November 24, 2014

Holiday Hazards: Thanksgiving Edition

Avoid these holiday hazards so you can have a delicious and mishap-free Thanksgiving.There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re cooking an elaborate meal for all your loved ones. We’ve rounded up some holiday hazards and ways to prevent them from happening to you.

Animal intervention
We’ve all heard stories of a friend’s cat that hopped on the table in the middle of a meal or the dogs that ate the turkey while it was thawing. To prevent these animal interventions, make sure to cordon off an area for your pets while cooking and eating your Thanksgiving meal. Put your animals in their crates or in a room with the door closed so they are not in the way in the kitchen or sneaking bites from the kids’ table. It’s safer for them and for you, plus you won’t have to worry about Fifi stealing the drumsticks.

Test your oven
While your oven has been faithfully baking cookies and roasting vegetables in the weeks and months before the big day, there is still a possibility that it will go out right as you’re loading it up with turkey and all the fixings. Be sure to preheat the oven and check that it is working properly before putting anything in it to bake. You don’t want to waste several hours thinking that your turkey is on its way to golden brown perfection only to find out it’s not even lukewarm. If you are having trouble, be sure to check the pilot light. Winter winds and constant door opening and closing with the arrival of guests may blow your pilot light out. Carefully light it and you should be back in business.

Cook it ’til it’s done
Food poisoning is awful. Don’t be responsible for giving your guests this unfortunate illness. Make sure to thoroughly cook any meat, from the bacon in your roasted Brussels sprouts dish to the turkey gizzards you saved for Aunt Mae. Always use a meat thermometer to check that you have cooked your food to the perfect temperature. Use a pop-up timer for easy viewing in a crowded oven and always set a timer to be sure that you check your dishes’ progress as they are cooking. It’s helpful to write down the times that you put each dish in the oven so you don’t forget or mix up cooking times.

With the knowledge and experience you have gained while studying at Austin culinary arts school you may be asked to cook the majority of your family’s Thanksgiving meal. It’s an exciting time to use your skills and show them what you’re made of. Just be sure to stay calm and plan ahead and your dinner will be a hit.