Hone your chops at a preholiday cooks’ class.
Nobody needs to know if you slip supermarket sides into your own bowls on Thanksgiving. But if you’re looking to sharpen your skills, Chicago’s The Chopping Block offers a workshop where local chef Sam Goldbroch or another pro teaches you to prep a turkey and seven sides.
CHEF SAM’S TIPS
MASSAGE HERBED BUTTER under, not over, the turkey’s skin. Just pull it back where it covers the breast, then pat it down again before roasting.
USE RUSSETS for fluffy mashed potatoes; Yukon Gold or red for creamy ones. Either way, reach for a potato masher or a ricer—not an electric hand mixer—to keep your spuds from going gummy.
MAKE CRANBERRY SAUCE fresh and memorable with grated fresh ginger. “A peeler cuts too deep,” Sam says, using the tip of a spoon to scrape away the peel. “You want to get to the ginger right below the skin, which is the most flavorful part.”
READ IT AND EAT in Lincoln Park offers classes a day or two before the holidays, so you leave with desserts ready to serve—pies for Thanksgiving and a buche de Noel (that’s “Yule log” to the rest of us) for Christmas.
THE WOODEN SPOON in the Andersonville neighborhood has a Christmas in Paris class, where you’ll perfect a London broil with béarnaise and peppermint cream puffs with chocolate sauce.