Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and here at the Reading Group Center we couldn’t be more excited. A holiday based around food, gratitude, and quality time with loved ones can really only be improved in one way—with books, of course!
In the spirit of the occasion we’ve rounded up some of our favorite “Recipe by the Book” features that we think would make great additions to your meal this year. While some of these dishes might seem a little outside the box, they are all hearty, warming foods that we love to share with our families.
In Blue Plate Special, Kate Christensen shares the story of her life, one meal at a time. Packed with scenes in which Christensen is cooking, consuming, and reflecting on dishes simple and haute, the book will make your mouth water time and time again. We hope that you enjoy the excerpt from Blue Plate Special with a helping of Christensen’s favorite spinach pie. While not a traditional Thanksgiving dish, Christensen describes the savory pie as “nourishing and warming”—ideal for a chilly fall night.
Renée Manfredi’s Above the Thunder is a book about both the families we are born into, and those we create. It’s the perfect story to bring to your family this season, and we invite you to pair it with this twist on a classic Thanksgiving dish: the Cornbread and Prosciutto Stuffing recipe from Laurie Colwin’s food memoir, Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen.
Meghan Daum’s Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House is a warm and funny exploration of real estate, home ownership, and the true meaning of “home.” One great way to make a house a home? Food! With that in mind, we present this casserole recipe from Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. While it may not be a traditional Thanksgiving dish, it’s still a homey and satisfying recipe to share with your loved ones. And what a great way to use the turkey leftovers!
Casebook is a beguiling story about a boy working to uncover the mysteries of his unraveling family. Miles Adler-Hart, an amateur sleuth and the narrator of the novel, may not be a huge fan of his mother’s friend Marge, but he has to admit she really can cook. This recipe for olive oil bundt cake is just the type of treat she would bring over for dessert, and it struck us as a perfectly sweet addition to your Thanksgiving meal.
Irène Némirovsky’s novel The Fires of Autumn offers a unique glimpse into the minds of ordinary people in the midst of war. As witness to the most tumultuous decades in European history, Némirovsky has captured Parisian life during this time as few writers have. And since we believe that the Thanksgiving celebration doesn’t need to end once the turkey has been carved, consider indulging in this coffee cream cake the morning after, just as Némirovsky’s characters do in the idyllic first scene of The Fires of Autumn.
And for those of you who may be feeling a bit more ambitious, check out this entire Thanksgiving menu from author Michelle Wildgen. Her novel Bread and Butter combines three brothers, two restaurants, and a dash of romance to create a delightful romp through the inner workings of the culinary world in a small Pennsylvania town. This extensive menu provides the perfect opportunity for all of the aspiring chefs out there to prove their mettle this Thanksgiving.