Christopher Kimball's Cook's Illustrated magazine and the offshoot TV show, America's Test Kitchen, answer the question "What if nerds cooked?" Kimball and his team of kitchen scientists thoroughly test appliances, make and remake recipes until they're perfect, compare and contrast food brands and re-examine essential cooking techniques. In the process, they create foolproof cooking instructions for generations of people who grew up eating Hamburger Helper. Kimball's new book, The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, is the sort of tome early-twentieth-century women received as wedding presents; it has all the basics of cooking, along with 1,200-plus recipes. But Kimball doesn't assume today's brides had the advantage of home economics courses and mothers and grandmothers who passed down generations of how-to tips. Instead, he assumes his readers have hardly ever set foot in a kitchen, and thus he avoids all those specialty-store ingredients that stump readers of Martha Stewart's Living or Bon Appétit. If a spice can't be found at the average supermarket, Kimball doesn't include it in the recipe.
Come and give him props -- or flames for leaving you with no excuse not to cook -- tonight at the Tattered Cover Cherry Creek, 2955 East First Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free, but arrive early to get a good place in line for the 6:30 p.m. distribution. For more information, visit www.tatteredcover.com or call 303-322-7727. -- Michelle Baldwin
The first Thanksgiving was a three-day potluck feast at which corn-wielding Indians and venison-slaughtering Pilgrims celebrated as if it were the opening weekend of Mardi Gras. Whether Puritan men used berry necklaces to get the Native American women to doff their tops isn't clear. The Vegetarian Society of Colorado doesn't much care. To them, the smell of stuffed turkey, roast duck and baked ham is the stench of genocide. This year, why not trade in the carving knife for a salad fork? Join the vegetarians for a turkey-free Thanksgiving today at 1 p.m. in Coolbaugh Hall, 1012 14th Street on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. Bring a plant-based dish to share, and pay just $5 for everything else. Call 303-777-4828 to RSVP, or get more information at www.vsc.org/ calendar_of_events.htm. -- Drew Bixby
Death Becomes Her
Greta Garbo comes alive at the Tattered Cover.
Greta Garbo once said, "Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening." Much is made of the great, mysterious lady and her fabled desire to "be alone." But although Garbo herself noted that what she really wanted was to be "left alone," free from the probing public eye, it's all too easy to understand why her image held the world rapt: She was a cool, regal, unsmiling beauty often revealed in photographs peering from dramatic shadows. Modern-day paparazzi-avoiders such as Lindsay Lohan can't hold a candle to Garbo, whose inner intelligence always blazed out from the black-and-white world. Who wouldn't want to know more?
A remarkable cache of those photographs, some famous and some not, are now collected in Garbo: Portraits From Her Private Collections, written by her grand-nephew Scott Reisfield and New York art dealer Robert Dance, to celebrate what would have been Garbo's 100th birthday earlier this year. Reisfield will discuss the archival gems and sign copies of the book tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street. For more information, call 303-436-1070 or visit www.tatteredcover.com. -- Susan Froyd
Beware lurking Tonya wannabes.
It's that time of year when below-freezing weather and a Byzantine underground cooling system turn our fair city snow-globe pretty. Oh, yes, convivial merry-makers, it's outdoor skating season. Cliched it may be, but what could be more apropos for the holidays than skating around in circles to Top 40 hits and Christmas jingles? Getting soused on homemade eggnog is right up there, so we suggest filling a flask, throwing on that Technicolor scarf your grandma knit for you before Bush the First was in office and hitting Cherry Creek North Ice Rink or the Ice Rink at One Boulder Plaza.
"It's a nice way to celebrate the holidays, get out, walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the lights," says Christina Brickley, marketing director for Cherry Creek North. The rink, located at 158 Fillmore Street, unveils its virgin ice today from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Adults pay $6, children $3; skate rentals are $2. For more information on the Cherry Creek ice rink hours, call 720-275-9314 or go to www.cherrycreeknorth.com.
Later tonight, join the jubilee on the Pearl Street Mall in downtown Boulder for the Switch On the Holidays lighting, followed by the Light Up the Ice figure-skating show at the Ice Rink at One Boulder Plaza, 1301 Canyon Boulevard. The festivities start at 5 p.m., and the free skate runs from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information on the Boulder rink, call 303-209-3722 or visit www.oneboulderplaza.com. -- Sara Behunek