Cookbook Review: GATHERINGS Casual-Fancy Meals To Share (With Recipes)

by | Oct 25, 2023


With today’s hectic lifestyle and the holidays around the corner, who wouldn’t want a cookbook that outlines entire meals for any type of gathering you have in mind? Well help is on the way with America’s Test Kitchen’s new cookbook –  Gatherings, Casual-Fancy Meals To Share has taken all the guess work out of it.

What makes this cookbook special? The recipes come from cooks across all departments of America’s Test Kitchen — not just chefs and recipe-makers. What’s more fun is they have stepped out of the office — in their case, the test kitchen — and into their own homes, sharing their personal recipes and favorite ways to entertain friends and family.

The “menu makers,” take you through their recipe for success. It was fun to read their personal bios and how they approach the art of cooking. I particularly liked their kitchen and cooking tips. But it did not stop there. The cooks share their secrets regarding food hacks, shopping advice, which foods can be made ahead, setup, and serving. Who can ask for more!

Let’s talk menus. The variety is amazing. Each chef doesn’t just contribute a recipe or two — they plan entire meals with their own sections.

One I think sounds particularly appealing is Appetizers For Dinner, from Sara Mayer, America’s Test Kitchen Senior Editor, Books. Our meal starts with a kick from Cider Bourbon Cocktails, Gazpacho In Cucumber Cups, Biscuit Crackers With Red Lentil Dip, Flatbread, Roasted Jerk Chicken Wings, and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Talk about exotic. Erica Turner, associate editor of Cook’s Illustrated, spent some time living in Turkey so chose to present a full Traditional Anatolia Dinner. Our menu starts with Sigara Boregi (pastry), Cacik (yogurt and cucumber dip), Ezme Salad (tomato-based salad), Adana Kebob with Sumac Onions (lamb on a skewer), and we can’t forget dessert — Katmer (layered flatbread with pistachios, mascarpone cheese, and ice-cream).

Personally, I sort of panic when I need to host a gathering. Menu planning always sounds fun — until the pressure starts to build! This cookbook is a godsend and I can see where it will become one of my favorites. My guess is it will be one of yours, too.