Heard all your friends' Thanksgiving horror stories? Find out about some of the most common calamities and learn how to avoid them.
Deep-frying your turkey may make for a juicier bird, but it can also lead to a fiery fiasco, not to mention that it is a very unhealthy way to cook anything! If you do decide to deep fry, though, make sure you take these precautions.
Thaw your turkey completely.
Make sure to cook outside, away from structures and combustibles.
Try to avoid cooking during precipitation, since water may cause the oil to spatter.
Above all, never leave the fryer unattended, and monitor the temperature closely.
With the oven cranking and all the burners simmering, a Thanksgiving kitchen fire could well be on the menu. Follow these tips to avoid your own home inferno.
Drippings in the oven can spark a flame -- make sure your pan will hold the turkey and all its drippings, and don't overfill pie crusts.
Account for all your potholders -- a missing potholder might be burning in the oven.
Think ahead and set a loud timer.
Watch out for the oven's self-clean setting, which will burn anything to a crisp.
Don't put glassware from the refrigerator directly onto heat -- it might shatter due to the abrupt change in temperature.
Raw poultry is a germ playground. Protect your family from harmful bacteria this holiday season.
Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator or in cold water -- not at room temperature. Make sure to thaw it on a tray so it doesn't drip onto other food.
Wooden cutting boards can soak up bacteria, so use a plastic board if you have one.
Stuff your turkey immediately before roasting.
It's safest to use a meat thermometer to ensure the bird cooks to a high enough temperature to kill bacteria.
Store leftovers separately from each other -- not everything in one big bowl.
Wash, wash, wash! Clean your hands thoroughly and often, as well as all utensils and cutting surfaces that have been in contact with your bird.
Every year it seems at least one item on the menu is forgotten or forsaken. Take steps to ensure that when your family and friends arrive, your table is covered.
Make a list of what you need to buy and a schedule for preparing each dish. Make some things, like desserts, ahead of time so they don't slip through the cracks.
Delegate tasks so that everyone in the family shares the responsibility.
Calculate how big a turkey you need based on the number of guests -- about a pound per person should do for moderate leftovers.
Figure out how long it will take for the bird to thaw (immerse it in cold water if you're running late) and cook (you may have to set your alarm to have it ready in time)!
Don't leave pets and food together unattended -- it's just asking for trouble.
Carving, slicing, and dicing -- sounds dangerous! Practice knife safety this year so that you don't add your own flavor to the meal.
When you're carving the turkey or doing any slicing and dicing, use a sharp knife -- a dull blade may slip and cut you.
Cut with the blade facing away from you.
You can put a damp towel under the cutting board so it won't slide.
It's best to let a dropped knife fall, picking it up only after it comes to rest.
Only one person should be near the cutting surface at a time.
Giblets can be tasty, but the plastic bag they often come in certainly is not!
Don't forget to take that bag out of the turkey's body cavity before cooking!
Don't automatically trash the giblets -- if you puree them they make a great addition to gravy.
Family is a beautiful thing, but sometimes family gatherings can be stressful situations. Take some steps to keep the peace this year.
Meet on neutral ground (restaurant, anyone?) if you're concerned about a dispute over location.
Delegate -- if everyone helps, you'll all be busy and there will be less confusion and fewer arguments.
Use place cards -- don't put Aunt Agatha and Uncle Lester next to each other if they're likely to argue.
A gathering centered around eating all day can be a recipe for any number of mealtime mishaps. Here are some tips for disaster-free dining.
The considerate hostess will do an allergy check before planning her dishes. If someone has a serious allergy to a particular food, it's best not to use that ingredient in any dish -- a hospital run is never a welcome holiday outing.
Try to be aware of any vegetarian guests and make sure they'll have options.
It wouldn't hurt to brush up on the Heimlich Maneuver. With lots of talking, eating, and laughing comes the possibility of choking.
The carbohydrate- and fat-rich meal has been known to cause the drowsy condition, "food coma." It sounds serious, but don't worry, it's nothing that a nice nap or strong cup of coffee can't fix.
A houseful of kids can mean chaos and fighting, unless you keep them occupied. Get them involved with activities and printables to keep them happy and entertained.