Monthly Archives: December 2008

How to cook TWO 25lb turkeys

I am one of seven children, which leads to a huge Thanksgiving. Our dinner table has always been huge, but with six spouses and eleven grandchildren, the table is now a combination of three huge tables!

To feed so many mouths, we need lots of turkey…hence, our standard two 25lb turkeys. 🙂

I have always been my mom’s little helper in the kitchen, and things have not changed much. I missed Thanksgiving two years ago when I was in Italy with MM, and I think it was a bit tough on her. I think she was more sad than struggling to cook, but she survived and the family was fed. Being that many of my siblings have the burden of balancing our dinner with their in-laws (it helps to marry an Italian), we do our dinner early which makes it more like a late lunch. So, our cooking begins late the night before.

Our routine is simple.

On Thanksgiving Eve:
1. prepare the stuffing
2. clean the turkeys
3. stuff the turkeys
4. sew up the turkeys
5. season and butter the outside of the turkeys
6. struggle to fit them in aluminum trays
7. wobble and nearly kill one another as we attempt to put both of the turkeys in one Viking oven
8. let them cook through the night at 250 degrees – approx. 6 hours

On Thanksgiving morning:
1. baste the turkeys
2. turn the heat up to 350 degrees for the remainder of cooking – approx. 3.5 hours
3. continue to baste them and check the meat thermometer
4. take them out of the oven and let sit for about 30 minutes
5. call in dad to cut the turkeys

So, if you’re ever in the predicament of cooking turkey dinner for nearly 30 people, know that you’re not alone and it can be done…

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Thanksgiving…always traditional

Since I have become passionate about cooking, I am always trying to push my boundaries to try new things. I always want to try new flavors and new ingredients that will improve my knowledge and help me grow in the kitchen.

Not for Thanksgiving.

For Thanksgiving – I am the opposite. I hate fancy Thanksgiving recipes because it takes away from the memories and the flavors that I want to experience only once a year. I have tried gourmet stuffings and dishes, but I could never abandon my mom’s good old celery and onion stuffing. That along with traditional jelly cranberry, oven roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet squash, green bean casserole, homemade bread and gravy is all I care to see on the table on Thanksgiving Day. Oh – and of course pumpkin and apple pies for dessert. Nothing gourmet or created by Emeril or Paula belongs on the table!

I’m so happy MM learned about Thanksgiving at my parents’ home last year, so our dishes are his favorites…I don’t have to fight with any “traditional” dishes his mom cooked his whole life.

We’ll save the gourmet dishes for the other 364 days of the year!

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driving, driving, driving…

MM and I drove to and from Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. We heard nightmare stories involving a 12 hour drive (it should normally take only 7-8 hours max), so we were prepared for the worst. Luckily, it only took us 7 hours to get to Pittsburgh on Wednesday! We used MM’s navigation system to go a different way than the standard route 80 or the turnpike the whole way. We were very happy to arrive home in time for dinner and our tradition of turkey preparation!On the way back, however, we were slightly too optimistic and we waited until mid afternoon to leave Pittsburgh. We got stuck in hours of DC traffic on the PA turnpike – all the way to Breezewood. Nightmare. We barely hit 20mph for four hours. We can blame the traffic on DC because a soon as we passed Breezewood, we didn’t go below 80mph the whole way into the Holland Tunnel. Gotta love the fact that most New Yorkers fly everywhere because they don’t have a car and they don’t drive often enough to remember which is the brake and gas.

The only way MM and I could keep our sanity was to focus on the fact that we would have likely had a delay at the airport due to bad weather. We will stick with this justification for now, but we may fly next year…

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