Conquering The Bird

It's a quest as old as time (or at least dating back a couple hundred years) -- how to cook a big bird that has almost no flavor and try to give it some modicum of taste, while, at the same time, not drying it out and actually having it look somewhat edible on a platter. Yes, I'm talking turkey.

If you're like me, you probably only cook a turkey once a year and the pressure is on! I remember my mom cooking turkeys in a paper grocery bag, which always turned out great. But, for whatever reasons, that's not in vogue anymore. Fried, brined, roasted ... the options are many. This year, I'm going for brining, but you have to do that a day ahead.

In her Thanksgiving Dinner 101 lesson this morning, Tori Ritchie showed us a hot new secret ingredient; she also warned us about a potential gravy pitfall. And in my book, the gravy is quite a challenge! You're supposed to be able to whip it up in two seconds flat while you're mashing the potatoes and prying everyone away from football to get to the table. For me, it's the last half hour before the meal that is really stressful! And then it's gone in two seconds flat! Hence my theory of having a glass of champagne while cooking! That, and the invention of bottled gravy. No matter how bad the bird, you can always pour that stuff on top!