T minus 2 – Defrost that turkey!
November 22nd, 2011
03:45 PM ET
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We're sharing our time-tested Thanksgiving hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact.

From the comments:

Sweet mother of poultry, the turkey isn't thawed all the way! WHYYYYYYYYY MEEEEEEE?!?!? How long does it take to defrost a turkey?

If you're reading this at any point in the week before Thanksgiving, you have no reason to panic. Sez the USDA's website:

Plan ahead: allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below.

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Keeping peace at the Thanksgiving table
November 22nd, 2011
03:30 PM ET
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To help keep the peace with her in-laws during holidays, Julia Smith adopted a rule several years ago about talking politics: Don't do it, and don't take the bait if anyone starts in.

Her relationship with her father-in-law in particular had always been fraught with tension, said Smith, who asked that her name be changed to preserve family relations. She was the "screaming liberal from New York" who'd corrupted his Texas-bred son into moving to "Taxachusetts" and voting Democrat. As far as she was concerned, he was a good ol' boy who didn't like to talk politics as much as preach his views.

Her resolve was put to the test three years ago at Thanksgiving dinner, right after Barack Obama was elected president. She was picking at her turkey when, she says, her father-in-law suggested an act of violence toward Obama.

She attempted to keep cool by gathering her children and leaving the table. But then he repeated it at dessert.

Read – Etiquette 101: Talking politics over Thanksgiving dinner

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Filed under: Bite • Culture • Entertaining • Etiquette • Holidays • Thanksgiving


By the numbers – how America gobbles up Thanksgiving
November 22nd, 2011
01:00 PM ET
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Roasted, non-brined white meat, white bread stuffing, canned cranberries, pumpkin pie, a good old fashioned hunger-induced family feud, and don't you dare skimp on the butter.

Welcome to a typical American Thanksgiving, according to our not-so-scientific but extremely festive polls on holiday behavior. Over 200,000 votes were cast in poll questions ranging from pie preferences and cooking methods to levels of meal prep panic and bad guest behavior.

As it turns out, Americans are a pretty traditional bunch of eaters, who don't fuss quite as much as sitcoms might have you believe, but they might need a reminder to defrost the turkey in time.

Read on - and don't forget the marshmallows.

White or dark turkey meat?
* White 48.49%
Dark 47.93%
No turkey – another meat 1.88%
No meat 1.7%
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Filed under: Bite • Buzz • Holidays • Lunchtime Poll • Thanksgiving


Stuffpuppies. Stuffpuppies! STUFFPUPPIES!
November 22nd, 2011
09:03 AM ET
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There's a Chekhovian theatrical trope that asserts that if a gun is introduced in the first act, it's got to go off by the third. The culinary corollary: if you're employing hot, bubbling oil to cook your Thanksgiving turkey and there are any other technically edible substances around, you've gotta end up deep frying most of them. Just embrace your destiny.

Behold the Stuffpuppy - an orb of textural pleasures progressing inward from crunch to sponge to pillow. It's the turducken of the sides world: a cloud-soft core of buttery mashed potatoes, swaddled in savory stuffing (or dressing - your call), crusted in crushed potato chips and fried to sublimity. To bite into one is to gaze upon the naked face of Thanksgiving and tremble in ecstasy.

Plus it's really, really, REALLY fun to throw random stuff in the fryer.
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