Upcoming Events: Learn the Holiday Skills Your Parents Never Taught You

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Get lit this month, with several book signings from authors both local and national. First up is Jack Bishop, host of one of TV's best cooking shows, America's Test Kitchen, and editor of America's Test Kitchen, the show's just-as-awesome magazine. (Sorry, can you tell I have the DVD box set of all the America's Test Kitchen episodes?) Bishop will be at Georgia's Farm to Market next Thursday, November 10, in conjunction with Blue Willow Bookshop. Bishop will discussing and signing his newest book, The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, and Georgia's will prepare a buffet featuring recipes from the book itself.

Radio host John DeMers, whose show -- Delicious Mischief -- broadcasts in both Houston and Austin, has a new book out as well: Lone Star Chefs, a coffee table book featuring gorgeous photos of and recipes from Texas's top chefs. No, seriously; it's beautiful, and will make an excellent Christmas gift for a Texas food fan. DeMers will be doing book signings soon in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas; follow him on Twitter for more information on those upcoming signings.

Thinking about signing up for the 3rd Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at Market Square Park this year? You might want to get a little practice in first, and you can do that at two separate gingerbread workshops.

The Four Seasons downtown is hosting its yearly Tea and Gingerbread Workshop starting Saturday, November 26. Parents are invited to escape the holiday stress by enjoying afternoon tea at Quattro, the Four Seasons's restaurant on the third floor, while their kids learn all the important gingerbread house-building techniques from the hotel's pastry chefs in the nearby Fairfield Room. The workshop and afternoon tea takes place every Saturday until December 17, and costs $32 for adults or $38 for children under 12.

Central Market's annual gingerbread house decorating class is so popular each year, the store now has two classes available, both on Sunday, November 27. Each class lasts two hours and is open to all ages, but minor children must be accompanied by an adult. You'll build (ideally) an authentic Swiss Lebkuchen gingerbread house and go through a ton of royal icing in the process. The cost of the course is $60 per house, not per person.

Central Market also has a slew of Thanksgiving cooking classes on its roster, and they're filling up fast:

Not to be outdone, Revival Market is offering some Thanksgiving help of its own. Chef Ryan Pera will address burning turkey questions like: Should the turkey be brined? How long will it take to cook? And how the hell do you carve the beast? Two 90-minute classes covering these questions and more will take place on Sunday, November 13, and Sunday, November 20, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the shop itself. The cost is $50 per person, with 15 available slots in each class. Call 713-880-8463 to reserve your spot.

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