The leaves on the trees are turning beautiful shades of gold and crimson, vegetable stands are bursting with pumpkins, gourds, and squash, and corn shocks are decorating farmhouse doors. There’s no doubt about it – fall is here, and with it comes anticipation of the holidays and our family favorite, Thanksgiving turkey dinner.
And if you’re like me, you’re already planning the menus for all the fabulous family get-togethers in the coming months! As much as I’d like to dive right into Christmas cookies (a well-known weakness of mine), I am happy to contemplate Thanksgiving dinner for the next 6 weeks or so.
Where to start? With the turkey of course.
As a kid I remember accompanying my mother on Thanksgiving shopping trips of huge proportions – our cart would be piled high with bags of stuffing, jars of exotic pickles and olives for the relish tray, both fresh and jellied cranberries, at least ten pounds of potatoes, and a turkey the size of my little sister.
Of course back then, there was only one kind of turkey – frozen, wrapped in plastic and covered with yellow netting, from the supermarket. Complete with flimsy strings that were supposed to help lift the turkey from its roasting pan, and a pamphlet about thawing times, it was the only turkey in town.
Now we have options. So many options! Thanksgiving turkeys can be organic, free range, heritage, kosher, pre-basted, stuffed or unstuffed, deep-fried, brined or un-brined, roasted, smoked, barbecued . . .or made completely from tofu.
For more information on the best supermarket Thanksgiving turkey choices, you’ll want to check out Epicurious’s Thanksgiving Turkey Taste Test featuring six popular supermarket brands of whole turkey (Bell & Evans, Eberly, Murray’s , Plainville Farms, L’il Butterball, and Empire Kosher).
If you’re looking for new Thanksgiving dinner inspiration this year, Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving Menu Planner lets you select the size of your party, the time you have to cook and the type of meal you want to serve (traditional, fresh & light, global, etc.) and it provides menus and shopping lists! We also like The Food Channel’s Thanksgiving Recipes for easy to find and reliable recipes.
My toughest choice used to be whether to have pumpkin or rum cream pie for dessert. Now we have a wonderful new array of new ingredients and great recipes to choose from!
What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes? Have you started planning too? Do you look forward to trying a new recipe this year, or do you prefer family favorites?
Happy Thanksgiving Planning!
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