Be Thankful For Family (and Family Meals!)

Melinda Hill, OSU/Wayne Extension Family and Consumer Sciences educator joins us again today with reflections on giving thanks, the importance of family and family meals, and how all those things work together. (Plus a few more great Turkey Day tips.) She shared the basis of her column in the November 21,2012 Wooster Daily Record for this article.

It is Thanksgiving… what are you thankful for? During the past month I’ve had the opportunity to talk with many and ask this question.   While we all have difficulties that we may be faced with, ultimately there are many things in life to be grateful for. I hope that you can focus on the positive things in life and enjoy the holiday with your family and friends.

What’s on your table? This week’s meal may look a little different than what’s usually on the table at mealtime, but this question was raised at a committee meeting I was at. The evidence is overwhelming concerning the benefits of eating together as a family. Not only are we creating memories for a lifetime by feeding the soul, we find more nutritious food served when we eat at home which includes more fruits and vegetables, low-fat protein and dairy. If eating at the table is not a habit in your home, I hope that you might consider making that change for your family. It’s a great way to strengthen your family!

National Family Week:
The week of November 18 has been designated as National Family Week.  You can check out lots of details on line, but one specific item I’d like to encourage you to read is found at It’s entitled The Family Dinner Table and shares in detail the life of a dinner table and the role in one person’s life. As I read it with reflection I realized that while dinner time is not always an easy time of day, the contributions it has made in my life are immeasurable. I must remember to thank my mother for always insisting that we enjoy the meal at the table, the food and the memories are on my list to be grateful for!

Families, Start Your Turkeys!
Now, down to the details of the meal of the hour, here are some final tips for your turkey.  If you need more details, check out The Ohio State University/Wayne website ( for an easy to use fact sheet titled Let’s Talk Turkey! 

At this point, you should be ready to roast your fresh or thawed, formerly frozen turkey. When roasting:
Using a food thermometer is the only safe way to check to see if a turkey is done. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. It must reach 165°F. , and it is most desirable if cooked to 175 to 180°F. For best results, allow the bird to stand for 15 to 20 minutes to let the juices set before carving.

Set the oven to 325°F. Place turkey (breast side up) on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast for the approximate times listed below. For additional times please check fact sheet.

8 to 12 pounds . . . . . . . . . . . . 2¾ to 3 hours

12 to 14 pounds . . . . . . . . . . . 3 to 3¾ hours

14 to 18 pounds . . . . . . . . . . 3¾ to 4¼ hours

How long can I keep the leftovers?
If you are careful and don’t leave the food sitting out for more than 2 hours, the leftovers can be stored and enjoyed later.  The fact sheet has specific timelines for your favorite foods.

If you need additional resources, please check out:

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline; 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854)
10 to 4 Mon. thru Fri.

  • For automated responses via the internet 24 hours a day go to
  • Send email questions to

Butterball Turkey Talk-Line call 1-800-BUTTERBALL
(no product endorsement is made or implied.)

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.

Wayne County Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all research and related educational programs are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. This statement is in accordance with United States Civil Rights Laws and the USDA.

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