Every year, it seems so doable. You've got everything under control the week before: The turkey is thawing in the fridge, canned goods are purchased, meal time is set. Then you're staring down the backside of a raw turkey on Thursday morning and Thanksgiving dinner suddenly feels quite overwhelming.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you're preparing the main feast this week, especially if you have less help in the kitchen than you would like. So we put together a story dedicated to staving off some of those likely Turkey Day problems before they turn into full-blown disasters. We have tips for everything from thawing a turkey to making room in the oven to feeding your guests throughout the day.
For expert advice, we reached out to Butterball Turkey Talk Line's Sue Smith, who has been answering phone calls from distressed cooks on Thanksgiving Day for more than 15 years. (Her longest call? Forty-five minutes, with some newlyweds who had never really cooked before. The runnerup may be the time she talked to a 92-year-old man whose wife had recently passed away. He was cooking a turkey himself for the first time and wanted to carry on the tradition for his wife and the rest of his family.)
In addition to detailing the best way to thaw and cook a turkey, Smith talked about recent changes in the type of Butterball hotline caller, saying that the number of men callers specifically has increased. There also are more people inquiring about different turkey cooking methods other than roasting, she said, like deep frying and grilling (one of our writers swears by this method).
Look also this week for recipes for sides (fresh cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, vegetables and more), local spots to pick up desserts (one less thing to worry about!), Thanksgiving safety tips and suggestions for American wines to pair with the meal.
We also have five ideas for turning Thanksgiving leftovers into something other than the ubiquitous turkey soup. That's the inspiration for this week's #CookClub recipe, a simple creation that takes the standard post-Thanksgiving sandwich and twists it just a bit. We're treating cooked turkey like chicken here, and making a sweet, salty, crunchy salad fit for eating on a leftover dinner roll or atop a bed of greens.
Contact Michelle Stark at [email protected] or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.