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Recipes and Stories

14 November 2012: Mastering Thanksgiving Dinner I

The Perfect Roasted Turkey is not hard to accomplish. Stay with me and learn! Photography by John Carrington

For the first time in more than a decade of writing for the Savannah Morning News, my November columns will have nothing to do with Thanksgiving. My friend Teri Bell (brave woman) has decided to take on the subject in her Miss Sophie feature.

You’d think I’d be happy: Thanksgiving is every American food writer’s bane—just how much can one say about a big bird, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie without being redundant or without being so “creative” that one completely loses the point (not to mention the audience)? But, honestly, I feel a little lost. I never tire of any aspect of Thanksgiving dinner, from writing about it to cooking it to dealing with the leftovers.

But more to the point, Thanksgiving is when thousands of people who have never made so much as a turkey sandwich, let alone a whole bird, will suddenly decide to cook dinner. They worry, sometimes panic, and they need help. And they don’t need help being clever with tradition: they need basic advice. As long as there are people like that who need help, I’ll never tire of offering it.

Anyway, since I won’t have a Thanksgiving column to write, beginning tomorrow I’ll offer a whole week of advice, tips, and recipes for making your big dinner special.

It’s not too early to start planning; indeed, if you order a fresh free-range turkey from a local poultry farmer, it may be a little late to start planning. Tomorrow I’ll begin with how to plan, shop, and master every Thanksgiving cook’s best friend: the make ahead dish.

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