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The New Thanksgiving Table: Recipes

Click to read more about The New Thanksgiving Table.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Kabocha squash can be used in this recipe, though I prefer butternut squash, as it is easier to peel. Opt for a squash with a long neck for a greater yield of solid pieces. The bottom is mostly seeds and can be discarded, as there is not much flesh left after the seeds are removed.
Serves 8

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large green apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
5 cups peeled, diced butternut squash
6 cups chicken stock, plus more as needed
Salt and pepper

Heat the butter or olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add the onion and apple and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the spices, cook for 1 minute, and then add the diced squash and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the squash is very tender. Puree the solids with some of the liquids in the container of a blender. Transfer to a bowl. Add enough additional stock to yield a medium-thick texture. Season with salt and pepper and adjust the sweet spices. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover. The soup can be made a day or so ahead.

To serve, add additional stock to thin the soup, if needed, and bring the soup up to almost scalding. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of nutmeg-flavored whipped cream and/or thin slices of apple.

Roast Turkey

1 turkey, about 14 pounds
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Wipe the turkey with a damp cloth and rub the inside cavity with a cut lemon, then with salt, pepper and garlic. Rub the outside of the bird with a mix of equal amounts of salt, pepper, and paprika. Place breast side down on a rack in a roasting pan. Tent loosely with foil. Roast 18 to 20 minutes per pound. Uncover the turkey and turn breast side up for the last 45 minutes to brown the breast. You may baste the bird from time to time, but that is not essential. A 14-pound turkey takes about 4 1/2 hours.

Remove the turkey from the oven. Let rest for 15 minutes or longer before carving.

Giblet Gravy

Turkey neck and giblets
Water or chicken stock
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 or 2 celery stalks
1 sprig thyme
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper
Pinch of allspice
Kitchen Bouquet (optional)

In a large saucepan simmer the neck and giblets (but not the liver) along with the onions, carrots, celery, thyme, and garlic. Cover with water or chicken stock. Cook for an hour or longer, adding additional water or chicken stock as needed to keep covered. Remove and discard the neck and the sprig of thyme. Remove the giblets and chop finely. Reserve the giblet stock.

Place the cooked vegetables in a blender and purée.

Remove 3 tablespoons of drippings from the turkey roasting pan. Heat in a saucepan. Add flour and 1 cup reserved giblet stock. Stir in the vegetable purée and add enough stock to make a pourable sauce. Add the chopped giblets. Season with salt, pepper, and allspice. You may add Kitchen Bouquet for color if the drippings were not dark enough.

Chestnuts, Chanterelles, and Pearl Onions
8 to 10 servings

1 pound chestnuts (at least 3 per person)
2 to 3 cups chicken stock, as needed
1 pound pearl onions or cipollini (2 to 3 per person)
2 pounds chanterelles or brown Cremini mushrooms
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

Cut a cross in each chestnut. Put the chestnuts in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer about 10 minutes. While the chestnuts are hot, remove the outer skin and thin inner brown peel. (This is a painful and painstaking task but worth every minute of hot-fingered torture. See if you can talk someone into helping you, as the chestnuts must be hot for the inner skin to come off.) Try to keep the chestnuts whole, if possible.

If the chestnuts are not cooked all the way through, simmer them in chicken stock to cover for 8 to 10 minutes. When the chestnuts are done, the insides will be the same color as the outer parts. Undercooked parts will be darker. This will be easy to see if one of the chestnuts breaks. If all of the chestnuts are whole, sacrifice one and cut it in half to check. Set the cooked chestnuts aside.

Trim the roots of the onions carefully without cutting across the ends. Cut a cross on the bottom of each onion to prevent it from telescoping while cooking. Cover the onions with water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until firm but tender. Drain and remove the peels. Set aside.

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a mushroom brush or damp paper towel. Cut in thick slices or, if small, leave whole. Set aside.

Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan and quickly sauté half the mushrooms over high heat. Repeat with remaining butter and mushrooms.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cooked chestnuts, onions, and mushrooms in a large casserole. Toss with thyme. Add a little chicken broth if the mixture seems dry. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes until hot all the way through. Serve at once.

Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Parmesan
Serves 8

3 pounds Brussels sprouts
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
12 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise.

Warm the butter and oil in one or two sauté pans, large enough to hold all the Brussels sprouts in one layer. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Do not let it color. Add the Brussels sprouts, stir well to coat with butter and oil, and add the vegetable stock. Cover the pan. Steam until the Brussels sprouts are crisp tender, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and top them with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan. Serve at once.

