When you reach the lofty age of nearly 65, as I have…you are right on the cusp of being able to offer “Sage Advice” for almost any topic. The years, with all of the experience that comes with those years, make you an expert on all sorts of things. Including, “How to Make Your Thanksgiving Wonderful!”
There are really just three pretty basic things to remember to make your Thanksgiving holiday perfect. And I am more than happy to share them with you right now, just in time for the upcoming celebration next week!
When it comes to the Turkey, stick to the traditional basics! I realize that a couple of generations of younger family think that they have improved on the tried and true methods of the older generations. But trust me, doing the deep fried turkey, or the even more ridiculous Turducken is not only dangerous, but a complete waste of a perfectly good concept! Turkey, Gravy, mashed potatoes, and dressing, with cranberry…what more do you need?
But no matter what kind of turkey you get… MAKE SURE YOU THAW IT PROPERLY!
This is especially important if you ignore my previous admonishment to “Keep it simple” and decide to do a Turducken! If you don’t thaw, and properly cook your birds (especially when they are layered within one another) you and your family could be worshiping the porcelain God, shortly after giving your prayers of thanks. Nobody wants their “Thank God for all you have given us” to turn into “Please God…just let me die!!” as you deal with hours of stomach gymnastics and a complete purge of your Thanksgiving meal.
HERE IS WHY YOU NEED TO BE SMART ABOUT TURDUCKENS!
This diagram doesn’t even begin to show how many thermometers you need to have to check three birds inside of one another! It’s like taking a fetal heart rate, if the baby had a baby inside! (Gross…OK…no more fetal talk with cooking talk).
You get the idea. It’s too much risk…too much trouble…and was likely invented by the Uncle who gets drunk and tries to see how may Brussels Sprouts he can stuff into his mouth at one time!
But, my guess is that the same idiot Uncle likely came up with the Deep Fried Turkey!
The alarmingly increased rate of house fires due to idiots trying to deep fry turkeys that aren’t completely thawed, is incredible. Thousands a year. Thousands!!!
So…when it comes to my “perfect thanksgiving meal”, it’s pretty straightforward.
A perfectly cooked turkey (Deb is a master with an old family recipe), stuffing, mashed potatoes, all smothered in cranberry (natural, not canned) and then covered in gravy. PERFECT!
DON’T TALK POLITICS!!!
I know. This seems obvious. But, even when you are in a family that totally agrees on which color hat to wear, you’d be surprised at how worked up and crazy the conversation can get. It may start with an innocuous, seemingly harmless comment like, “So…can you believe the way Stephen Colbert tried to go with a gray beard and dyed dark hair last month?” And the next thing you know, people are throwing chunks of Turducken at one another in raging fits over border crossings and rain-outs at European cemeteries! And that’s people who AGREE on the topics! Let’s face it…if you are going to get sick during a meal, you want it to be from something easy to pinpoint…like the Turducken…and not whether you got worked up to a state of dyspepsia over someone’s choice in facial hair. Just don’t talk about anything related to current events or politics. This should make for a very quiet meal…and make it easier to hear your stomachs begin to rumble when the Turducken kicks in.
Don’t speak ill of anyone who is not present. It’s poor taste to talk about people who can’t defend themselves, especially if they were left off of the guest list for doing something indefensible at the last Thanksgiving meal (like burning down the house while trying to deep-fry a Turducken). You are there to give thanks for all of the blessing that you have received over the past year, not to badmouth Uncle Harry, for choking on the huge mouthful of Brussels Sprouts and ruining the day by having to be hauled off to the ER. He didn’t mean to die. It wasn’t his fault. He was just trying to break the tension over the discussion of crowd sizes at the inauguration!
Finally…take the time to break away and tap. It may just be these secret respites away from the rest of the family that keeps you from being burned by a “Deep Fried Turkey Explosion” or taking that last chunk of poorly cooked Turducken! Who would imagine that tapping could save lives?? Be Thankful for that!
Be safe. Have fun. Be thankful!