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Thanksgiving turkey: Adventure time?

turkeycloudCelebrating Thanksgiving has always been a treasured memory from my childhood. I remember Mom doing the “turkey dance” in the morning, entertaining us kids with some stylish moves before putting it in the oven. While we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, she would be busy getting all the traditional dishes together. Then come nightfall, the relatives would come over with their contributions, and we’d all take our places at our respective kids’ & adult tables. The next day, we would all get up early and, unlike the rest of shopping America, pile into our blue VW van for a trip to Detroit for the annual table tennis tournament, but that’s another blog post.

Now that those days are over, and I have become an official adult with a husband, I’ve taken on the hosting of Thanksgiving at our home. But this is no easy task, especially for someone like me who avoids cooking whenever possible. For 2012, I did a practice cooking session a few weeks beforehand just for my husband and me, using a small turkey. It turned out pretty amazing for a first try. Come Thanksgiving, I cooked the huge bird for our 15 guests, and that one was even better. (Looking back, it is a wonder that the turkey didn’t end up of my head, à la Joey…or at least the cat’s head – she is getting pretty bad about jumping up on the counter.)

Last year, I was pretty straightforward with what I wanted in a turkey recipe – I was looking for something simple that wouldn’t require a ton of ingredients, and one that had good reviews. But since I’ve proven my turkeybilities, should I stick with what works or go with something more creative? Let’s find out where people are talking about Thanksgiving turkey recipes, and see if I can get any new ideas.

This month, WeightWatchers.com pulls in the majority of posts surrounding turkey recipes, with 290 posts (30% of the top 10). Second place goes to TheDailyMeal.com with 196 posts (20%), and Chow.com comes in third with 86 posts (9%).


Some interesting suggestions for this year’s turkey day include a substitute of turkey patties for those trying to lose weight – my party of 20 this Thursday would probably not appreciate that; a turkey with a Moroccan rub – too many spices for me; and a recipe for roasting your turkey in a slow cooker – sounds really yummy! Of course, there are also your deep-fried turkeys, turduckens, tofurkeys, and Ted’s infamous turturkeykey, but those are all going a little too far for my tastes. One suggestion on WeightWatchers.com adds a couple extras to my tried and true recipe from last year – lemon and orange halves with garlic in the cavity. Yes, I think that will give me the perfect balance between adventure and safety. I’ll take that, thank you!

And so begins the countdown to turkey day. Tomorrow night I’ll begin my cooking craze with a recipe for mini sweet potato pies that I heard about last week on NPR (I’ve never even tried sweet potato pie, so this will be interesting). Then come Thursday, I’ll tune in to the Macy’s parade, and begin the turkey dance, just like my mother did years ago. We’ll likely skip the ping pong this year.


Beginner’s Tip: One thing that bugs me about many turkey recipes is the omission of the importance of aluminum foil for ensuring the turkey stays moist. Be sure to drape your turkey with foil throughout the cooking process until the last 30 minutes or so where you’ll get that nice brown colorization. It’s also really important to cover the tips of the wings so that they don’t burn. That’s not a pretty thing to see in your grand unveiling to your guests.


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