Wine and dine The Pollan women— (from left) Dana, Tracy, Corky, and Lori—chop it up in Tracy's Manhattan kitchen.

This elegant Manhattan apartment—its tall ceilings, bisque walls hung with grand oil paintings, and windows overlooking the thrilling green of Central Park—is full of warm, familiar sounds, like bare feet on wood floors and knives drumming against cutting boards and the snapping pops of delicious fried things becoming delicious fried things. But the smell in here, a combination of roast turkey, olive oil, fresh herbs and caramelized sugar, is the place's most extraordinary feature by far. Follow it through the front door and you'll find yourself in the kitchen, where food magazines are stuffed in every nook, the cupboards contain everything from corkscrew pasta to coriander, and four women who look remarkably alike are making Thanksgiving dinner.

Well, sort of. Today the women of the Pollan family—Corky, the matriarch and daughters Dana, Lori and Tracy—have assembled to fine-tune the Turkey Day menu, using Tracy's apartment (which she shares with her husband, the actor Michael J. Fox, and their four children) as a laboratory. Perfecting the meal is no small matter—this is a family that takes its culinary cred seriously. Corky, a former shopping columnist at New York magazine and onetime style director of Gourmet, is an accomplished cook. All three Pollan sisters have followed in her footsteps, and their brother, food writer Michael Pollan, is, well, food writer Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma (perhaps best known for coining the essential eating advice "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.").

But he's not the most recent author in the clan. The new cookbook The Pollan Family Table was a joint effort undertaken by Corky and her three daughters, who felt it was high time they collected their go-to recipes in one volume. "We said to one another, 'Wouldn't it be great to gather all the recipes we love? '" Dana says as she folds cubes of Granny Smith apple into cinnamon-flecked cake batter.

They weren't the only ones with an interest in the project. "We all had friends asking us, 'What's that great thing you make? '" Tracy says, grating sweet potatoes on the kitchen island. "And it became a running joke. People would say, 'Just write a cookbook so we don't have to ask all the time.'"

The art of cooking for one's family is slowly getting lost, the sisters believe. The culprit? A misunderstanding that it's just too complicated. "I know people who say, 'I can't cook. You don't know my schedule! '" Lori says. "But our philosophy is that something is better than nothing. If you eliminate just one processed food from your dinner, right there the quality of your diet has gone up." The Pollans' cookbook makes simple switches even simpler, with recipes for staples such as salad dressing and tomato sauce, which are almost as easy to make as they are to buy.

Next: The women of the Pollan clan share beloved recipes guaranteed to keep loved ones coming back for more


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