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The Ultimate Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet

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The countdown begins: Nine more days until that ultimate holiday, Thanksgiving. That means it's about eight days before I typically start preparing (I'm a big procrastinator). The day before, I'm usually frantically running around to buy pie from the Little Pie Company or get a box of my all-time favorite cookies—the chunky coconut—from Birdbath Bakery to take to my family in Boston. (Unlike me, they usually have everything cooked and beautifully prepared in advance.) For those earnest planners, F&W offers an amazingly thorough Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide packed with fantastic recipes, menus and an excellent slideshow section. For those like me, I offer another resource: F&W's How To Fake It/How To Make It Guide, my compilation of top restaurants and food shops around the country that will offer Thanksgiving dishes for pick-up. Maybe this year, I'll vary from my dessert theme and surprise my family by bringing a pit-smoked turkey from Hill Country with me on the Bolt Bus.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.