Spending time with loved ones and celebrating all the things we’re thankful for is what Thanksgiving is all about. Of course, a delicious feast is something we’ve all grown accustomed to – and something we eagerly anticipate.
It’s believed that the first Thanksgiving, held in 1621, saw the Pilgrims and Indians feasting on seafood, fowl and deer, along with fruits and vegetables. That first celebration, in honor of a successful fall harvest, wasn’t the beginning of what we know as the annual holiday, though.
In 1789, President George Washington proclaimed Thursday November 26 the first national day of Thanksgiving, calling it “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.”
Even after Washington’s declaration, however, Thanksgiving still didn’t become an annual holiday.
In fact, it was some 74 years later, in October 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November a day of “thanksgiving and praise,” that Thanksgiving officially became a national holiday.
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, we’ve put together a simple menu – though a bit different from the first feast – that’s sure to please everyone.
What size turkey do I need to feed my family?
To ensure everyone gets full, and that you have plenty of leftovers, plan on 1-1/2 pounds per person.
How do you thaw a turkey?
One way is to place the unopened turkey, breast side up, on a large tray, and put it in the refrigerator. Allow one day of thawing per 4 pounds.
Another way is to place the unopened turkey, breast side down, in a large pan, and cover it with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes so the turkey remains cold. This method takes about 30 minutes of thawing per pound.
No matter which thawing method you use, once your turkey is thawed, it can be kept in the refrigerator up to four days before cooking.
How long do you cook a turkey?
Cooking times will vary depending on your oven and the size of your bird. A good rule of thumb is to plan on 13 to 15 minutes per pound. However, you should always check for doneness with a meat thermometer to be sure your bird is fully cooked.
How do I know when the turkey is done?
Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Thighs should be 180 F, and the breast needs to be 165 F. Since the turkey will continue to cook once you take it out of the oven, remove it when the internal temperatures are 5 degrees less than done.