Turkey Day: À la Alton Brown

November 25, 2009 at 8:52 am , by

brown_alton_1In honor of Alton Brown’s new book, “Good Eats: The Early Years,” and the 10th anniversary of his show, we asked Alton for ten tips and little-known facts about Thanksgiving. True to his form, his factoids range from practical and historic to quirky and downright weird.

1.) The first Thanksgiving was a three-day alfresco affair—late September, early October, 1621. Hardly any of the “traditional” foods appear at the first meal, however, Turkey, Goose, Swan, Venison, Lobster, Oysters, Cod, Bass, Eels, Pumpkin, Purslane, Gooseberries, and Chestnuts all make the menu.

2.) Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor with a magazine, started a Thanksgiving campaign in 1827 and it was result of her efforts that in 1863 Thanksgiving was observed as a day for national thanks giving and prayer.

3.) Turkey was the first meal eaten on the moon.

4.) 90% of American homes serve turkey at Thanksgiving. That’s about 675 million pounds.

5.) More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.

6.) The largest turkey on record weighed 86 pounds and was raised in England.

7.) Give your frozen bird at least two days to thaw in the refrigerator and be sure its drippings are contained to avoid contamination of fresh food.

8.) On the big day designate zones for raw, cold, and cooked foods.

9.) Involve your kids –it’s the best way to keep your traditions alive and well. Little hands seem to have an easier time peeling than mine do anyway.

10.) Volunteer or Donate. As some 8 million Americans are without jobs this year, it’s especially important to share resources, be it time, money or canned goods.