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I cooked my first turkey in a church cafeteria for 20 college friends doing flood relief in Bluefield, West Virginia.  All went well, until after we had eaten and I found a paper package inside the breast cavity.  Whoa, who knew you had to remove the giblets, hearts and neck?

Novice or old hand, Thanksgiving presents promise and possibility.

The library has plenty to help you through the terrors of your first Thanksgiving or the boredom of your 30th.

Let’s start with the turkey. Here are three books that provide the basics and some alternatives for cooking a delicious bird that all will be glad to sit down to.

Whether you prefer tried and true side dishes (mini-marshmallows, anyone?) or are feeling a little frisky, these books should provide all you need. Bonus points — one is for family members who have gone vegan since you’ve last gathered – plenty of plant-based dishes to make all thankful.

A good man is hard to find, according to Flannery O’Connor. Well, so is good gravy says I who relinquished gravy making chores to my mother-in-law.  But this year, I shall look in one of these for the smoothest gravy, rich in flavor that transforms everything it touches.

Apple, pumpkin, pecan, or sweet potato, a Thanksgiving feast calls for pies.

And, finally, don’t neglect the Thanksgiving table. After all, it’s the setting for the beautiful meal you’ve planned. No plastic forks and knives, please.  Here’s how to do it, even on the tightest budget.

About that pouch found après dinner. I followed Julia Child’s advice about being alone in the kitchen when things go awry and confessed nothing. You might use the same strategy if things don’t go quite as planned. After all, “who’s going to know?

Maria Del Rosso

Director, Fauquier Public Library

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