Preparing a Memorable Feast
What do people associate with Thanksgiving? Chances are it's a table full of delicious food being shared and savored with friends and family. Whether you're a pro at cooking a Thanksgiving meal or you're doing it for the very first time, here's a quick guide to preparing a memorable feast.

Finding the Perfect Turkey
When picking out that bird estimate about one pound per person, which will allow for plenty of second helpings and leftovers. Make sure you thaw the turkey completely before cooking. Always thaw the turkey in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. Allow 24 hours for every 6 pounds of turkey (that means a 24-pounder will take about 4 days). Once it's done thawing you're left with the next big question: to stuff or not to stuff?

Everything Stuffing
Stuffing recipes are like snowflakes; no two are the same. Find one that is right for your meal and go with it. Then you must decide whether you will cook your stuffing inside the turkey or out. Putting it inside the turkey increases the cooking time, but will also increases the flavor. It's your call. It's perfectly safe to stuff a bird as long as you cook the turkey until the stuffing registers 165F on a thermometer. If the bird is very big and the stuffing isn't cooking quickly enough, scoop it out into a casserole and bake it separately.

Side Dishes
When the Pilgrims and Indians had their inaugural Thanksgiving meal, they celebrated their bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables. In keeping with tradition, why not try seasonal vegetables associated with the fall, such as red potatoes, baby carrots, fennel and parsnip. Flavor them with garlic, thyme and a splash of olive oil. Then roast them in the oven to get a robust flavor.

The perfect compliment to a Thanksgiving meal is a pie for dessert. There are plenty you can buy already made at the store, but this can be your crowning achievement for the meal. Making and baking your own pie will impress others and give you a great sense of accomplishment for a perfect holiday feast.

Interesting ! Thanksgiving Factoid
There is no way to be sure that turkey was part of the first Thanksgiving meal. At that time in 1621, the term "turkey" meant any sort of wild fowl. It is likely that the first meal had venison and not turkey on the table. Regardless, the first Thanksgiving was meant to mirror a traditional English harvest celebration.


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