Dorothy Reinhold's favorite turkey day took place the year her 3-year-old son was rushed to the hospital for emergency appendix surgery just four days before Thanksgiving.
“It was the best Thanksgiving ever, not only because my son was home and on the mend, but because it stripped the holiday down to its very basics — family, gratitude and a nice dinner,” said Reinhold, who blogs about food at
Thomas Hugenberger, chef at Library Ale House in Santa Monica, blanches green vegetables the day before, then sautés them in butter with shallots on Thanksgiving. Reinhold makes her "hall of fame" cranberry sauce days in advance (find the recipe on her website by typing "hall of fame cranberry sauce" in the search box).
Save some time by skipping the brining: It's totally unnecessary, said cookbook author Elaine Corn of Sacramento. The only seasonings you need are salt and pepper, smeared inside and out. You can also opt out of flipping your bird, Hugenberger says. Just blast it breast-side-up at 500 degrees for the first 30 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees.