Must Read: Pestos, Tapenades, & Spreads

Much like PartySugar, I'll be paying special attention to the oft-neglected starters when I host this year's Thanksgiving meal. I've not yet determined what they'll be: should I serve soup? Dip in a bread bowl? So I am excited for a new book, Pestos, Tapenades, & Spreads ($17) by Stacey Printz, which offers up an array of spreads to serve when entertaining on the run. Were its offerings worthy of being on the Thanksgiving table? Find out when you read more.


  • The author — a new mom with a busy schedule herself — throws in a number of helpful hints, such as storing pesto in ice-cube trays.
  • Each recipe is accompanied by a list of serving suggestions.
  • Printz's ingredient pairings, like sage-walnut pesto and edamame hummus, are relatable, yet unusual enough to be refreshing.


  • If you aren't a fan of pesto or olives, then you won't get too much use out of this book.
  • For experts, the recipe's instructions will seem not only redundant but also obvious: "Pulse ingredients in a food processor until smooth."

Recipes: A compilation of 40 spreads, including the following:

  • No-nut pesto
  • Smoky eggplant tapenade
  • Curried hummus
  • Avocado-chevre spread
  • Smoked salmon spread

Imagery: Roughly a third of the recipes are photographed. Enticing images suggest useful ideas for incorporating the spreads into meals.

Overall Rating: If you're a cooking veteran searching for something groundbreaking and new, you won't find it here. But those who want to explore Thanksgiving (or any other form of entertaining) on a tight schedule will look to this book for inspiring flavor combinations and healthy, versatile toppings that can be incorporated into any course.