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A grand Thanksgiving of choices.


In most families, planning Thanksgiving dinner is ticklish business. The challenge is always the same--to preserve traditions your family considers essential while introducing innovative food experiences. As well, you need to make allowances for busy schedules, be sensitive (if only slightly, because this is a feast) to nutritional concerns, and still present a memorable meal. Such demands strain the creativity of even the most experienced cooks.

A good launching pad for a meal to meet these needs is our Thanksgiving master menu on page 124. Use it as a guide, selecting dishes with a fresh approach to traditional flavors, and drop in your family favorites where appropriate. The 26 recipes you can choose from all include make-ahead steps, minimize last-minute touches, travel well (if sharing the labor is part of your scheme), and provide a range of richness--some are startlingly low-fat, others forthrightly indulgent. Each recipe is designed to serve eight; if your gathering is larger, make duplicate dishes or add some others, as you like.

With our menu as a guide, the Skov family of San Francisco tailored the holiday meal shown here for six adults and four small children (recipes for eight made just the right amounts). First, they chose chili-orange glaze for the barbecued turkey. The meal was rounded out with a wilt-resistant salad--Belgian endive with tangelos and cranberry dressing; chilled sugar snap peas with mint and bacon dressing, and garlic mashed potatoes; red pepper relish to go with the turkey; brown giblet gravy; and polenta, Swiss chard, and sausage dressing. A cashew caramel tart was selected to fill the dessert spot.

Wondering what wines to serve with such a diverse selection of foods and flavors? On page 142, Bob Thompson, Sunset's wine consultant, provides a list of wines that easily accommodate your holiday menu no matter what your budget is. He also advises on serving the wines and what glasses to use.

Finally, in trying a fresh approach to traditional Thanksgiving fare, you may have some concerns about pleasing pickier palates among family and friends. Here's a hint from the Skov family's most discriminating personalities--the grandchildren. When confronted with the pear and pepper focaccia, they were reluctant to try it until they realized the fruit-topped slices looked similar to the squares of a pizza they had seen advertised on television. Upon that discovery, they dug right in.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:menus
Author:Hale, Christine Weber
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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