Turkey University

Wake up and smell the giblets! Thanksgiving is just eight days away!

Today's Food section is a great place to get inspired and spring into action. It's bursting at the seams with 15 recipes, for starters.

Thanksgiving feast, as featured in today's Food section. (Renee Comet/FTWP)

First order of business is to make turkey arrangements, if a bird is part of your plans. The Washington area is stuffed with places to buy a locally raised turkey, a few of which were included in a blind turkey taste test, an eating adventure I was fortunate to be a part of.

The local angle doesn't have to stop with the turkey, by the way. A long growing season and an ever-evolving community of places to shop for local food makes a 100-Mile Thanksgiving an accessible, easy affair to pull off.

Confused by all the verbiage used to describe the way a turkey has been raised? Consult this list of
turkey terms to help you navigate the many choices now available.

I'm often asked about my favorite way to cook a turkey, and after several years, brining remains my go-to method. Regardless of how you do your bird, there are a few turkey tools that have proven invaluable every Thanksgiving. Do not fear, nothing fancy or expensive is required.

So, you're all set, ready to pop that bird into the oven. Come on, don't get nervous! Have a look at this guide to cooking times, depending on the kind of bird, plus 10 Things You Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask About Cooking a Turkey.

Just when you think you've got it all covered, don't forget, that turkey is not gonna carve itself. Post Food editor Joe Yonan and I learned firsthand how to carve a turkey (video link) from Bryan Voltaggio, executive chef at Charlie Palmer Steak. I have a few new carving tricks up my sleeve, I'm pleased to report.

Are you so prepared that you've got an extra hour or two to help others? Food and Friends, the Washington-based nonprofit that prepares and delivers meals to people who are homebound with HIV and other chronic conditions, has a few volunteer opportunities up for grabs. During the Thanksgiving blitz, when it delivers holiday dinner to 3,500, F&F is in need of folks with cars to assist with delivery as well as donate pies. I am making plans to whip up a batch and make a few more pumpkin pies than I did last year.

Still need help? Get your questions ready for today at 1 p.m. when the Food section fields questions and comments, and tomorrow at 1 p.m., I'm hosting my sixth annual Thansgiving chat-arama.

Vegetarians, don't fret: I've working on a meatless Thanksgiving post, for tomorrow's blog.

By Kim ODonnel |  November 15, 2006; 10:13 AM ET Thanksgiving
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