Variation: Brussels sports can also be tossed in olive oil and roasted on a sheet pan in a 450-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, shaking them a few times or turning them for even cooking. When they are golden brown and crisp, toss them in garlic butter and top with cheese. No broth needed.

Celery Root and Potato Purée
Serves 8 to 10

8 large baking potatoes
3 large celery roots
3 to 4 cups chicken stock
4 to 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 to 2 cups cream
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the potatoes for 1 hour, until very tender. Cut the potatoes in half, remove the pulp, and pass it through a ricer or food mill.

While the potatoes are baking, trim the leaves and roots off the celery root and peel. Dice and simmer the celery root in chicken stock to cover until very tender. Purée in a food processor or pass through a food mill.

Combine the potato and celery root purées in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in butter and cream as needed until a smooth but not soupy texture is achieved. Season with salt and pepper and a little nutmeg.

Cranberry Chutney
Makes about 3 pints

2 cups water
3 cups sugar
2 oranges, seeded, diced, and puréed in a blender
2 walnut-sized pieces of peeled fresh ginger, cut in thin slivers
4 cups cranberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Pinch of salt
1 cup raisins

Place the water and sugar in a deep saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the orange purée and ginger and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cranberries, cinnamon, and cloves and a pinch of salt and simmer until almost thick. Stir in the raisins and cook until big bubbles appear. Pour into a serving bowl. Refrigerate and then bring to room temperature for serving.

Persimmon Pudding
This dessert entails some advance planning to allow the Hachiya persimmons to ripen until they are soft. This can take days or a week, depending on how firm they were when you bought them. Putting them in a bowl with a ripe apple and covering them with a paper bag will speed up the softening.

We serve this traditional holiday dessert at our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It is a variation on the English plum pudding. I used to serve it with the traditional English hard sauce (butter, confectioner’s sugar, and brandy), but that was too rich. Today I serve it with lightly whipped cream or vanilla or eggnog-flavored ice cream. The pudding can be made days ahead of time, refrigerated, and then reheated just before dinner. To reheat, steam the pudding in a pot on the stovetop or in the oven in a water bath for about 20 minutes, until it is warm and easy to unmold.
Serves 10 to 12

1 tablespoon butter, melted, or more as needed
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon or Chinese five-spice powder
5 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon vanilla
I tablespoon lemon juice
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 pound plus 4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups persimmon purée from about 8 ripe Hachiyas
5 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 5 tablespoons hot water
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup raisins and/or currants
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Brush 1 large pudding mold with melted butter. If you do not have a pudding mold, you may use a large Bundt pan or deep cake pan.

To bake the pudding, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Choose a pan large enough to accommodate the pudding mold. To steam the pudding, set a rack in a stockpot that is wider than your mold.

Sift the flour with the salt and cinnamon. Combine the brandy, vanilla, and lemon juice in a measuring cup.

In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar to the butter and combine with the paddle attachment. Add the persimmon purée, the baking soda mixed with water, and the brandy mixture. Add the eggs and mix well.

Fold the flour mixture into the batter. Fold in the raisins and walnuts and combine well, but do not overbeat.

Pour the batter into the buttered pudding mold and close the cover. If using a cake pan, cover with a double thickness of foil.

To steam the pudding on the stovetop, set the pudding inside the stockpot and pour in enough boiling water to go halfway up the sides of the mold. Bring the water to a simmer and cover the pot.

To bake the pudding, set the pudding in the pan and fill the pan with hot water.

Cook the pudding for 2 1/2 hours, until firm. Replenish the water as necessary.

Serve warm.

SOAS Food Studies Centre Partners with Award-Winning International Food Journal Gastronomica on Distinguished Lectures Series

UC Press’ Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies and Editor Melissa L. Caldwell are pleased to announce a new collaboration with the University of London’s SOAS Food Studies Centre. Through this partnership, the Distinguished Lecture Series will serve up a recurring forum for leading scholars, students, journalists, practitioners, and members of the public to engage in critical conversations about the nature of food, the interconnectivity of contemporary food systems, the role of food in daily life, emerging trends in food studies, and contemporary food concerns.

As Gastronomica’s Melissa Caldwell notes, “the Food Studies Centre at SOAS is an international leader in the kind of cutting-edge scholarship on food that challenges and inspires scholars, practitioners, and enthusiasts alike to rethink what they know about food and its significance in the world both past and present. This partnership is an extraordinary opportunity to highlight the most innovative, rigorous, and fascinating research on food and bring it to the Gastronomica readership.”

