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The Thanksgiving holiday means different things to people who celebrate it. As it usually provides a four day weekend, for a lot of people it is a holiday that is highly anticipated as a small vacation from work or school. This has thrilled children for years to know that they not only get a huge meal with all the family members but they also get four days of cartoons, sleeping late, and playing. So it is easy to see why the children enjoy this special holiday.
For many older people, this is a holiday of simply being grateful and giving thanks for what they have received during the year. This is the true meaning of Thanksgiving especially when the current year has been better than ones past.
This site is dedicated to bringing you ideas old and new to make this thanksgiving the best one ever. From food to games, cooking tips to holiday activities, and sports to gifts, Thanksgiving aims to make this year special.
The Best Turkey Gravy
I promised a turkey a day, but I have had a lot of questions about gravy in my classes. I understand the dilemma, as the way that most of us were taught to make gravy almost ensures lumps. My grandma simply stirred (she didn't have a whisk to smooth out lumps) flour flour into the fatty pan drippings to make a paste, and then added giblet stock. If you think of gravy as a sauce, made with a roux of turkey fat and flour with stock (and the degreased drippings), you'll have success. Want to learn more?
There are a lot of ways to make gravy--thickening with a slurry of flour and water paste or cornstarch, starting the gravy in a saucepan, or making directly in the roasting pan. Here's my detailed version of the most delicious, grease-free, lump-less, dark mahogany brown gravy in the world.
•Treat gravy as a classic French roux-based sauce, which has exact proportions of fat, flour, and liquid. Many cooks just stir enough flour into the pan drippings to make a paste and add broth to make gravy. The problem here is that one never knows how much fat will be released during roasting, and if the proportions are off, the paste gets lumpy or greasy. And in the flour-water paste method, where the paste is whisked into the simmering drippings, the flour does not combine properly with the fat, so the gravy still turns out greasy. My recipe uses a measured amount of the fat skimmed from the drippings and turkey stock to give rich turkey flavor. I prefer a flour-based gravy to a cornstarch-thickened one, as the latter turns out glossy rather than opaque, and is more a sauce than a gravy.
•Homemade turkey stock makes the best gravy. You want brown, not pale beige, gravy that tastes like turkey, and stock’s color and depth of flavor help achieve this. If you don’t want to make the full large-batch recipe, at least make the small-batch version with the neck and giblets (without the liver). Some upscale butchers make turkey stock during the holiday season, and that is another alternative. Canned turkey broth is another option, as long as you simmer the neck and giblets in the canned broth for an hour or so. Plain canned chicken broth will only do if you are under the direst time restrictions. I know that may sound a bit heavy-handed, but after making countless batches of gravy, I am not talking through my hat. •The proportions for gravy are 1 1/2 tablespoon each fat and all-purpose flour to each cup of liquid, part of which should be the pan drippings. Use these proportions for any size turkey and any amount of gravy. For example, to yield slightly less than 4 cups of gravy (some of the liquid will evaporate during simmering), use 6 tablespoons each fat and flour, and 4 cups of liquid. If you family likes thicker gravy, increase the fat and flour to 2 tablespoons--you can always thin it down with more stock. •The secret to dark, rich gravy? Dark, rich pan drippings. Let the drippings evaporate into a dark brown glaze during roasting, but don’t let them burn. Whenever the pan looks dry, moisten the drippings with more turkey stock, wine, or water so they don’t scorch. The darker and heavier your roasting pan, the darker and richer the drippings. Aluminum foil roasters make wimpy drippings. . •Always degrease the drippings and stock before making gravy, reserving the skimmed fat. Pour the pan drippings into large glass bowl or gravy separator. Gravy separators are great, but they are not all created equal. Be sure to use a large 1-quart model, as the smaller 2-cup ones are really for chicken, not the copious amounts of drippings that a huge turkey can produce. The separator should have a wide spout--some of them have narrow spouts clog so easily they are more of a nuisance than a help. Models with perforated tops to strain the drippings as they enter the cup are well worth looking for. OXO is my favorite brand. •Let the drippings stand for 5 minutes so the clear yellow fat can rise to the top of the drippings. If the fat is in a bowl, use a large spoon to skim off the fat and transfer to a 1- to 2-cup liquid measuring cup. If using a gravy separator, pour off the drippings into another bowl or a 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Now measure the degreased drippings. If you don’t have enough fat to make the amount of gravy needed, add melted butter. •The degreased drippings add color and flavor to the gravy. Combine them with the turkey stock or chicken broth to get the desired amount of liquid. You’ll never resort to commercial gravy coloring again. If they aren't dark enough, boil over high heat to reduce the volume and deepen the color. •Use a whisk to avoid lumpy gravy. A flat, paddle-shaped "roux" whisk works better than a balloon whisk to reach into the corners of the pan. If you have a nonstick roasting pan, use a heatproof plastic whisk, available at kitchenware stores. My flat, plastic whisk has become an indispensable tool. •Allow 1/3 cup gravy per person, more if you want leftovers for sandwiches.
In the United States: Thanksgiving is observed on the every fourth Thursday of November. The holiday is celebrated in remembrance of the pilgrims and in order to give thanks.
Thursday, November 27th
The Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of the month (the reason for the earlier date in October is their earlier harvest occurring farther to the north).
The Canadian holiday comes from different traditions although it is now meant to convey thanks for their harvest.
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