What I like about Thanksgiving at my house is that we have an intimate gathering. Anybody who wanted to participate in the cooking was both welcomed and encouraged! I don’t have a very large kitchen but it doesn’t bother me to have help with such a big meal. There was absolutely no stress and we ate dinner in our PJs so it was very informal. With the amount of food you are stuffing in, you really need the elastic waist band!
We started the turkey at 8am. In the oven it went and my father-in-law was up bright and early to put the turkey in. The night before he rubbed it down with butter and added salt and pepper. He added a little bit of water to the roasting pan we put in the temperature probe on the breast and set the oven to cook at 350 degrees and set the internal temperature to 180.
Now for the side prep. We made a few things the night before. My daughter prepped vegetables and a cheese ball the night before and then started on her sweet potatoes.
The goal was dinner at noon, and at 16 pounds an approximation was made that it would take 4 hours, but a turkey takes it’s own time and the temperature probe wasn’t showing it was ready yet. Pop was basting the bird every hour. It was more like 1pm. He trussed the legs with dental floss before cooking, but that unraveled sometime close to the end. I agree it looks prettier with the legs tied, but look at that golden bird…
Because I don’t have a double oven, once the turkey is out the side dishes that need heating are put in. The potatoes were cooked and waiting their turn for the oven as was the dressing/stuffing. And of course the rolls! So we put all of that in the oven while the turkey rested enough for carving.
Now the trick is to have everything hot and ready at the same time! Easier said than done. As some things cool, they might need a quick trip to the microwave to warm. Or somethings can sit in the microwave because it is directly above the cook top which is very warm with all the side dish cooking (potatoes, okra, etc.)
I did a “buffet” style setup for the food. I put some things on my breakfast table and the other things I wanted warm on top of my cook top and the remaining things on the island counter. I guess you can call that stations.
All of that activity and preparation ends with the grand meal time. Which goes so fast! I try to savor the moment. I am very thankful for the people, the food and some time off. I love Thanksgiving. It’s fall at it’s best. I do wish it would linger a little longer. I look forward to ending the evening on this cool night, lounging on the sofa with the roaring fireplace watching TV and snuggling with my old best friend…