When it comes to the holidays, main courses tend to stay on the traditional side. Roast turkeys, crown roasts, brisket and glazed ham are all pretty much par for the course, depending on the precise holiday and what size crowd you’re planning to feed. The side dishes are where you can really branch out and tailor the meal to some of your favorite tastes, even if you’re just mixing and matching mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and other classic sides. Best American Side Dishes is a cookbook from the America’s Text Kitchen collection that is all about them – no mains, no desserts – and is a great way to find the perfect recipe to round out a meal.
The book is set up in much the same way as ATK’s other cookboks. Each recipe is preceeded by a description of the dish, along with a brief discussion of the testing that ATK carried out in search of their perfect version of it. The recipes are detailed, easy to follow and reliable. The chapters include Appetizers, Salads, Vegetables Sides and Casseroles, Potato Sides and Casseroles and Rice, Grain and Bean Sides and Casseroles, and the book has about 500 recipes.
The selling point for this cookbook is that there are not a lot of books that are dedicated to side dishes. Some mention sides as an afterthought to main courses. Others are single subject cookbooks that provide a number of dishes, but are limited in scope. And many cookbooks focus on ethnic or international flavors, leaving those in search of a good-but-traditional green bean casserole stuck with grandma’s almost-illegible recipe cards.