A Very Happy Thanksgiving

A Very Happy Thanksgiving
Terry Odell

Thanksgiving turkey
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Last year, most of us weren’t ready to get out and mingle, especially if it entailed long-distance travel. That was the case at our house, although it was short-distance travel for most of the immediate family. This year, we’re fortunate and thankful that our Northern Ireland-based daughter is able to be with us, and that we can gather round the table, not the computer screen.

In our household, most of the traditions revolve around the food. One year, over 40 years ago, I came across an interesting recipe for stuffing (now dressing, thanks to health concerns.) The kids loved it and insist that it can NOT be varied. I shared the recipe on my own blog last week. You can find it here.

Here’s a turkey tip from my chef brother that’s served us well for decades. No matter your “recipe” for the bird (unless you deep fry), start the cooking at 450 degrees (or 425 if it’s 16 pounds or more). After 30 minutes, lower the temp to 350 (or 325). Continue to cycle the temp up and down like that every 30 minutes. This moves the juices up and down inside the turkey, and even the leftovers are juicy.

Here’s a little fun.

Another tradition of ours is listening to “Alice’s Restaurant.”

And here’s an interesting article – Arlo Guthrie’s thoughts on the 50 year anniversary tour of Alice’s Restaurant.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Any you wish would disappear?

I know I speak for everyone here at TKZ when I say “Happy Thanksgiving.”


In the Crosshairs by Terry OdellNow available for pre-order. In the Crosshairs, Book 4 in my Triple-D Romantic Suspense series.

Changing Your Life Won’t Make Things Easier
There’s more to ranch life than minding cattle. After his stint as an army Ranger, Frank Wembly loves the peaceful life as a cowboy. Financial advisor Kiera O’Leary sets off to pursue her dream of being a photographer until a car-meets-cow incident forces a shift in plans. Instead, she finds herself in the middle of a mystery, one with potentially deadly consequences.


Terry Odell is an award-winning author of Mystery and Romantic Suspense, although she prefers to think of them all as “Mysteries with Relationships.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

26 thoughts on “A Very Happy Thanksgiving

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Terry! Thanks for sharing your brother’s recipe. So much talent in one family!

    My Thanksgiving tradition is making dinner for my ungrateful and unappreciative family. Seriously, they thank me for weeks afterward. The only tradition I want to get rid of is setting fire to the kitchen. It only happened once — Thanksgiving 1994 — but the few neighbors I currently have who were around back then STILL say “Hey Joe, you gonna set fire to your kitchen this year?” I cheerfully respond, “Ba Fungu!”

    Happy Thanksgiving to all who visit TKZ!

  2. Thank you for the turkey instructions – will definitely try that this year.

    I love Thanksgiving. Every year we’re all around the table is a good one.

    We all like different desserts so I bake a pecan pie for me, pumpkin for my husband, brownies for our pie-hating son, and daughter, who is allergic to almost everything, brings her own.

    There are only 4 of us now (we used to have 40 or so when most of the relatives lived in town) but I still cook as though we’re all here. Everyone goes home with enough that no one has to cook at least for a couple of days.

    Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

    • Thanks, Cynthia. I can’t imagine such a huge gathering. Well, maybe one half that size, but Passover, never Thanksgiving.
      Even though we’re a small group, everyone pitches in with a dish or two. This year, I’m hosting, so I’m doing the turkey and dressing, plus two kinds of cranberry dishes–trying a new one this year. One of my daughters will bring the canned jelly, which she requires.
      Something everyone brings: their own containers for leftovers.

  3. I’m a fan of cooking the turkey upside down.

    After the meal, it’s a tradish in the Bell fam to watch a Christmas movie. Faves are A Christmas Carol (1951); Miracle on 34th Street (1947); Elf; Home Alone; Die Hard; It’s a Wonderful Life; A Christmas Story…among others!

    • I’ve seen that upside-down technique. But, as my brother said, “If it ain’t broke..” so I’ve never ventured beyond his method.
      I’m with you on Die Hard.

  4. Great post, Terry. I enjoyed the music, and will pass along your “stuffing” recipe to my wife.

    We don’t have any unusual traditions for Thanksgiving. We get together at our house. My wife does most of the cooking. We send home food with everyone, but still end up with enough for a week of left-overs.

    Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks, Steve. You, too.
      Isn’t that the whole reason for cooking the traditional dinner? Leftovers. I’ve ordered a turkey that will feed everyone twice–as it should.

  5. Oh my, Terry, I haven’t heard Alice’s Restaurant in years. Thanks for a fun trip back to the Sixties. I’d totally forgotten Officer Obie. Yet in a couple of my books, there is a recurring character…Deputy Obie. The name must have stuck in my subconscious from way back when.

    Confession time: until a week ago, I didn’t know the difference between stuffing (cooked inside the bird) and dressing (cooked separately). Still learning something new every day. Your DRESSING recipe sounds yummy.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  6. Happy Thanksgiving, Terry! Thanks for sharing your brother’s recipe. Last year, it was just my wife and I for Thanksgiving, but this year, we’ll be gathering again at her brother’s house and we are so very looking forward to it. She’s making her mother’s wild rice and sausage stuffing, a family favorite. Her brother will do the turkey, and we’ll have lots of other side dishes, including one of my favorite categories, pie 🙂

    Have a wonderful day!

  7. Awesome turkey tip, Terry! Thank you. I’ll try it tomorrow.

    Since we host Christmas Eve, we celebrate Thanksgiving with just the two of us. And we like it that way. 🙂 We have a blast watching football, eating a full-course meal, decorating for Christmas, and just spending time together before the 90mph Christmas rush.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • When it’s just the two of us, we go out. There’s a place not far away that does a great Thanksgiving. Then I go out the next day and buy a turkey on sale, cook it, and have leftovers, soup fixings, and there’s no pressure.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving, Terry.

    One favorite dish my mother made at Thanksgiving and Christmas was cornbread dressing. I watched her make it many times, and I have her recipe, but I have never gotten that perfect consistency. I keep trying, though. One of these days …

    Nowadays, my husband and I travel to Austin to be with our son over Thanksgiving, and we almost always eat out. We’ve developed some new food traditions, including Sticky Toffee Pudding. Yum.

    • I’ve never been able to replicate my grandmother’s dishes. She eyeballed everything, and even when I made her measure, I couldn’t get the blintzes the same.
      I did corn bread stuffing once–baked the cornbread and everything. But up where I live, baking is too much of a challenge, so I use my tried and true package-based recipe.

  9. I’m one of those rare people who don’t like turkey so we’re having rotisserie chicken with dressing, green bean and sweet potato casseroles. Maybe another side dish. There’ll probably only be 3 of us and the sweet potato casserole will serve for dessert.

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