Monday, November 13, 2006

Talkin' Turkey from

Thanksgiving is less than ten short days away. It's a time for many of us to go back to our hometowns, eat a nice dinner with our family and sit down to converse with our loved ones next to a roaring fireplace.

Sure...if you were born in a greeting card.

Truth be told, most of us shove copious amounts of poorly-cooked food down our gullets, play some football with Uncle Mel and his 5 demon offspring in the front yard, sit in uncomfortable silence as Aunt Louise decides that now - during the halftime show of the Cowboys' game - is the time to come out of the closet in front of a completely unshocked family, but much to the dismay of Grandma, who just thinks she hasn't found the right man yet, and then plan on waking up at 5 in the morning to take advantage of the Black Friday specials at the mall.

OK, maybe that's just my brood, but, let's face it, lots of us have families less like the Huxtables and more like the Griswolds. And our Thanksgiving dinners have more in common with Paula Zahn than Paula Dean. So, here's a quick survival guide for Thanksgiving `06.

1) Let the neighborhood grocery store do the cooking for you. Giant, Magruder's, Wegman's , Shopper's, Bloom - they can all prepare a meal for you and your guests, ready to heat and serve on Thanksgiving Day. It's often a little bit pricier than making it yourself, but, it's also a lot less prep work and clean-up time. If you want something a little less traditional, try swinging by the local Asian market, like Great Wall off Gallows Road, for a roasted duck or crispy fish.

2) If the idea of Safeway cooking your bird frightens you, at least follow their recipe. The Two-Hour method of cooking a turkey is a fantastic way to ensure a crispy skin and juicy meat, and still make it thoroughly cooked. Gone are the days of slow-roasting a bird all Wednesday night to eat Thursday afternoon - just follow Safeway's handy reference chart to match the cooking time with the size of your turkey.

My only suggestion would be to use a heavy-duty cooking bag. This will trap in the juices from the meat and will make your broiling pan a lot easier to clean.

Plus, don't stuff your stuffing in the bird. It slows down the cooking process for both the stuffing and the turkey, and can spread bacteria. Simply use a baking pan separate from the turkey to cook your glorified Stove-Top.

3) Just go out for dinner. McCormick and Schmick's locations serve a legendary Thanksgiving spread, as do several of the downtown hotels and restaurants. This might also be a great time to get prime seats in a hot ethnic eatery. Remember that Thanksgiving evening is a big going-out night, and that many bars will fill up with folks who've had about as much family as they can hand;e for the day. Get your grub early, and you should be fine.

And, if you need to go home and have zero control over the meal...

4) Remember that xanax is not just for breakfast anymore. Sneak a pack of Ramen noodles in your suitcase, and dress it up with some of the more edible leftovers.

When you get back to the area, stop off at Summer's by the Courthouse Metro. Besides being a fine place to watch both football and futbol, they make one of the finest turkey burgers you'll ever have. Perfectly seasoned, not over-cooked - when was the last time anybody gushed over a turkey burger? This is one seriously good sandwich, and should be enough to cure your turkey jones.

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