5 Takeaways From Thanksgiving Dinner Preparation
Before we get any further into December, I want to share my 5 takeaways from preparing the 2018 Thanksgiving dinner Cathy style. With the widely publicized Salmonella outbreak prompting a turkey recall and the recent instructions to not eat any romaine lettuce, food safety was front and center when I went to prepare the feast. Good food is always front and center, so my 5 takeaways from Thanksgiving dinner involve food safety and a fabulously tasting meal.
Here are the 5 takeaways:
- Preorder the fresh turkey for pickup Thanksgiving morning. This takes care of the proper thawing of the turkey and eliminates the need for the turkey to be in my refrigerator, potentially contaminating any surface in there. By streamlining the process there is less chance of contamination by the raw turkey. I have a large stainless steel sink that I removed the racks from to place the double plastic bagged bird in once I got it home from the grocery. I did not rinse the bird and carefully lifted the bird out of the bags and placed it on the prepared rack inside the roasting pan. I then basted the turkey and put it in the oven to cook. Closing the plastic bags and tossing them out kept the turkey prep simple and contained.
- Kept a stack of kitchen towels and washcloths handy for liberal use. I’ve never used so many towels and washcloths to prepare a meal! I washed down my surfaces often and just tossed the used towels or washcloths in the washing machine. I also grabbed a fresh towel often as I washed my hands and surfaces frequently. My purpose for this was to decrease any chance of cross contamination during my food preparation. Better safe than sorry is my motto. Especially for those of us on immunosuppressants.
- Testing the temperature of the cooked turkey in multiple places. I tested the temperature of the cooked turkey in 5 different places as I wanted to make sure it was completely cooked. I’ve always used an instant read thermometer, but this year I really checked the bird out. What I learned is that the temperature can vary quite a bit in different parts of the turkey, especially if it is a large one.
- Adding squash to the sweet potato casserole. This was an idea I won’t repeat. I added an acorn squash and a butternut squash to the sweet potato casserole thinking I could up the nutritional value of the dish by the variety. Plus they were from my husband’s organic garden, so I thought it would be fun to incorporate them. I didn’t like the mixed textures. It was fine to eat, but not the excellent texture of sweet potatoes only.
- Skipped the stuffing. How could I do such a crazy thing? I figured we had all the other traditional Thanksgiving foods, and plenty of them, and I wanted to avoid gluten. None of us are celiac, but I do think we may have some sensitivity, so I took it upon myself to make this very bad decision. I ended up making stuffing for the leftovers! I will try gluten-free bread crumbs for the Christmas dinner!
I’m always trying new ways of doing things in the kitchen, my medicinal kitchen! I’m always thinking of nutrition, presentation, tradition, anti-inflammation and most of all taste! I’m also very aware of food safety. These 5 takeaways from Thanksgiving dinner preparation will be put to use in a few short weeks when we celebrate Christmas.
I’d love to hear of any helpful hints you may have!
And that is using Arthritis Wisdom!
Photo credit: Jim Digritz from Unsplash