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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Countdown To Thanksgiving

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Roast turkey will grace many holiday tables tomorrow.
Welcome to iberkshires.com Countdown To Thanksgiving, a daily feature launched Nov. 13. Each day until and including Thanksgiving Day [Nov. 23], iberkshires will highlight a Berkshire/Southern Vermont region individual and a specific review of the things that generate thanks. At the end of each interview will be a "family-style" Thanksgiving dinner recipe. Here's to the holiday that is very much America's own!

Pownal, Vt. - Thanksgiving Day is based in a simple concept: the holiday is a time to acknowledge the good in our lives. There are no overt religious connections to the day; any person of any religion can fully participate with the giving of thanks.

Generosity Of Spirit

What is required is a generosity of spirit, an ability to recognize that while negatives impact each and every one of us, the positives we experience, even if they seem meager, are worth a nod and a smile.

Families who have experienced the loss of a loved one may find that they are thankful to the friends who offered support during trying times. Finding sources of gratitude may be challenging during trying times such as job loss, family estrangement, during trials of the human spirit.

Human Trial, Human Triumph

For folks facing tough situations, please try to remember that it is very often human trial that leads to human triumph.

If you are among those who have had the proverbial "very good year," show your thanks through kindness and sharing. Take a long hard look at your bounty and decide if you can share your blessings with a neighbor, a relative, the community.

Agencies such as Berkshire Community Action and the Berkshire Food Project are always appreciative of cash contributions or food donations. There are numerous regional intiatives that rely on volunteers; find a group you support and save your money by spending your time.

Come On In

It's not too late to add a guest to the holiday table; if you know that your neighbor has no holiday plans and may spend the day alone, open your door and say "come one in." Share stories and memories, make the day special for someone who might just be hungering for some company and a big piece of pumpkin pie.

Be thankful for family, be thankful for friends, be thankful for the food served on the "good" holiday plates, for Grandma's cooking and Grandpa's old jokes, the antics of restless toddlers, the teasing of siblings.

Remember that every day is truly a chance for a new beginning, that each dawn does represent the first day of the rest of your life and you may plot a new course with the rising sun.

Every day is a new opportunity, a chance to bring about change, and for that, everyone can give thanks.

Roast Turkey

[unstuffed]

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Check turkey weight to determine proper roasting time [see chart below].

Remove the giblet bag and neck from turkey cavity. Wash turkey inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.

Place turkey breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer in thick part of turkey thigh. Add 1/2 cup of water to pan.

Cover turkey with a "tent" of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Roast turkey until meat thermometer shows a temperature of a minimum of 165 degrees.

Foil may be removed after first hour or 90 minutes and skin may be brushed with vegetable oil, butter, honey, or a glaze of cook's choice to enhance browning.

Allow turkey to set for about 20 minutes before carving.

"Stuffed" turkeys may take longer to reach the appropriate temperature. It is important to stuff the turkey loosely and avoid packing stuffing tightly into the bird, according to USDA cooking guidelines.

Turkey Roasting Timetable At 325 Degrees Fahrenheit

[Times are approximate, a meat thermometer inserted in the turkey thigh at start of roasting is the best method for measuring when turkey is thoroughly cooked]

Unstuffed

8-12 pounds 2 3/4 to 3 hours

12-14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours

14-18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/2 hours

18-20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours

20-24 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hours

Stuffed

8-12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours

12-14 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 hours

14-18 pounds 4 to 4 1/2 hours

18-20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 pounds

20-24 pounds 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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