November brings Thanksgiving and preparations for this American day of gratitude are all about cooking. Fine Cooking Thanksgiving Cookbook: Recipes for Turkey and All the Trimmings from the editors of Fine Cooking magazine, will assist both the experienced and the novice in the kitchen. Thanksgiving Dinner: Beyond the Basics for Kids Who Cook by Lisa Wagner will appeal to young chefs and to adults who appreciate the author’s clarity and straightforward writing style. Both cookbooks present well-organized instructions and helpful photography. Even casual readers will grow hungry when they peruse these recipes. — Maureen Millea Smith
Available for $11.65 and $25.65 at Barnes and Noble. Maureen Millea Smith is a librarian at the Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.
A couple of great grapes and styles for entertaining include riesling, pinot noir and malbec. Not all rieslings are sticky-sweet; in fact, the majority of the world’s rieslings are created dry and incidentally, make a perfect pairing with an entire cheese board, spicy foods, light poultry or seafood dishes. Pinot noir and malbec are versatile enough to pair with salmon (pinot noir) or bratwurst (malbec).
If you’re looking for something a bit outside the box, I have the perfect white wine for your next soirée—The Domaine Gayda Flying Solo, a blend of grenache blanc and viognier from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Flush with notes of juicy peach, pear, citrus and melon—I honestly cannot get enough of this wine. It pairs with a variety of lighter fare and is a tasty palate-pleaser that won’t break the bank. Yum! — Leslee Miller
Approximately $20 on the shelf at local wine shops. Leslee Miller is a certified sommelier and owner of local wine consulting firm, Amusee.
With November fires burning, we once again invite family and friends into our homes. A perfect backdrop to any evening is a CD called American Dreams by bassist Charlie Haden and saxophonist Michael Brecker. I first heard it during the summer of 2014 on my brother’s boat on the St Croix, and we were brought to tears because of its musical tenderness. The CD includes familiar songs like Stephen Bishop’s “It Might Be You,” “Young and Foolish,” and an absolutely heart-melting version of “America The Beautiful.” When you’re drinking in the memory of the day, put the last song on, “Love Like Ours,” and just smile—because the memories you are making are second to none. — Patty Peterson
Find CD or digital download at Amazon.com or iTunes. Patty Peterson is an award winning vocalist and Jazz 88, KBEM radio host.