Thanksgiving Lessons

1. Brined turkey is best.

2. Deep fried turkey is delicious but you must do it with care. Put the turkey in a cooker situated not in your home, balcony or driveway but away from any buildings. And please do not be a fool! Frozen turkey and hot oil is explosive.

3. Stuffing is not evil but stovetop and baked is the best. Putting raw stuffing inside a bird (especially with uncooked sausage in it) is pretty foolish.

4. Homemade gravy is far better than canned or made from packs. I use a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that is all purpose, easy to make and store. Nothing and I mean nothing can compare to homemade.

5. Cranberry sauce is easy to make if your grocer has them fresh. Be sure to pick the berries over well before cooking them. Avoid the canned stuff especially the kind that comes out looking like a prop from a horror movie.

8. I love mashed potatoes but for the most silky and creamy use Yukon Gold potatoes. Be sure to wash them before you put them in the pot. Getting rid of extra starch leaves room for the melted butter (put first into the potatoes) and them warm half & half. Put the cooked potatoes through either a ricer or food mill. I use a food mill and it is worth the effort because the result in both creamy and silky potatoes.

9. If you are a terrible baker like me, buying a fresh pie from a good baker is a better idea usually. However Claim Jumper has a very good frozen pumpkin pie worth trying. Bad part: the 2 hour wait for it to cool!

10. 2 good movies to watch on Thanksgiving: 1)Miracle on 34th Street; 2)A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Movies to avoid: zombie. Any PBS special promising a major star but drops out every 15 minutes for a pledge break. Food TV shows that promise a perfect Thanksgiving but always end with the star eating at someone else’s place. Anything Thanksgiving from Anthony Bourdain. His ego is so big that no bird can possibly compete. Any Hallmark/Lifetime/OWN movie where someone gets hit on the head and wakes up to find themselves in an alternate universe.

I recommend America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated for good recipes.
That’s it for this year! Have any lessons of your own?