Thanksgiving Dos and Don’ts

23 Nov

Last year my sister and I took on the task of cooking Thanksgiving for our family. Prior to this endeavor I had never made a turkey, stuffing or gravy in my life, but thanks to hours of research on epicurious, food network and any other source I could find we honed our recipes and came up with a turkey day game plan timed to the minute.

The finished bird. Notice the photo behind me where I am doing the same hand on hip 20 years earlier (and on a dude ranch)

This year we are prepared to do it all again with some valuable lessons learned from last year’s inaugural effort. Below, a list of dos and don’ts to get you through cooking your Thanksgiving meal:

Thanksgiving Dos:

  • Do pick out all your recipes ahead of time and create a schedule based on oven time and temperature
  • Do prepare a cohesive shopping list for your dad so that everything is purchased in advance
  • Do brine your turkey
  • Do have one blow up fight with your sister early on in the cooking
  • Do delegate dessert to others so that you are not completely overwhelmed

Thanksgiving Don’ts:

  • Don’t listen to your sister when she says your 20lb turkey is done after 3 hours of cooking
  • Don’t lug your ice cream maker from DC to Philadelphia on Amtrak – just buy some Haagen Daaz and call it a day
  • Don’t forget the wine
  • Don’t make “an extra mac and cheese just in case”
  • Don’t you dare think you ever have enough herb butter

This year we are going with a smaller bird, but we will definitely be using the same recipe from Tom Colicchio. It was super juicy and fairly simple once my sister pointed out that I had confused the breast side from the back of the bird (oops!)

Buttering and stuffing your bird may require an extra pair of hands

Make sure you give constant attention to your bird

Monitor temperature

Let your turkey rest a bit before carving

In addition to the turkey, we will also be serving:

I can’t wait for this gluttonous feast and I am grateful that I get to spend another year with my family and friends who I love very much.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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5 Responses to “Thanksgiving Dos and Don’ts”

  1. Elizabeth Spector November 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    “DON’T mistake the BACK of the Turkey for the Breast.” Hmmmph! That meat thermometer was a cruel prankster!

  2. Latifah November 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Niffy, I loved hearing about you guys making Thanksgiving dinner from Liz last year. She def left out parts about sisterly quarrels, but how in the world did she think the turkey was down in 3 hours?!?! My sister can’t cook, so I get the kitchen all to myself when I make Christmas dinner. I do everything even bake cookies, her only job is to decorate them.

    Another ice cream maker don’t…Don’t try to make ice cream in the kitchen where the oven has been on for 12 straight hours. Total Fail!

    Good luck this year, I’m sure you guys will do fabulously

    • niffyspector November 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

      Thanks Tifah!

  3. Kate November 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    How could i forget about herb butter?!?!?! Niff, you’ve just saved my Thanksgiving.

    • niffyspector November 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

      The more herb butter the better!!

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