Holiday Basics: How to Have a Safe and Sane Thanksgiving –

Many families settled for smaller gatherings and remote blessings during the height of the pandemic, but this Thanksgiving feels like the return of the big holiday.

More people are flocking this year, and the American Automobile Association predicts vacation travel will nearly return to pre-pandemic levels.

If that’s the case at your house, it may have been a while since you’ve faced a frozen turkey or remembered which cousins ​​shouldn’t sit together.

To help you brush up on holiday basics, here are some tips to keep everyone safe, healthy, and sane:


The big bird is the focus of most Thanksgiving meals, but it’s important to handle raw birds correctly to prevent the spread of bacteria that can send your guests home with unwanted food poisoning. Thaw safely. A frozen turkey needs about 24 hours to thaw for every 4 to 5 pounds of weight, according to the Department of Agriculture. In a pinch, it can be thawed in a cold water bath or even in a microwave, but it should be cooked immediately if you use those methods. And don’t wash the turkey. It’s a bad idea to rinse it down the sink, a practice that can spread potentially dangerous germs like salmonella to nearby areas, said Jennifer Quinlan, a Drexel University professor of nutritional sciences who has studied Consumers’ turkey handling habits.. Instead, pat the turkey dry with paper towels and place in the roasting pan.


The best way to make sure your turkey is fully cooked, to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, is to use a meat thermometer, said Lisa Shelley, who researches food safety at North Carolina State University. Don’t rely on golden skin or the color of turkey juices. Once you serve the turkey, be sure to refrigerate it along with all other leftovers (mashed potatoes, gravy, yams) within two hours. “Really, set a timer when you turn everything off,” Quinlan suggested. “You’ll be surprised how quickly two hours go by.”

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