I spent most of the evening doing e-mail replies.
That's the big question for first time cooks.
Once you do your first turkey, you'll find you won't worry so much again.
C.I. trick, stuff the turkey and surround it. Use green apples, left over celery stocks and any onions. This is not to be stuffing. And you will take all of that out of the pan and out of the turkey before you place turkey on a platter for serving.
It will add a natural flavor and also keep the turkey from drying out.
Should you make an aluminum foil tent?
You can. If your oven has the space.
If you don't have green apples (this tip comes a little late, I know), you need chicken stock and butter. Baste at least once every half hour.
What is basting one e-mail wanted to know?
That means you put a liquid on it. Usually from the pan but I will pour a can of chicken stock on top of the chicken. I will use butter and butter substitute.
If you have never cut a turkey but someone has, let them cut it. If you have to cut it, remember that you're going down with the blade.
Cutting a turkey is like cooking one, after you've cut your first one, you'll find you'll never be nervous again.
Should you remove allt he meat from the turkey that day or leave left overs on the bird?
Remove it all. It is a pain in the ass to keep turkey on the bird in the fridge and it dries out.
Cut it all over and wrap it in foil or plastic or use tupperware containers. (I use tupperware.)
Several of you had questions about clean up.
Here are your tips.
1) buy some disposable pans.
2) or line your pan with foil -- line all around.
3) or use a glass pan and, after the bird's out, fill it 1/4 with bleach and 2/4 with water and let it stand like that. I'd let it stand four hours or so. I have left it in the sink like that overnight before. When you're ready to clean it, it will clean very easily.
Stuffing in or out of the bird?
Out if you're not sure.
Some people will not eat it in the bird. They will scream that it's a health hazard.
I cook it in the bird -- with a small dish of stuffing cooked in the oven by itself for any tag along surprises.
If you know the people and they're fine with it in the bird, I say cook it in the bird. To me, it makes the turkey tastes better and the stuffing as well.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday: