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Last year around Thanksgiving when I was working at the restaurant, our chef asked me to make something like 30 quarts of cranberry sauce.

One of the most iconically-American (and especially Southern) condiments is salt-brine-fermented hot pepper sauce. Usually made from tobascos (the pepper variety, not the brand), this kitchen staple and table condiment is a snap to make, especially if you have a glut of chiles on hand. Here in East Tennessee, chile season is still in full swing, and many varieties thrive here.

 One of my first-ever cooking projects was making the Pommes de Terre Anna from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I must have seen a photo of it somewhere, and all those crispy, browned layers of potatoes lacquered with butter spoke to me.

Candy-making is one area of cooking that I have very little experience with. I make a mean salted caramel, and I do a pumpkin seed brittle on occasion that can make you swoon, but generally speaking, I don't enjoy making candy because the results are too sweet, and you wind up with more than you could possibly eat.

Back before we moved across the country, when I was able to attend my family's gigantic Thanksgiving potluck, I always brought roasted vegetables.

I love Brussels sprouts. I know that to some, this will make anything I say hereafter suspect. I know that I live in a country where people love to hate Brussels sprouts. It's like some kind of horrible vibe that starts resonating in childhood and continues into adulthood.

I wrote this post for a blog swap with the lovely Autumn Giles of Autumn Makes and Does. Her blog is really wonderful--clean, unpretentious, and loaded with simple recipes.

Given our cultural predilection for breeding the most uniform, shelf stable, and prettiest fruits and vegetables, it's a wonder the quince has survived our agricultural fervor.

A package of fresh chorizo will make a girl do wild things.

It might just prompt her to create a slightly offbeat Thanksgiving side dish.

There's nothing wrong with Thanksgiving as it stands. The turkey, the stuffing, the cranberry sauce, the pumpkin pie.

But do you ever feel, in the part of your soul that loves spice and surprise, that Thanksgiving is a little...bland?


Joy of Cooking App for iPad and iPhone

After three years of collaborative effort with our friends at Culinate and Scribner, it is our pleasure to introduce the Joy of Cooking for iPad and iPhone! Please check out this full-featured, digital version of the 2006 edition. In addition to the recipes and indispensable reference information our readers know and love, the app has many features that are brand new to JOY:

  • Built-in recipe timers (you can have multiple timers going simultaneously)
  • Search for and filter recipes by key word, ingredient, cuisine, season, technique, diet, and more
  • Create shopping lists from within the app
  • Convert any recipe to metric automatically
  • Give voice commands or have recipe steps spoken to you
  • Create menus in the app
  • Share recipes from within the app
  • Color photography

Truly a JOY for the 21st century! Download by directing your browser to Don't forget to review the app!