Every Thanksgiving Americans dig into more than five billion pounds of gobbler. It’s both a tradition and an obsession. For only a few days the whole country becomes turkey-conscious. We serve it up roasted, deep fried, barbequed, hot, cold, and pickled. As the comedian Jackie Gleason once joked: “After Thanksgiving we even had turkey-flavored ice cream just to get rid of the leftovers!”
But the way Americans eat, or don’t eat, turkey is no joke. Every year there are dozens of cases of food poisoning caused by the incorrect cooking of turkey — and many consumers never even look at a turkey the rest of the year, even though it’s one of the best protein foods around and is the least expensive meat, pound for pound, in the supermarket for most of the year, according to CouponBox.com.
Here are a few tips to make your upcoming Thanksgiving holiday less of a stress and more of a rapport:
Do your planning even earlier than your shopping
Have a written shopping list, and stick with it. Never mind that marzipan is on sale or candied citrus peel is two for one — if it’s not on your list just forget it for now. Thanksgiving is crazy enough without adding little odds and ends that will sit in the corner unused, driving you even crazier. Write down your guest list. M ake a note of any food allergies; who’s gluten-free and who just joined AA (keep the wine away from them!) Do you have one TV dedicated to football and another dedicated to DVD’s? Get this all sorted out prior to the arrival of your guests to avoid the kind of meltdown that should only happen in a nuclear reactor (in some other country, please). You’ll save money, too.
Home cooking is cheaper than ordered in
Resist that urge to have your holiday feast catered by the local supermarket. The price may look reasonable, but if you break it down you’ll find you’re paying through the nose for a bunch of mediocre lukewarm stodge. Make it yourself and you’ll save about ten dollars per person served.
Start scouting for coupons and discounts NOW
Never pay full price for that Butterball turkey or those sweet potatoes! Most food processors and grocery stores start their Turkey Day bargains and run their coupons starting in mid-October. Get online and start a search with words like ‘turkey’, ‘bargain’, ‘butter’, ‘discount’, ‘pumpkin pie filling’, etc.
When Couponbox.com surveyed the top turkey producers in the Midwest they found that the reasons most people shy away from turkey the rest of the year they were told that consumers think turkey is too difficult to cook and is less flavorful than meats like beef and pork.
But a basic turkey recipe is so simple an eight year old child could do it. Most turkeys come with a built-in thermometer that pops up red when the turkey is done. So really all that needs doing is to set the proper oven temp, put the thawed bird in a pan, and shove into the oven — and then keep track of the time and wait for the little red thing to pop up. Your turkey is done.
For something more elegant, try champagne turkey. Follow the same instructions as for the basic turkey, just have an opened bottle of the bubbly on hand to ladle over the bird every hour or so to make the turkey sweeter and juicier. For any teetotalers at the table, the alcohol will all evaporate long before the bird reaches the table.
If you are ready for a real turkey challenge, then try roast turkey with flavored butter. The flavors can range from rosemary to garlic to anchovy. If you make the flavored butter ahead of time you can baste the turkey into a deliciousness that will have your guests reminiscing, and patting their stomachs, for years to come.