Cookbooks for Thanksgiving and more
Preparing meals from scratch has become popular during the pandemic. These books provide welcome ideas to home cooks of all levels of experience.
Friends: The Official Cookbook, by Amanda Yee, 176 pages, Insight Editions hardcover, 2020
This large-format cookbook contains recipes that might have been prepared and served in the television series “Friends,” the hit sitcom that debuted in 1994. The culinary tastes of characters Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe and Rachel are imagined by author Amanda Yee, an accomplished chef.
Recipes run the gamut from breakfast to drinks, main dishes to desserts, sandwiches, snacks, side dishes, appetizers and pasta. Prep times and yields accompany each recipe.
Each entry begins with a short paragraph associating the dish with a character on the show and, often, a tie-in to the plot of a specific episode in the series.
Color photographs illustrate most of the recipes. Publicity shots of the stars and stills from episodes are interspersed throughout the text.
Recipes are simple to prepare and readily accessible for those with rudimentary culinary skills. Learn how to make pizza from scratch. Discover how to make a dozen post-run recovery bars by simply freezing a mix of ingredients.
For Thanksgiving, you’ll find excellent recipes for roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce and candied pecans. Find suggestions for preparing sandwiches with leftover turkey. Desserts include pies, muffins, macarons, biscotti and flan.
There are no calorie counts, nutritional information or index. However, the contents, which include more than 100 recipes, are organized under 10 chapter headings. This cookbook is made to enjoy and read at your leisure.
Friends: The Official Cookbook Gift Set combines, in a deluxe gift box, the Friends cookbook with a chef’s apron designed à la Monica. It makes a great hostess gift.
Gordon Ramsay Quick and Delicious: 100 Recipes to Cook in 30 Minutes or Less, by Gordon Ramsay, 256 pages, Grand Central Publishing hardcover, 2020
Restaurateur and TV chef Gordon Ramsay provides detailed instructions on how to prepare sophisticated dishes quickly without angst or trepidation.
Full-color photographs accompany each of his 100 culinary creations. Many recipes include preparation tips, time-saving ideas and serving suggestions. Every recipe includes the number of servings, but there is no calorie count.
Introductory chapters present helpful advice, such as 12 suggestions on improving your productivity in the kitchen. Chef Ramsay’s 10 recommended kitchen basics include some that may surprise you.
The index is comprehensive: Not only can you find recipes by name, but individual ingredients are included among its entries.
Gordon Ramsay Quick and Delicious is a great resource to expand your repertoire. Ramsay is a remarkable teacher who boils it all down to these basics: the best ingredients, sure-handed guidance and a great recipe. He plans to open an eponymous Fish & Chips fast-casual eatery in DC’s Penn Quarter.
Quick & Healthy: 50 Simple Delicious Recipes for Every Day, by American Cancer Society, 108 pages, American Cancer Society paperback, 2020
The American Cancer Society advocates incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, low-fat dairy and fowl in your diet. These precepts form the basis for easy-to-prepare recipes in this paperback.
“If you don’t have a lot of time but you want to eat healthy, or provide your family with healthy options, this cookbook is for you,” according to Esmeralda Buchanan, senior director of Journals and Books Publishing at the American Cancer Society.
Quick and Healthy is a compilation of 15 vegetarian, 15 seafood and 20 chicken and turkey recipes. Learn to make unique dishes such as skillet turkey shepherd’s pie. Wow your guests with stuffed portobello caps, fresh garlic-parmesan-walnut rotini, and honey mustard cod with pecan topping.
Each of the recipes is accompanied by a full-page color photograph, a short cook’s note with prep tips, cooking advice or optional ingredients. The recipes presented serve four but can easily be recalibrated. Most significantly, this cookbook includes calorie and nutritional counts per serving.
The dishes are not only tasty but healthy. Serving them is a gesture of love and concern for those at your table. To order a copy, go to cancer.org/bookstore. Proceeds are returned to the American Cancer Society.