Gutbusters

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Three thousand.

That's how many calories the average Thanksgiving meal contains.

To burn off 3000 calories, the average person would have to jog for nearly four hours.

Four hours of jogging in exchange for one meal? The math doesn't add up to an enjoyable holiday.

But relax. There's a way to plan ahead and cut down on calories.

Here's a sample menu of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Select the dishes of your choice and see how the calories add up. When Turkey Day rolls around, keep in mind the recommended serving sizes and make good choices -- for example, drinking tea instead of soda can eliminate 118 calories. Having a slice of pumpkin pie instead of pecan could save 58 calories. Between that choice and drinking tea instead of soda, you've saved the amount of calories typically burned in a 30-minute aerobic workout.

Turkey

Calories: 1,361 Serving size: 1,134 grams

Grains

Stuffing

Calories: 50 Serving Size: 1 ounce

Brown-n-serve dinner rolls

Calories: 258 Serving Size: 1 roll

Desserts

Cranberry relish

Calories: 490 Serving Size: 1 cup

Pumpkin Pie

Calories: 58 Serving Size: 1 ounce

Pecan Pie

Calories: 116 Serving Size: 1 ounce

Vegetables

Green beans

Calories: 18 Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Mashed potatoes

Calories: 174 Serving size: 1 cup

Sweet potatoes

Calories: 151 Serving Size: 105 grams

Beverages

Coca-Cola

Calories: 123 Serving Size: 12 cup

Iced Tea

Calories: 5 Serving Size: 12 ounces

Apple Cider

Calories: 2 Serving Size: 1 cup


How to carve a turkey

1. TO REMOVE LEG (thigh or second joint and drumstick). Hold the drumstick firmly with fingers, pulling gently away from turkey body. At the same time cut through skin between leg and body. Continue as follows:

2. PRESS LEG AWAY FROM BODY WITH FLAT SIDE OF KNIFE. Then cut through joint joining leg to backbone and skin on the back. If the "oyster", a choice oyster-shaped piece lying in the spoon-shaped section of the backbone, was not removed with the thigh, remove it at this point. Hold leg on service plate with drumstick at a convenient angle to plate. Separate drumstick and thigh by cutting down through the joint to the plate.

3. SLICE DRUMSTICK MEAT. Hold drumstick upright at a convenient angle to plate and cut down, turning drumstick to get uniform slices. Chicken drumsticks and thighs are usually served without slicing.

4. SLICE THIGH MEAT. Hold thigh firmly on plate with a fork. Cut slices of meat parallel to the bone.

5. CUT INTO WHITE MEAT PARALLEL TO WING. Make a cut deep into the breast to the body frame parallel to and as close to the wing as possible.

6. SLICE WHITE MEAT. Beginning at front, starting halfway up the breast, cut thin slices of white meat down to the cut made parallel to the wing. The slices will fall away from the turkey as they are cut to this line. Continue carving until enough meat has been carved for first servings. Additional turkey may be carved as needed.

Remove individual servings of stuffing from an opening cut into side of the turkey where leg has been removed.

-- www.cooks.com

Talking turkey: help for holiday cooking

Toll-free telephone services and Web sites offer a variety of specialist answers to cooking and food-safety questions during holiday preparation times.

Here are some of them:

* U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline: (888) 674-6854 or (888) MPHotline. Food safety specialists answer calls about meat and poultry preparation and cooking questions.

* Butterball Turkey Talk-Line: (800) 288-8372 or (800) BUTTERBALL. Home economists and nutritionists answer holiday cooks' questions, in both English and Spanish, for callers in the United States and Canada.

* Foster Farms Turkey Helpline: (800) 255-7227. Turkey-cooking questions are answered and information given by live operators 24 hours a day Nov. 16 through Nov. 28 (including Thanksgiving Day).

* Shady Brook Farms: (888) 723-4468.

* Honeysuckle White: (800) 810-6325.

Automated holiday-meal information lines offer 24-hour service every day throughout the holidays, including meal planning, buying and cooking turkeys.

* Empire Kosher poultry customer hotline: (800) 367-4734, or (717) 436-5921. Help is offered by consumer-affairs representatives year-round Monday through Thursday.

* Ocean Spray consumer help line: (800) 662-3263. Consumer department staff field questions on cranberries, offer recipes, cooking tips, nutritional information, menu-planning worksheets, product information.

* Reynolds Turkey Tips Hotline (800) 745-4000. A year-round 24-hour automated hot line; through Dec. 31 offers advice on turkey defrosting, preparation and cooking options, free brochure and recipes.

-- The Associated Press

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