Included among the first Lectures under this new partnership are “From Arak to Za’atar: Jerusalem and its many culinary traditions,” from famed chef and cookbook writer Yotam Ottolenghi, and “How Grains Domesticated Us,” from James C. Scott, Co-Director of Yale University’s Agrarian Studies Program.

The Lectures are free and open to the public. For more details, please see our press release (pdf) and the Distinguished Lectures homepage.


Honoring 3 Award-Winning Titles on Agriculture, Labor and Justice from UC Press

UC Press is home to one of the oldest and most prestigious lists in Food Studies, an interdisciplinary field that brings together scholars from diverse backgrounds to examine the role and impact of food consumption and production. Many of our authors, like Marion Nestle and Janet Poppendieck, highlight and challenge the food industry’s negative impact on health and the environment.

Today, the conversation about what constitutes “just food” has moved beyond talking solely about eating organic and local. Building on Julie Guthman’s seminal work Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in Californiaa new generation of scholars is turning its attention to labor justice in the agricultural sector. Three new UC Press books from Sarah Besky, Margaret Gray, and Seth Holmes take on the issue of agricultural labor and all have received major society awards in recognition for their important work.

Sarah Besky’s The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India is the first book to explore how fair trade operates on large plantations. The global demand for fair trade and organic tea is increasing, yet workers on plantations experience justice in uneven and contradictory ways. For her rigorous ethnography, Besky will be awarded the Society for Economic Anthropology Book Prize at the annual American Anthropological Association meeting.

Margaret Gray, author of Labor and the Locavore: Building a Comprehensive Food Ethic offers a revealing look at labor practices in Hudson Valley, New York. Despite Hudson Valley’s reputation as the bucolic landscape from which much of New York City’s local food is grown, it’s a region rife with labor conflict and abuse. The author challenges us to bring labor justice into the food justice movement. Labor and the Locavore won the annual Association for the Study of Food and Society 2014 Book Prize. It was also named co-winner of the Best Book Award from Labor Project from the American Political Science Association.

In his gripping book Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States, anthropologist Seth Holmes exposes the violence experienced by migrant laborers today. Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies was honored with the Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award, the New Millennium Book Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology, and the Anthropology of Work Book Award from the Society for the Anthropology of Work, among other awards.

Congratulations Sarah Besky, Margaret Gray, and Seth Holmes!


Gary Paul Nabhan Talks about His “Spice Odyssey”

Gary Paul Nabhan takes us on a vivid and far-ranging journey across time and space in his new book, Cumin, Camels, and Caravans. In this conversation with editor Blake Edgar, Nabhan discusses the historical convergences that inspired him to write the book, his thoughts on the locavore movement, and the spices that remind him of home.

Gary Paul Nabhan
Gary Paul Nabhan

Blake Edgar: There have been several culinary histories published about spices and about trade along the Silk Road. What inspired you to write about this subject?
Gary Paul Nabhan: A colleague of mine, ethnobotanist and food historian Gene Anderson, found a remarkable coincidence: an Arab/Persian lamb and garbanzo bean stew recipe that he and colleagues recorded in their Mongolian medicinal cookbook, Soup for the Qan, also made its way half way around the world to Hispanic communities in Northern New Mexico. Only one ingredient, mastic (which was unavailable in New Mexico at the time), was different. Was it independent invention or cultural diffusion? It turns out that Crypto-Muslims and Crypto-Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition could have been responsible for its transmission to New Mexico. That one coincidence set me on this “spice odyssey.”

What is most novel and distinctive about Cumin, Camels, and Caravans compared to other books about spices?
I cannot serve as the final judge of its distinctiveness, but I have two hunches: it is the first spice book that sees spice trade from the perspective of Semitic people’s global contributions. These people include not only Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews but also Arabs, Phoenicians, Nabateans, and others from Yemen and Oman. Second, it follows their historic influences across what I call the “draw bridge” to the New World after 1492, where descendants of Semitic peoples rapidly captured control of trade in chiles, chocolate, vanilla, allspice, and achiote back to the Old World.

You told me that this was the hardest book that you’ve undertaken. What made it more challenging?
Well, I traveled to fourteen countries, many of them in extremely hot, dry deserts, where I had to find a way to obtain and contextualize information from perhaps thirty language groups. I also had to integrate ethnobotany, culinary history, political economy, linguistics, phytochemistry and historical geography. No small task for a graying old geezer from the stinkin’ hot deserts of the Southwest.

