean Dish You’ll Ever Need
America’s Test Kitchen
Every cook struggles over making side dishes, from choosing what goes best with the main course to getting stuck in a rut making the same tired green beans and rice. But this destined-to-be-dog-ear’d compendium of side dishes changes all that; more thorough than any other cookbook, our first complete compilation of side dishes offers 1,001 perfect recipes for tonight and every night, whether you only have a few minutes or need your next dinner-party go-to.
The Southern Living Party Cookbook
A Modern Guide to Gathering
This book will inspire anyone who loves to party, host, gather, cook, or eat. Included are 31 party-themed menus and guides for party planning from invitations and estimating portions to decorating and farewell favors.
Sweet Treats for The Holidays
Edible Creations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, And More
These adorable holiday treats use easy-to-follow instructions and time-saving ingredients so you can stop baking and start enjoying the holidays! Using simple store-bought candy, cookies, and frosting, you’ll soon be creating delicious seasonal goodies that are even cuter than the fruitcake your neighbor spent hours on.
How to Cook It Well
From one of America’s finest food writers, the former restaurant critic for The New York Times, comes a definitive, timeless guide to Thanksgiving dinner—preparing it, surviving it, and pulling it off in style
Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore
Dinner for Everyone at The Table
For years, Anna Thomas’s fans have cooked from her trailblazing vegetarian cookbooks. Now, Anna turns her thoughts to that larger question. We are eating differently: your daughter is a vegan, or you are but your in-laws don’t think it’s dinner without meat, or you’re hosting Thanksgiving for a mixed group. In this timely and useful new book, Anna offers her solutions for reuniting our divided tables.
“My idea is simple,” says Anna. “Start with the food everyone eats, design a meal or a dish around that, then expand and elaborate with just the right amounts of the right cheeses, meats, or fish for your omnivores. Everyone feels welcome, and we eat the same meal—but in variations.
You’re So Invited
Panic Less, Play More, And Get Your Party On
Ideas for first-time home entertainers, outlining ten fully photographed party plans for such events as birthdays and baby showers while offering suggestions for food and drink preparations, decorating, and having fun while hosting.
Don’t Forget Dessert!
60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations & Everyday
Let cookie guru Bridget Edwards guide you through more than 60 delicious cookie-decorating designs for every occasion and holiday, from luscious springtime daisies to spooky spider webs to personalized birthdays. Cookie dough and royal icing recipes are included, and every iced design features easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step photos.
Over the course of her baking career Greenspan has created more than 300 cookie recipes. To merit her approval, every cookie had to be so special that it begged to be made again and again. Here she includes dozens of choices for cookie swaps, shows you how to make cookies unlike any you’ve seen before and presents those that bring out the inner tinkerer in all of us. In other words, the recipes she loves to share with her family and friends.
The Fearless Baker
Simple Secrets for Baking Like A Pro
Erin Jeanne McDowell
Tips and techniques for baking to make professional-quality cakes, pies, and other desserts, and provides recipes for such confections as flourless cocoa cookies, apple cider pie, and strawberry popovers.
Gluten-Free Baking at Home
102 Foolproof Recipes for Delicious Breads, Cakes, Cookies, And More
A comprehensive, visual collection of more than 80 master recipes (with variations) for gluten- and allergen-free breads, muffins, scones, cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, and more, developed and refined by a baking instructor/pastry chef to achieve stellar results every time.
The Perfect Cookie
Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies & Bars
America’s Test Kitchen
America’s Test Kitchen aggregates many years of cookie baking knowledge, breaking down key steps and recipe techniques in this cookbook that features recipes for any cookie you can dream up—from favorite cookie jar classics to new and unique cookies, brownies, bars, and candies.
The Perfect Pie
Your Ultimate Guide to Classic and Modern Pies, Tarts, Galettes, And More
America’s Test Kitchen
Get the dough rolling and perfect your pie-making skills to bake beautiful, foolproof versions of the corner bakery classics and French patisserie favorites—plus a host of whimsical, modern pies and tarts of all kinds like sky-high meringue pies, uniquely flavored fruit pies with intricate lattice-woven tops, and lush elegant tarts.
Irresistibly Easy Sweet and Savory Slab Pies
Made in a sheet pan, a slab pie can make enough dinner or dessert for a crowd. Pie Squared includes more than 60 savory and sweet pie recipes along with 20 crust and topping recipes and step-by-step techniques for rolling and decorating that will appeal to baking aficionados as well as occasional bakers. This fresh, uncomplicated take on pie will encourage those of you who have been reluctant in the past to now take out your rolling pin and try it.
Rose’s Baking Basics
100 Essential Recipes, With More Than 600 Step-By-Step Photos
Rose Levy Beranbaum
Beranbaum shares no-fuss recipes that everyone should know. Each recipe follows a simplified approach for can’t-fail results, from brownies and banana bread to homemade bread and pecan tart. Baking will be more fun than ever!
