The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, a time when friends and families get together for food, fun, and football. A time to celebrate things like charity and camaraderie. It's also a time for seemingly unending stress - oftentimes due to the massive undertaking of giant holiday meals. Thing have gotten easier over the past decade, with the proliferation of the internet and the multitude of food sites that have sprung up to help.
So when grandma's recipe book just isn't cutting it anymore - here are some online resources to help you make your loved ones happy. Or at least to help you from totally ruining Thanksgiving.
(Note: There are plenty of wonderful, smaller food blogs out there. Look around, go deep into the internet food culture. You can find some amazing little resources that can be highly specialized for your needs. Don't be afraid to jump off the beaten path when it comes to this sort of thing. This list is a starter list of sorts, with some of the big names in online recipes and food tips)
The New York Times Dining & Wine
This big dog of the food world is doing something interesting this year. They have set up a "Thanksgiving Help Line" that is there to answer reader's questions on Turkey, Wine, Dessert, Side Dishes and much more.
Readers are asked to submit their query directly on the site or via Twitter, using hthe hashtag #ThanksgivingQs. An example of how the NYT is helping holiday chefs, many of the responses to questions like "Why won't be cranberry sauce gel?" and "How do I get the lumps out of my mashed potatoes?" are in the form of video tutorials.
Epicurious, and its partners bon appetit and Gourmet, have dedicated part of their site to Thanksgiving, providing links to Thanksgiving essentials, vegetarian recipes, and "pie perfection." They offer a beginner's guide to Thanksgiving and have checklists that you can use to make sure you don't forget anything.
Epicurious also allows you to sign up for email alerts for their "Thanksgiving Countdown" messages.
Chow has an entire section designated for Thanksgiving recipes. Easy to navigate tabs allow you to browse their best recipes from five years of existence. There are multiple recipes for thinks like stuffing, gravy, pies & tarts, and even cranberry sauce. A pretty awesome bonus section shows you great ways to utilize all of those leftovers.
Food Network's site has also created an Thanksgiving section, where they provides recipes and how-tos for pretty much all of the traditional courses you'll need. They have a pretty extensive selection of how-to videos in their "cooking school." And of course, there are recipes and videos from the network's personalities like Alton Brown and Ina Garten.
Serious Eats has a basic but useful collection of recipes and tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving. They also provide a drink-pairing guide as well as their "Taste-test" section that tells you which brands of frozen apple pies, stuffing, store-bought gravy, etc. are the best - just in case you don't have to time to make absolutely everything at home.
eHow Food offers Thanksgiving help in the form of tips on Thanksgiving on a budget as well as tips from "in-house" contributor Rachel Ray. eHow food has plenty of recipes, including some instructional videos like how to set a great Thanksgiving table and how to crave the perfect turkey.
Of course, there are many more outlets out there to help you pull off the big meal. But these are some great places to start. What's your favorite holiday dish, both to prepare and to eat? Let us know in the comments.