Is there a single spice that best represents the story you tell of cultural collaboration or culinary imperialism?
Cumin made it into the title for its ubiquity in ethnic cuisines, but chile peppers were perhaps the most traceable. I’ve been part of a larger team of scholars working on their origins and diffusions across the world using linguistic, ecological, genetic, and archaeological evidence. We have recently published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that pioneers a methodology that gets the most parsimonious fit out of data from so many disciplines and sources.

You propose in this book that globalization has a much deeper pre-Columbian history than conventionally believed. What kinds of evidence did you find in your research to support this conclusion?
The origins and diffusion of the very economic and social processes we identify as fundamental to globalization were all put into place well before Columbus. Although many Europeans did not reach the New World before 1492, the culinary colonialism of the Americas were simply a belated extension of what had followed the same patterns as Semitic peoples influenced the cuisines and market structures of sub-Sahara Africa, China, the East Indies, Western Europe, and elsewhere.

Your research took you to the Middle East, North Africa, East Asia and the Americas following different spice routes. Was there a particular encounter or experience that illustrates how your personal journey intersects with the historical and cultural panorama you describe?
Oh, the most remarkable moment for me was meeting frankincense traders in Oman of the Nabhan clan (Banu Nebhani), and finding an heirloom variety of date named after my family near the World Heritage Site at Bahla Fort in Oman. My kin have been involved in spice trade in many places, over many centuries, even on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn!

You are known for being a proponent of eating locally and of restoring unique traditional foodways. So it’s interesting that you’ve written a book about the globalization of key ingredients and their cosmopolitan journey into cuisines around the world. Has that experience altered your understanding of cuisine?
We will never understand the true value of sourcing much of our food from local farming and foraging sources unless we deeply understand the perils and consequences of culinary imperialism and globalization. If I had simply stayed in the same frame of reference I had felt comfortable with over the last two decades—as many locavores choose to do—I would never have really fathomed what is at stake when we increasingly “outsource” more of our foods from other lands and cultures with no sense of how it impacts them on the ground. In any case, stepping outside the box is the dance I most like to do—to throw myself off balance, and my readers as well. That may be the only way most of us grow.

Do you have a favorite recipe among the thirteen included in the text?
I give project editor Dore Brown and my step-daughter Deja Walker most of the credit for shoring up the recipes, but the most fascinating one for me is the transformation of Old World zoolbia fritters in an orange and saffron sauce into the stripped down buñuelos and sopapillas of the U.S. Southwest. That hits home.

What spices in your cabinet do you reach for most frequently?
When I want to call up and divine messages from my ancestors, I reach for the zaatar, ras al hanout and baharat spice mixtures of the Levant. They taste like home. When I want to remember my grandfathers, I splash my face with rosewater from the Damascus rose.

American Wine Named One of the Best Wine Books of 2013

The Washington Post mentioned Jancis Robinson and Linda Murphy’s American Wine in its list of “Best wine books of 2013.” The Post called the reference guide a gift “any wine lover would appreciate.” Wine writer Dave McIntyre profiled American Wine earlier this year, praising its mission to capture American wine culture in all 50 states. The richly detailed maps allow readers to “dig deep into history, geology and viticulture,” McIntyre wrote.

Read more about the exciting story of American Wine here.

Health Food, at Whose Expense?

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies coverNPR’s The Salt recently featured an interview with Seth Holmes, author of Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies, about the unfair and unsafe conditions faced by migrant workers who provide Americans with fresh fruit and vegetables. During his research in the field, Holmes traveled with migrant farmworkers back and forth from Oaxaca, Mexico and up the West Coast, eventually crossing the border illegally through Arizona and getting arrested. He lived with indigenous Mexican families in the mountains of Oaxaca and in farm labor camps in the United States, planted and harvested corn, accompanied sick workers to clinics and hospitals, and mourned at funerals for friends.

In the interview, Holmes reflects on why Americans tend to be largely ignorant of the plights of those who pick our produce:

Do you think that the American public cares about the labor required to produce our food?

We talk so little about the people who do the work that gives us the fresh fruit and vegetables that we want. Farmworkers are pretty hidden, and there’s a concept from Jean-Paul Sartre, the French philosopher, called bad faith, meaning self-deception. My simplified version of that is that we consciously hide from ourselves the difficult realities of the workers. We somewhat know them, but we don’t think about them much. In that way it seems like ‘communal bad faith.’

