The Thanksgiving meal is the most feared of occasions around the American dinner table. In-laws, once a year visits from family members and friends judge the Thanksgiving menu, the turkey meat’s moisture and the table settings. How does the chef avert disaster?
USDA Food Safety Specialists are on Call!
You left the turkey in the car for a couple of hours. Sure, it was cold in the garage, but is the meat really still safe for human consumption? Will that Thanksgiving dinner have to rely on turkey breast cold cuts from the sandwich drawer? Not necessarily!
The USDA staffs a meat and poultry hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) that answers the worried chef’s questions about food safety and safe food handling practices. Live USDA staffers answer Thanksgiving meal menu questions related to food safety (in English and Spanish) on November 25 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET.
How to Carve a Turkey?
Are you the freshly-minted head of the household or somehow got stuck with bird-carving duty? How do you make the Thanksgiving dinner platter look attractive and not like a fricassee? Easy: watch the New York Times’ video on the art and science that is proper turkey-carving. A master butcher shows step by step how to dismantle a whole bird and arrange the meat attractively on a serving platter.
If it’s not Turkey on the Thanksgiving Menu
Have you decided not to serve turkey this year for the holiday? Perhaps you are looking at a ham, a rack of lamb or Uncle Bob’s wild game or Cornish hen? Rely on the USDA once more for advice on roasting the lesser known and more infrequently used meats. Learn to cook a whole quail at a temperature of 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Cornish hens, on the other hand, cook at 350 degrees for 60 minutes to achieve the same result. Who knew?
Talking Turkey on Pumpkin Pie
The guests who promised to contribute the pies to the Thanksgiving menu call at the last minute and will not arrive (on time or at all). What will you serve the family for dessert? If you can scrounge up some ginger snaps, have a can of pumpkin in your pantry and can find evaporated milk, Food and Health Communications has the ultimate light pumpkin pie recipe for you to make. Prepare the pie and bake it while serving the main course.
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline for Food Safety
Carving a Thanksgiving Turkey New York Times Video
USDA on Roasting Those “Other” Holiday Meats
Food and Health Communications Reveals the Best Light Pumpkin Pie