20081124danacowinEvery Thanksgiving we check in with food magazine editors around the country to see how they have gone about putting together their Thanksgiving issues. Food and Wine's editor in chief, Dana Cowin, gave us some insight into how the magazine does Thanksgiving.

How do the ideas get developed? We think first how we can help people make Thanksgiving dinner. We try solve their problems. That's how we come up with our chart to help people cook Thanksgiving, no matter what kind of meal they want to serve. A lot of people cook a lot of dishes and they need help with timing and cooking space, so we show people how to use a grill as an extra oven and how to use the residual heat of their hot oven. Other people just want to put together a really fast, fretless,Thanksgiving meal. There's still a third group who are interested in showoff meals. The chart helps all three groups.

You also feature a Thanksgiving by a chef in Philadelphia, Jose Garces. While we like to give people the basics, we like to do something dreamy but not inaccessible. This year we break out of the American mold with Jose Garces, whose food we love. People are interested in Latin and Mexican flavors, and Jose brings those flavors into a Thanksgiving feast.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Usually I go to my mother's, who gets all her food from a really good takeout store in New York, Mitchel London Foods. She usually asks us to stay out of the kitchen. Last year was an exception. She asked me to make something. I made lamb chops because my kids don't like turkey. It made her crazy.

You also had a lot of non-Thanksgiving meal recipes in the issue. Though Thanksgiving is the single most important food holiday of the year, there are 29 other days in the month. So for those days we gave people lots of big meat ideas. And wine-wise we extol the virtues of screw cap wines. They're lots of high quality wines with screw caps and let's face it, they're really easy to open.

What's your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal? I have two favorite parts: mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and perfect apple pie. I'm an apple and not a pumpkin person.

What are your four favorite recipes from the November issue?

Buttery Squash Turnovers
Crunchy Baked Fennel
Baked Penne with Sausage and Creamy Ricotta is a great recipe for those other 29 days of the month, especially if you're having people over.
Caramel Cream Pie with Crispy Rice Topping


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