Thanksgiving Links: Where to Find Cooking Help, Inspiration

his weekend is a good one to pin down your Thanksgiving cooking plans.Today's post is geared for hosts and home cooks: what recipe you'll use for the bird, what sides you'll feature, whether you'll bake bread, what wine goes with the meal. Read on for some lifeline links and don't forget about these markets for shopping.

Starting with the bird, we've got the five best Thanksgiving turkey recipes from Food Network, though the food snobs among us can skip it and go straight to old-school for this extra-moist turkey recipe with pan gravy. 

More after the jump.

While a bird's cooking, my family has staged an oyster roast on the grill. If you're water side and have a fire pit, more power to you. I'd recommend getting oysters from this place for beautiful variety if you're too overbooked to hit up your local seafood market. (Fancy grocery stores don't have high enough turnover for me.) For those looking for some shellfish decadence, you can always shop local for stone crabs here. Looking for oysters from Apalachicola? That's where I'd need your help. I'm still not smitten with them, especially when they're responsible for cholera outbreaks this past May or rendered inedible by red tide.

For those of you ambitious enough to make your own holiday cocktails, you can nod to Martha Stewart and make pear rosemary cocktails or apple pie cider. For wines, Food and Wine helps us along with suggestions for four Thanksgiving varietals. Or you can get all technical and chart a wine strategy, courtesy of The San Francisco Chronicle

For sides, The New York Times brings us the obvious: just add bacon. Or hit up the motherload with the least healthy Thanksgiving dishes here. For the conservative cook, these straightforward recipes from Cook's Illustrated are no-fail should you follow along.

Ah, desserts. I loved this story on pies from last year, with a photo of the most beautiful pecan pie ever. But if you're a pie hater, Food52 offers plenty of lovely alternatives. For those without a sweet tooth --or if you're really full-- you can opt for the liquid dessert with a craft beer. 

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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart