Busting Thanksgiving Myths

It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means you need to get your butt in gear. There are rolls to be buttered, turkeys to cook, pies to bake, and so much more! Before you begin your Thanksgiving dinner operation, learn what is true and what is false when it comes to some common Thanksgiving myths. So grab an apron, and let’s get started!

Turkey makes you sleepy.

Man napping on couch.


You’ve probably heard someone tell you how a certain hard-to-pronounce T-word is in turkey and that it will make you sleepy. This T-word is an amino acid called tryptophan (trip-toe-fan). Turkey does contain tryptophan, but there isn’t enough of it to make you pass out. Also, when eating turkey with other foods, the absorption of tryptophan is reduced.
The next time Uncle Steve is blaming the innocent turkey for his mid-day snoozefest, tell him about this little myth. Drowsiness is more likely due to alcohol consumption and large meals high in carbs than the poor (but delicious) turkey.

Fresh cranberry sauce is better than canned cranberry sauce.

Bowl of cranberry sauce.


Let us explain. You may prefer the taste of one to the other, but as far as health goes, fresh cranberry sauce is much better for you. The benefits of its antioxidant properties include protection against urinary tract infections, reduction of heartburn, and the control of oxidative stress in the digestive tract. That’s a lot of good stuff!
The problem with canned cranberry sauce is that it’s a processed version, which means most health benefits as useful. To get the most antioxidant power from cranberries, eat them fresh and whole. Making cranberry sauce is easier than you might think!

Cooking stuffing in a turkey is perfectly safe.

Fully trimmed Thanksgiving turkey.


Just because it’s called stuffing, it doesn’t mean you have to cook it stuffed in a turkey. While you may not always get sick from preparing dressing this way, you might be increasing your risk for food poisoning. The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 165 °F when cooking this delicious treat inside the bird.
That last thing you need is an infamous Thanksgiving dinner hosted by you, which caused everyone to get sick (your mother-in-law will never let you live that one down). For optimum safety and even cooking, cook your stuffing outside of the bird.

There is a way to decrease stress when grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Vector image of customers waiting to check out.


Do yourself (and your sanity) a favor by splitting your grocery shopping into two strategic trips. The first trip can be made a full week before Thanksgiving, which is before the supermarkets get holiday crowded. During this trip, get nonperishables, such as canned food, flour, sugar, spices, paper goods, and so forth.
Then make a second, but smaller and easier, trip the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. This will make things much less stressful.

There isn’t a way to revive a dry turkey. 

Woman removing burnt turkey from the oven.


Don’t condemn a dry turkey just yet! One of the best things you can do while cooking the day of Thanksgiving is having turkey or chicken stock on the back burner. Along with reviving overcooked turkey, you can also use it to loosen up gravy and moisten side dishes.

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