Good morning There’s only one thing you really need to know when Thanksgiving begins, and it’s whether you’re cooking or taking a seat, whether you’re a guest or host, whether you’re working a shift or stuck in an airport. It is this: everything will be fine.
Everything will be fine because you will repeat this phrase like a mantra until it becomes fact, until it turns into bad weather gear to protect you from any bad weather that comes your way. Kitchen disasters, rude relatives, lost relatives, late guests, failed cakes, burnt mashed potatoes, not enough wine – all fine. These things happen.
Allow them to happen. Practice radical empathy for others and for yourself today. And don’t worry about anything.
Fact: Your turkey is ready when its internal temperature, measured at the lowest part of the thigh, is 165 degrees. I take mine out of the oven at 160 or 162 knowing the temperature will continue to rise as the bird rests on my counter under its nimble foil cap. But I’ve also seen numbers closer to 180 over the years and (see the advice above) tempered my stress about it. Carved and moistened with broth, then served with plenty of gravy, an overcooked bird can still make a wonderful meal.
(Don’t panic if you don’t have a thermometer. Use a fork or paring knife to pierce the skin of the thigh. If the juices run clear, you’re fine. If the legs are loose in their joints, you’re you Well.)
Tip: Before carving, give your bird at least 20 minutes to rest so it can calm down. Plan on at least 20 minutes although I’ve walked up to an hour with no ill effects.
Opinion: If you’re looking for help cooking today, take advantage of resources at New York Times Cooking, including our Thanksgiving FAQ, our best recipes for the holiday, and our best last-minute recipes. We also have instructions to help you roast and carve the turkey, and to prepare the gravy, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, pie crust, potatoes and stuffing.
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