Next time you shop, you can support farmworkers by patronizing the farms on this list, who provide their workers with health coverage and good working conditions.


Introducing Melissa L. Caldwell, New Editor of Gastronomica

GastronomicaWe’re pleased to announce that Melissa L. Caldwell, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has joined UC Press as the new editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. A two-time UC Press author (Dacha Idylls: Living Organically in Russia’s Countryside and Not by Bread Alone: Social Support in the New Russia), her research focuses on changing practices and experiences of intimacy and compassion in post-Soviet Russia, with special attention to changing food cultures, poverty, and social justice.

Caldwell’s experience and her passion for thinking about how food impacts the world socially and culturally make her a perfect fit for Gastronomica. We’d also like to thank Darra Goldstein, founding editor of Gastronomica, and acknowledge the extraordinary contribution she has made to the prestige and success of the journal.

Library Relations Manager Rachel Lee recently sat down with Melissa L. Caldwell to talk about her research interests, life as an academic, and what she sees in the years ahead for Gastronomica.

Melissa L. CaldwellRachel Lee: Can you introduce us a little bit to your area of research?

Melissa L. Caldwell: The Anthropology of Food is one of my key areas of research, and I’m particularly interested in Russian society. Russia is such a dynamic place, there are so many things a going on, and food is a fascinating way to track the changes in that society.

In the Soviet era food was used by Soviet authorities to implement particular political ideas, provided as a reward, or denied as a punishment. The state was involved right down to designing the kitchens where people ate.

Now in the postsocialist era people are still using food as a conduit for political values, to express themselves as Russians and as members of a new economic society. I find it fascinating.

RL: What attracted you to editorship of the journal?

MLC: I’ve always turned to Gastronomica for commentary that’s really interesting, both the scholarly articles and more popular pieces. We’re at a moment in Food Studies where there are so many different things going on in very different directions. Gastronomica has a really important role to play.

From a personal perspective I’ve been an author and edited special issues and collected volumes, and the editorship came at a time when I felt the challenge would be really exciting. It offers me the opportunity to be right in the thick of these exciting changes. This is a real moment of creativity in the field. There are so many conversations and ideas that are just starting to talk to one another.

RL: Why is now a great time to subscribe to Gastronomica?

MLC: Food studies is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary; there are new points of intersection of the different fields. People in Chemistry and Digital Arts might be exploring similar themes but from different perspectives. We want to pull together these ideas and publish the best research and be involved in exciting, provocative conversations.

RL: What are the important elements of the journal that you’ll be keeping?

MLC: I think it’s really important to say that Gastronomica will stay the same more than it will change. I want to keep the pleasurable aspects of the journal: the aesthetically and intellectually stimulating pieces and beautiful language and imagery. We want to build on its strengths and keep providing provocative and creative pieces that introduce readers to new arguments.

Over time we’ll be expanding the scholarly research articles, creating a place for Food Studies that captures the best in scholarship. There will also be a broader international focus that brings in the world outside North America and Europe. This is partly in response to the fact that there is an explosion of scholarly work in this area, work which will be really interesting to readers of Gastronomica.

RL: Is there anything coming up in 2013 that you’d like to highlight so librarians and readers don’t miss out?

MLC: Later in the year, do look out for an interview with Marian Nestle on the 10th anniversary of her book Food Politics. Its influence on scholars’ thinking about food, the state, and nutritional policy is unmatched: it really is one of the titles that put Food Studies on the map and we can’t wait to get her views 10 years on.

We’re also putting together a special issue on critical nutrition. A new wave of scholars are thinking about nutrition and nutritional science, and this special issue of Gastronomica comes from a recent workshop. The collection of essays will recreate the conversations between the workshop participants. It’s exciting to be experimenting with some different ways of publishing those discussions.

RL: I know that academics never really rest, but when you do get a chance to have some time off what do you like to get up to?

MLC: Well, I have a 2 year old who’s in love with her toddler kitchen, so there are a lot of tea parties and plastic ice cream sundaes in my house at the moment. We’ve got a lot of well-fed bears!

I also foster coonhounds, working with a national rescue group to give them forever homes. They’re just lovely; big, loud, noisy, goofy dogs.

I like to sneak off sometimes and go wine tasting – we live in California after all. And being professionally involved in Food Studies doesn’t stop me from enjoying cooking and eating. I have a recipe box created by my mother, with old family recipes. It’s full of old file cards where the splatters tell you which the most popular recipes are. That’s where I turn when I feel the need for some real comfort food.