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An Armchair Guide to How to Cook a Turkey

As I mentioned before, I’m not cooking this Thanksgiving. Though I get the day off, that doesn’t mean I get to relax completely. In the last week I’ve made two new recipes—one a faithful rendition of Marcella Hazan’s Red Clam Sauce and the other a seat-of-the-pants attempt to recreate the kale, pine nut, and parmesan salad I had the other day at Prune.

The clam sauce brought up strange memories, and the kale salad inspired Santa Maria to such a degree that she declared she could fly. I’ll give full details on these dishes soon. In the meantime, though, I’ll try to answer the question everyone seems to be asking me: how do you cook a turkey?  

I have no practical knowledge of such matters, but a lack of experience has never deterred me in the past (I am a parent, after all), and I’ll provide three suggestions.



  • My favorite recent article about Thanksgiving turkeys ran a few days ago in the New York Times. Ariel Kaminer went to a Halal slaughterhouse in Queens and slit the throat of a Bourbon Red Turkey, which she then took home to cook. Hart Perry, the farmer who bred the bird, suggested doing nothing more than putting it in the oven with a bit of salt and pepper. “Against the advice of two chefs, I did as he said,” Kaminer wrote, “setting the oven to 350 degrees; it was the most flavorful turkey I had ever had.”
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