All You Need to Keep Your Friends and Family in Cake
A nostalgic ode to the joy of homemade cake, beautifully photographed and with easy mix-and-match recipes for a sweet lift any day of the week.
Thanksgiving in Fiction
A Catered Thanksgiving
The proprietors of A Little Taste of Heaven, their Longely, N.Y., catering company, prepare a Thanksgiving feast for Scrooge-like fireworks manufacturer Monty Field and his family at the Field mansion. When Monty comes into the kitchen to test the roasting turkey, Bernie and Libby watch in horror as Monty taps the pop-up button in the bird’s breast and the turkey explodes, blowing off the top of his head. Libby fears their stuffing made the turkey explode, but they soon learn that there was plenty of rivalry among the assembled family members, any one of whom had reason to want Monty dead. A heavy snowstorm ensures the suspects stay put as the sisters start to investigate. That their father, Sean, was on bad terms with the victim complicates their task. The action builds to more fireworks and a dramatic rescue.
A Deadly Feast
Key West food critic Hayley Snow scents-es something fishy when a customer falls stone-crab cold dead on a seafood tasting tour. Thanksgiving is nearly here, and Key West food critic Hayley Snow has just one more assignment to put to bed for Key Zest magazine before she gets to celebrate with her family and her police officer fiancé, Nathan Bransford. Then, just days later, wedding bells will ring—if death doesn’t toll first. The sweet potatoes and stuffing will have to wait when Hayley picks up a distraught phone call from her friend, Analise Smith. On the last stop of a seafood tasting tour run by Analise, one of the customers collapsed—dead. With the police on the verge of shutting down the tour—and ruining Analise’s business—Hayley can hardly refuse her friend’s entreaties to investigate.
A Quilter’s Holiday
For the Elm Creek Quilters, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the quilting season, a time to gather at Elm Creek Manor and spend the day stitching holiday gifts for loved ones. On this quilter’s holiday, Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom has invited her friends to continue an old family tradition of sewing quilt blocks representing their thankfulness and gratitude. As each quilter explains the significance of her carefully chosen block, stories of love and longing for family and friends emerge.
Start Without Me
Joshua Max Feldman
Adam is a former musician and recovering alcoholic who is home for Thanksgiving for the first time in many years. Surrounded by his parents and siblings, nieces and nephews—all who have seen him at his worst—he can’t shake the feeling that no matter how hard he tries, he’ll always be the one who can’t get it right. Marissa is a flight attendant whose marriage is strained by simmering tensions over race, class, and ambition. Heading to her in-laws for their picture-perfect holiday family dinner, her anxiety is intensified by the knowledge she is pregnant from an impulsive one-night-stand.
In an airport restaurant on Thanksgiving morning, Adam and Marissa meet. Over the course of this day fraught with emotion and expectation, these two strangers will form an unlikely bond as they reckon with their family ties, their pasts, and the choices that will determine their way forward. Joshua Max Feldman focuses his knowing eye on one of the last bastions of classical American idealism, the Thanksgiving family gathering, as he explores our struggles to know—and to be—our best selves. Hilarious and heartrending, Start Without Me is a thoughtful and entertaining page-turner that will leave its indelible mark on your heart.
Thankless in Death
J. D. Robb
As the household of NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke prepares for an invasion of family and friends for Thanksgiving, an ungrateful son decides to stop the nagging from his parents – by ending their lives. Soon Jerald Reinhold is working his way through anyone who has ever thwarted him in his path to an easy life. Eve is increasingly frustrated in her efforts to cover all the potential victims as Jerald stays a terrifying step ahead. As the festivities begin, Eve is desperate to identify which victim on Jerald’s long list will be the next, so she can stop the killing spree.
Will Butterfield can’t believe it. His 75–year–old mother, Holly, is drunk and threatening to jump off the roof. Again.
Holly and Fiona, another elderly relative, won’t stop tormenting Will and his wife Elizabeth with their bizarre (though often amusing) antics. Between Will’s worries about his bookstore, The Heart’s Ease, and Elizabeth’s troublesome high school students, dealing with “the crazies” has become just too much.
But then something unexpected happens—Henry Ward, a neighborhood handyman, meets the two old women, and he, his daughter Alison, and grandchildren are drawn into the Butterfields’ lives in surprising ways. Both a comedy and a love story—a first for Bausch—Thanksgiving Night is about the real meaning of family, and one particular clan that has many reasons to be thankful.
Turkey Trot Murder
Besides the annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day, Lucy expects the approaching holiday to be a relatively uneventful oneuntil she finds beautiful Alison Franklin dead and frozen in Blueberry Pond. No one knows much about Alison, except that she was the daughter of wealthy investor Ed Franklin and struggled quietly with drug addiction.