Thanksgiving is an American tradition that brings family and friends together to give thanks for all of the great things we have been blessed with throughout the year. Every year at Thanksgiving, most of us engage in an annual rite of passage: stuffing ourselves mercilessly with turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie – and let’s not forget about football.
Thanksgiving also marks the official countdown to the holiday season for most Americans that we all look forward to.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Safely cooking a turkey starts with correct defrosting. The turkey can be thawed in the refrigerator, submerged in water in leak-proof packaging or in a microwave.
- Cook the turkey immediately after thawing. Don’t slow cook or partially cook the turkey, and check the temperature with a meat thermometer.
- Leftovers need to be put away within two hours after serving the food.
- Food should be stored in shallow containers.
- Meat should be removed from the bone before being put away.
Avoid fires by following these simple rules:
- Don’t leave stove-top cooking unattended.
- When deep frying a turkey, keep the fryer outside, away from walls, fences and other structures.
- Keep the fryer away from moisture to avoid burns from steam and spattering oil.
- Use a timer and do kitchen checks when baking, broiling and roasting.
- Keep pot holders and food wrappers three feet away from the stove or other hot surfaces.
- Kids and pets should stay three feet away as well.
- Make sure the handles of pots and pans are facing inward on the stove.
- Avoid loose clothes, especially those with long sleeves, while cooking.
- Make sure all candles and smoking materials are put out after the guests leave.
Prepare your vehicle for winter weather driving conditions.
- Observe the local laws (i.e. winter tires).
- Pack an emergency road kit (flashlight, shovel, snow chains, blankets, water, food).
- Pack your cell phone and car charger.
- Buckle up and adjust your speed to road conditions.
- Fuel up, don’t fill up. Avoid overeating, especially if you plan to drive afterward. We’ve all heard of the infamous “turkey coma.”
- Eating causes your blood sugar to rise and the more you eat the higher it goes. Blood sugar levels above 200 mg/dl can make you very drowsy so don’t plan on getting behind the wheel immediately after a large meal.
- If you have a long trip home, make sure to give your food plenty of time to digest.
- Once on the road, take rest breaks at least every 2 hours. Never drive drowsy.
- Do not drink and drive. Use alternate transportation such as buses, trains, taxis or a designated driver.