The unique American holiday, Thanksgiving, brings everyone together—it’s no coincidence it’s the biggest travel day of the year in the United States. People gather for a number of reasons beyond thankfulness-- reconnecting with family and friends, to watch and play football, to relax for a day and get ready for the Christmas holidays, and for a lot of people, to celebrate our lucky abundance by eating a feast.
So many Americans refer to Thanksgiving as “Turkey Day”, since the turkey is traditionally the centerpiece of that big feast. Weeks before the holiday arrives, fliers for turkey sales are everywhere; recipes pop up in your email inbox; cooking shows run hour-long specials the turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and news outlets start talking about turkey shortages. There are so many decisions to make when choosing a turkey. Do you buy a frozen or fresh bird? Do you choose a heritage breed or factory-raised? Do you buy a breast or do you need a whole turkey? How many pounds to feed everyone? You need to get answers for all of those questions before you even get to the cooking. The cooking raises an even larger round of questions, and if you’re like me, a round of obsessive research. Cooking poultry requires smart handling. Not only do you want your bird to be delicious, you want it to be contamination- and germ-free.